Honest Christianity – when liberal is not liberal enough

Pilgrims steps 2
There has been another devastating event again this week with the fire in the block of flats in London. Of all the individuals and groups criticized, the local churches were not among them. Their doors, hearts, hands and pockets were open within minutes of the gravity of the situation being realised.

How sad that while this tragedy was being outplayed, a Christian declared that they had to resign because they could not see how they could reconcile their personal faith and their job. the person was Tim Farron and his job was the leader of a national political party, the Liberal Democrats. In his speech he said:
“I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in….In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.
That’s why I have chosen to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats.”

There is always more going on than what is seen or reported but how sad that someone who has sought to publicly serve their country and joined a party which has inclusive values and a Christian heritage, could not balance and integrity, their personal beliefs and their public role. His voting record did not seem as important as his beliefs and or struggles as a basis of being judged.

Although not on Tim’s scale, I sympathise with his dilemma. In the early days of being a NHS senior chaplain in a multicultural city, reconciling as someone from an evangelical charismatic background and leading a multi faith team and service, was not an easy place or position for me. How to hold these with integrity, transparency and consistency was a challenge and at first did not seem possible. It seemed something had to give. Did Paul help in l Corinthians
9 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 New International Version (NIV)

Through prayer, reflection and wise counsel my way forward was found in being the best Christian I can be, to love those I lead and serve. The criteria cannot be about agreeing, as we have such a spectrum of beliefs in our team but to respect and to seek to serve the wide spectrum of values and wellbeing of our patents, families, staff and reputation in our community. My own integrated consistent universal mission is to seek to live out and show the love of God with whoever I am with and in whatever I am doing. I am still trying to
work this out to Paul’s lifestyle. At the moment I am concentrating on being authentic and seeking to be and be better at, a Jesus loving Christian.

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