Pride Month (A Christian Reflection)

As an observer (and sometimes participant) in discussions between Christians about LGBTQ+ issues, it’s clear that they need to be seasoned with grace in a way that is often (sadly) not the case.

These are not the clear-cut black and white issues some people seem to assume. There are many Christians who have thoughtfully and prayerfully considered all the issues in scripture, and have come to other than the traditional view of love and marriage.

Love and grace needs to be shown by all Christians, along with humility towards LGBTQ+ people; many of whom have been deeply hurt, or have even taken their own lives, in part because of the attitudes of some Christians and the Church.

See also: Undivided (Vicky Beeching)

This is how truth is twisted…

…by cowards hiding behind anonymous profiles on Twitter:

  1. I express an anti-racist comment.
  2. I’m mocked for expressing this opinion.
  3. I’m told I’m anti-white.
  4. I’m told (in bad English) that I’m the real racist.
  5. I’m categorised as ‘you people’.
  6. Therefore my opinion doesn’t count.
  7. There’s no discussion, even though I’m polite.
  8. I’m sworn at!
  9. I block them!

Alternative ending…

  1. I’m ignored.
  2. I don’t block them.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem!

Charity doesn’t begin at home

Charity doesn’t begin at home, it begins where there’s a need. If we only look after ourselves we lose something of our humanity.

Today (7 June 2021) Britain’s foreign aid budget has been in the news, with a group of rebel MPs seeking to overturn their own government’s cuts to this essential commitment.

We help people because it’s basic to our humanity, it’s always the right thing to do, and providing support for others often benefits the giver. It’s enlightened self-interest, a win-win for everyone. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also the Christian thing to do. Cutting aid costs lives, and should be resisted at all costs.

As I posted on Facebook: Don’t cut UK foreign aid. Helping others is the best of Britain. At worst, it’s enlightened self-interest. It’s a no brainer!

A Good Samaritan?

The truth about the Good Samaritan (a parable told by Jesus recorded in Luke 10:25-37) is that the Samaritans were hated by the Jews at the time.

So in a lovely twist, Jesus makes the Samaritan the hero of the story to show the religious leaders that he just did naturally what they found excuses not to do. Hate is a dangerous thing.

We help people because it’s basic to our humanity, it’s the right thing to do. This we can agree with humanists, agnostics and atheists. Indeed, they often say their motives are purer than ours.

As Christians, we also help people because God demonstrated his love for humanity through Jesus. Jesus cared for people, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – in other words, Christians need to be like Jesus, simple.

Who are those who are ‘hated’ today? Who are those who are looked down on and despised? Who are the marginalised people? What do we think about immigrants? Who are excluded by the church? What is our attitude to LGBTQ+ people? How do we treat those who are not ‘like’ us?

God’s love is for all, it’s boundless. Human love should reach across our self-imposed discrimination and prejudice. How will this affect the way you respond to others this week?

Overdependent on technology?

As a total technophile, I’ve been reflecting recently on whether we’ve become overdependent on it in our interdependent world.

Technology seems to have taken over all aspects of our lives. Yes, it brings huge benefits, but what happens when it fails on a huge scale? Also, what about those who are left behind, unable to access or use it?

Technology in my first appointment as a Salvation Army Officer (Bideford 1980) comprised a portable typewriter (Cc meant carbon paper copy), a duplicator, a landline telephone, and snail mail. Oh, and a big black book for finance. Those were the days!

I’m not sure I want to go back to those days, but they were simpler times. I love technology, and (now retired) there were many aspects of technology I was highly delighted to say goodbye to!

We are all hypocrites!

When it comes to pollution and climate change, we’re all hypocrites!

But being a hypocrite doesn’t mean that we can’t make our feelings known, and it doesn’t mean that the message of environmental protesters is invalid.

There’s no inconsistency here, because this is so bound up with our whole way of life. Believing that criticism of those protesting will make the problem go away is futile. Radical change is needed.

As individuals we can only do so much, corporations and governments have to make the changes for the wellbeing of the planet.

While we live in a consumer society, one that is generally uncaring for the environment, we’re all hypocrites when demanding change. Yes, we can make small changes on an individual basis, but the main change has to come from governments and corporations – probably with government incentives etc.

Even Greta Thunberg can’t be completely unhypocritical while the system remains unchanged, but genuine virtue signalling combined with small personal initiatives have their place.

Whataboutery gets us nowhere and can easily become an excuse for inaction.

Racial Violence in Tulsa (1921)

History is vitally important, we need remember events from our past and learn from them.

On this day (31 May) in 1921, one of the worst instances of racial violence in the United States occurred, one that for decades was rarely mentioned in classrooms or in history books.

A large white mob attacked both residents and businesses in the affluent black community of Greenwood in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The violence began when a black man was arrested and accused of raping a white woman. She didn’t press charges and there was little basis for the claim, but rumour and ignorance took over. A mob of white people descended on the police station to be met by a black crowd seeking to prevent a potential lynching, in a state where they were commonplace.

Thousands went on the rampage amid hysterical talk of a ‘negro uprising’. They destroyed properties, killed many people, and left as many as ten thousand black people homeless. Plausible eyewitnesses reported that the police were complicit in the violence.

Sometimes truth is uncomfortable. Even today, racial violence can be misrepresented in an warped attempt to distort truth and make events more palatable.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

A controversial reading choice perhaps, but a book that is far more than its infamous descriptions of sex, and one that is extremely well written. By comparison, I had to force myself to read page 2 of Fifty Shades of Grey before giving up, it was so badly written.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a novel by English author D. H. Lawrence that was first published privately in 1928 in Italy and in 1929 in France. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books, which won the case and quickly sold three million copies. Source

The edition I read (above) had one section missing that is particularly explicit, but I only found out because I was occasionally reading from a different Kindle edition. It doesn’t really contribute much to the book, and it’s not for the easily offended.

Arguably, not his best novel, but a classic of modern literature nevertheless.

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link), and see all my 2021 books here.