A terrible day. A European tragedy, which like a Greek tragedy will wreak its revenge on human folly and weakness
We have detonated an historic political and economic ‘earthquake’, fuelled further a divided Britain that will trigger the breakup of the UK and the collapse of Europe as a continent of peace, solidarity and cooperation. Farage, Johnson and Gove you have captured the hearts and minds of the masses. Your ‘Independence Day’ and your vision of Britain is so alien to the nature of God and the ways of his kingdom.
Great Britain has become Grate Britain which will now grate, shred, pulverize, crush, crumble and fragment our nation and Europe.
This is a very sad day with fearful consequences in the years to come.
We have just hosted eight lovely Bulgarians as a church for a week. What joy to be together. Seperated often by language, sometimes confused by customs but united in Christ and a common humanity. What opportunity has been lost by our nation today, we will be poorer in every sense. I mourn for my children and children’s children and the future they will face.
Thanks Chris. We will be poorer in so many ways and for people in Bulgaria we will contribute to their further poverty, annexing ourselves from the plight of the poor across the Continent.
Thank you for this reflection, and your earlier one on nailing our colours to the myth. Now we have a hard road to travel, and many will be hurt, some by poverty, many in spirit.
The hymn you quote as your heading is apposite – not least in its recall to following Jesus, but its quest for all strivings to cease needs to be balanced by the call of ‘God of grace and God of glory,’ to the living of these days, lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal.
I copy a note I have just sent to our minister:
There is a great danger of healing the hurt of the people lightly, trying to come together as though nothing seriously wrong has been revealed recently – it has been there a long time, but now we cannot pretend not to know.
I can understand the Tories trying to get together again, because that is essential for them to hold on to power. I do not understand Christians suggesting that we can come together and work cooperatively when so much wrong has not only come out into the open, but been supported and approved by so many. (This is not a comment only on some of the Leavers, both leaders and followers – the sins of Remainers are different, perhaps, but as grievous – mostly Remain argued for a narrow visionless national self-interest.)
Coming together is recommended by people on the Baptist Collaboration website, and now by the two Archbishops, men I generally admire. It oozes complacent optimism about ourselves – and it dare not say, Catastrophe, or anything like this; instead we have ‘dramatic’ event.
Roy Searle is a better guide – start with lament and don’t stifle it too quickly.
Indeed,let us not speak “peace. peace” where there is not peace. These are very challenging and turbulent days and lament has to be an appropriate response.
Indeed, peace, solidarity and cooperation seem to give way to tensions East-West (NATO-Russia) and South-North (Daesh), individualism and racism. Together with the world financial and economic crisis, the present situation is getting more and more similar to that of the 1930s…
Thank you Francoise and apologies to your beloved Belgium and Portugal. Sorry for what we have done today in the UK.
It has been a sad day indeed , and I feel called to repentance for my human family and pray that we mend our foolish ways .LORD have mercy upon us all
I am deeply saddened by this, both as a Westerner and a Christian.
But I am also a historian, a specialist in North American colonial history, or, to put it differently, the West and its colonial expansion, from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Listening to the radio, and hearing so many English Brits–an important distinction lost on many USAmericans–I just can’t get over the irony of it, if that’s even the right word. For hundreds of years, Englishmen and Englishwomen, and those working under the English flag, conquered and ruled over countries and peoples great and small literally across the globe, and it wasn’t done in ways that could be considered Christian. Not that it makes much of a difference, but I’m a Louisiana Acadian, so that colonial history is no small part of my own.
England no longer has a real empire, but I would argue that it lost that empire, it didn’t give it up willingly, much less based on a sense of the injustice of it. And I think it had a good example in its own history of doing the right thing because it was the right thing of choosing to end slavery, but it didn’t choose to the same with empire when it had the chance. (I know that a case can be made for the proposition that it did choose to end the empire after World War II, but I don’t think it’s a very good case.)
Unfortunately, both in the US and Great Britain, sizable portions of the population seem to be embracing, as Francoise points out, individualism, racism, and I would add worse isms as well, both in the political sphere and, especially in USAmerica, in the religious sphere as well.
I think a lot of it comes down to an unconscious belief in privilege and a very conscious sense of resentment against the great amorphous “them,” and, of course, a great deal of ignorance. And there are people who are very good at working individualism, racism, classism, and ignorance into movements that can have real world consequences.
Ora et labora: we need to pray for this world, and to work to make it a better one, for everyone.
Thank you for your understanding and insights.
As you can imagine, Roy – we are gutted, and desperately sad at the result, in what we had hoped would be a situation where common sense and pragmatism prevailed, whatever the personal desires and ambitions were of all those voting. I never read or heard anything from the ‘leavers’ camp that would have remotely reflected Christ’s teachings, and I had hoped that the generally supportive view of Britain for the less well off, the team spirit of humanity, would have won through. Is Britain not one of the most charitable – in terms of financial giving – of any country in the world? And yet, when it came to giving a little understanding and working together with their friends – yes, friends – not enemies, across the Channel, they simply couldn’t do it. And, as you have already said, this event will cause and reap a whirlwind of global proportions, which will have laid the groundwork for turbulance in international affairs for decades to come. All we can do is pray, and hope for healing and conscience to ease the times ahead. Of course, our future is very much in the balance on every front, and we will find it very difficult to make decisions in the coming months, with so much uncertainty. With love and blessings to you, Jane and Andrew
I don’t recall the remain camp reflecting Christ’s teachings either!
I don’t recall the remain camp reflecting much of Christ’s teachings if I am honest.
I agree although the Christian voices from folks like Justin Welby were declaring the values of the Kingdom and the dangers of Brexit. Turbulent times.
Duncan, I wasn’t referring to the campaigners of either camp. I was referring to individuals and other people of note who were voicing their opinions. Many of my friends were giving very Christian reasons for remaining – including Roy – but I heard no reasons for leaving being backed up by Christian principals. As it would seem you were voting to leave (judging from your taking issue with my facebook page entry), I would be interested to know what your Christian arguments in favour of that would be.
I apologise for my earlier expressions of confidence that we would course remain. How foolish And complacent I was. There are some excellent comments above on your perceptive post.
In common with all of the contributors here I have spent today in great sadness, to the point of finding it difficult to work (just as well I have no boss). I grieve for several reasons, but one is perhaps unexpected in this blog but I have to give it. Comments here include apologies to other Europeans for our actions, the dire consequences of it, and a general, if veiled demonization of those who voted ‘leave’. On the basis of these comments, it appears democracy is fine so long as one votes the same way as they, and the only ‘Christian’ choice was ‘remain’.
It isn’t that simple; serious issues seldom are. I’m sure hosting 8 Bulgarian Christians was wonderful as these things always are- but tell that to those in Boston, Lincolnshire whose small town culture has been transformed by a multitude of migrant workers in a handful of years to the extent that many(esp elderly) are frightened by the rapid change. it’s not racist, it’s a failure by politicians to address the issue years ago when the locals pleaded with local and central government. It’s about fear, change, things ordinary straightforward people can’t cope with.
Farage, Gove and Johnson capturing the hearts and minds of the masses? Really? Isn’t it possible to credit intelligent people with the capability of measuring the spin against their experience over the past 40 years. Do you really think that loving, caring Christian people aren’t capable of thinking beyond the nonsense of those three and reaching decisions based on other criteria.
Here’s a parable. A woman works according to her call in her local church. A handful of others resent her closeness with the pastor and undermine both her work and her relationship. The strain becomes too much, her health suffers, she receives no pastoral support and as a last resort, leaves the church. Note- it is a last resort. (and actually it isn’t a parable- most of us know real life examples). But you know, I suspect isn’t a million miles away how many CHRISTIAN ‘leave’ voters saw the situation, after decades of being unable to effect positive reforms to the EU, and don’t think for one minute many(if any) are gloating today.
I wouldn’t mind so much if I felt that the vision to leave was one of contributing positively to the wider world beyond Europe; or one that offered hope of a fairer and more equitable sharing of resources within the UK. I fear that the ‘working classes’ (if one can still use the term) who voted for Brexit will find that they are pushed even more to the margins, their needs and aspirations ignored. How ironic that now many people are saying they regret voting for Brexit, that it was a protest against the Westminster elite, and that the ‘promises’ of more money for the NHS, and curbs on immigration are now being dropped. I feel that now more than ever before it is the role of the Christian church to be a voice for the poor, the refugee, for peace and reconciliation and to stand up against the ‘principalities and powers’. Now is our time. Politics is even more tarnished in the eyes of the nation. The church must paint the vision of a caring, generous, open-hearted Britain in spite of what’s happened. And of course God is still able to bring grace and mercy to bear in spite of our foolishness and selfishness.
I suspect Paul, that many of those now expressing regret at voting ‘leave’ are doing so out of shock reaction- almost like the kid being caught pinching sweets. The apparent enormity of it is hitting people. However, what it has done, however painfully, is to spell out the desperation people felt (at very least) at what they felt was an immoveable, intransigent EU juggernaut that simply refused to reform when it has needed to for years. The Westminster establishment can’t complain as it acknowledged its cavalier attitude to the public during the expenses scandal, and promised it would reform and be transparent and honest with the electorate, reneged, with the result no-one believed it over the EU.
Open-hearted Britain, I believe is unaffected by this vote- we have, in my lifetime anyway, always been as generous, charitable people, caring for all and sundry. Being a formal member of the EU doesn’t alter that.
As regards the role of the Church, in whatever form,clearly it must always be the voice of the poor, the vulnerable, the persecuted, the refugee. Equally though should it be the abiding place of the teacher, the healer, counselor, listener, the people of business, of the politician, the rich and the powerful, wherein their gifts and graces can be harnessed through God’s love for the greater good of society far and near
Hallelujah! Completely agree.
The EU, or rather those who are ‘other’, has been made the scapegoat for the ills in our society. Leaving will not, and cannot, correct the self-centreness that leads to blindness to the needs of others and then stigmatises the weak (be it through ill health, unemployment etc etc). I thought I would be very angry at the result but instead find myself immensely sad that we have turned our backs on those who are our friends internationally and which must cause doubt and insecurity for those who are our friends personally.
In political/economic terms the world has changed and for the worse. In spiritual and human terms the reality has just been more laid bare. An image of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem comes to mind – a city ruled by occupiers and collaborators and no doubt most of the population kept their heads down and struggled on as best they could. The collaborators were spiritually complacent and thus blind to the presence of God in their midst and then opposed to His Will. A sovereign God could still and did use that.
I don’t want to push this metaphor too far because I cannot see how this referendum result can be used for good. The temptation for me is to be one of the ones that keeps my head down. Lord, show me/us the way, Christ have mercy.
Anne, I think there is a great misunderstanding here. I agree 100% that leaving the EU will not/cannot correct self-centredness etc. I’m not convinced the EU has been used as a scapegoat any more or less than successive UK governments or any other scapegoats for human selfishness. I certainly do not accept that we have turned our backs on anything other than an organisation. To suggest we have stomped out of the multinational playground where we’d play with our French, German, Finn, and Malaysian (you used the word ‘international’) friends simply isn’t true. In the case of EU countries, they are made up of sovereign states belonging to a big club (I can’t call it family), and we aren’t breaking off relations with those sovereign states.
Interestingly, in the aftermath, Jean-Claude Juncker and other EU leaders have urged rapid exit for among other reasons, to prevent other member nations calling referenda, too. Certainly the language hints at ‘do as you’re told’, one of the very perceptions that led to the referendum in the first place.
Another thing is that the forbidden word ‘reform’ has been bandied about Brussels quite a bit since yesterday morning, in the context of a wake up call that the EU hasn’t been listening to its people and maybe it better do something about it if it doesn’t want to face collapse. That is precisely what has been needed for years, and if it happens, then something good may come after all. Then, maybe, it will be remembered it was a very reluctant British electorate that set the ball rolling.
I echo your prayers in these uncertain times, may God show us the way.
Let us all remember the words of Jesus …
“My kingdom is not of this world”
Is it possible to be a member of this Community if you are a supporter of Brexit? Is it possible to hold a different view and still be recognised as a Christian here? There are equally strong arguments in favour of leaving the European Union, but there seems to be a form of ‘group think’ going on here.,
Of course it is Richard. There is no Community policy as such and I know personally a few Companions and Friends who support Brexit. Together with many others I know take a different view and remain extremely concerned by the decision and its consequences. I have just returned from Ireland and met with very several concerned folk by the implications of Brexit for both those in the North and South of Ireland. To answer your question; a healthy community, society, democracy much ensure dialogue and respectful and honouring debate and welcome diversity. I will be blogging again soon after a summer break and no doubt furthering the post Brexit reflections. Thank you.