Friday, June 24, 2016

What's Next?

OK, here's my problem. I am out of touch. 95% of my Facebook timeline today is taken up by depressed and outvoted remainers. To some extent, despite being on holiday, I have found myself trying to minister, through social media, to a huge number of very disappointed people, mainly younger than me.

I understand why Brexit won and accept responsibility for trying to live a worthy life in a country where my views are in a minority. Done that before. Will do it again. Inclusivity and hospitality cannot be undone by a referendum.

And respect to those who have voiced their Brexit opinions and won the day. Many of them articulated clear, and unselfish, reasons for wanting out. I thought them misguided, still do, but they won.

However, digging a little deeper, I find the appalling hate-spewing racist views of those I am out of touch with. Such as those who insulted Brendan Cox's eulogy to his wife not three days dead. Or those who dismissed Rio Ferdinand's carefully-worded remain argument because he was now rich and out-of-touch, with references to the colour of his skin. Horrible language and sentiments. How do I engage with those who told both of them to  f*** off? Attempts to engage with them feel like they put my life in danger. How do I continue to engage with the guy who tweeted:

'Course I voted out. I don wanna live next door to a f***ing Turk'

It feels like the Galatians 3:28 universalism of the gospel message needs to welcome both him and the Turk. How do I do that?

I recall the words of Michael Stipe of REM, on stage in Cardiff about nine years ago. 'The thing you need to know about us' he said, 'is that we love our country but hate our government.'

I love my country (considering my country to be England) and really find loving some of the people I share the land with incredibly difficult.

It occurs to me that an Ephesians 4 church, about which I have spoken many times, welcomes thieves, slanderers, the foul-mouthed, quarrellers and the like. There are not enough unpleasant people in our churches. We need more.

On my return I think I want to ask my co-members if it is OK to go even more heavy on the inclusivity:

If you're LGB or T you're welcome
If you're a convicted criminal you're welcome
If you're not sure of all the petty theological nuances of Anglicanism you'll feel central here
If you hate Turks you're welcome
If you've had an abortion you're welcome
If you have H-A-T-E tattood on your knuckles you're welcome (fancy Sunday lunch at ours?)
If you have sought, and found, asylum, or even if you are in this country illegally, you're welcome
If you voted Brexit to claim our country back you're welcome
If you're Nigel Farage or a fan of his, you're welcome

If it works it will either be a true New Testament church or a weekly fist-fight.

Reporters welcome.

No, that wouldn't work. It's going to be difficult this getting-in-touch. Anyone else got any ideas?


andy griffiths said...

This expresses my thoughts brilliantly. What is needed is better listening to each other - and churches are almost the only institution left that routinely gather older people and unrelated younger people together in one place ("Son, behold your mother, mother behold your son"). Are there any tools out there to help some proper intergenerational listening get started?

Steve Tilley said...

I don't think so. Will check with my contacts.