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February Thoughts.. Revd Tim Richards URC

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From Revd Tim of the United Reformed Church (URC), Wiltown, Curry Rivel.... February 2019 I think February is about the limit for wishing people a happy new year, and though we do so with well-meaning intention, I think perhaps this year there is cause for concern for us all.

Leaving aside the six-letter word (not mentioned in polite company but which begins with B and ends in T and depending on your viewpoint ends in either freedom and success or an illconceived disaster) there is the power play between some of the biggest
nations; economically, militarily and financially. I won't call them 'great' nations.
There is a hardening of political attitudes across the globe and we have witnessed the emerging rise of the so called 'populist' leaders. It seems to me that they are popular when making the right noises to attract the electorate . . . . but less so when making decisions that are based on humanitarian considerations and a wider world view that acknowledges interdependency in trade, security, welfare and human rights.
It is said that you should not mix religion and politics. I can understand that not all politicians are people of faith, but I would argue strongly that people of faith cannot separate their faith from their politics. Is not politics concerning the choices we make about how we live in society, how we want our resources to be used, how we protect ourselves and how we treat those who, for whatever reason, are less able to look after themselves? Is not politics 'Love your neighbour as your self'? (Matthew 22 v 39): the socalled Golden Rule – Do as you would done by.
When 'Hope' is spoken of in Christian circles it is not in a 'cross your fingers' superstitious kind of way, but is something tangible which we believe is to be prepared for, worked for, invested in. Hope has an outcome.
The Christian Hope is the politics of love your world-wide neighbour as yourself.
I was fortunate enough to spend time in Taiwan before Christmas as part of my sabbatical. Whilst there I was impressed by the way the church is responding to Taiwan's concerns over China's expansionist plans; Christianity engaging in the politics of that region
from a humanitarian perspective. This is reflected in my comments above: I will write more about this in next month's edition.

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