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  • Five Lessons... or maybe Six..

    This article speaks wise words into the muddle and mayhem of the post referendum situation in which we find ourselves in these islands.

    In brief, the five lessons are:

    1. The UK's media is a huge problem
    2. Myth-busting doesn't work
    3. 'Facts' are not a silver bullet
    4. Building a liberal culture is just as important as telling people facts
    5. There is still everything to play for

    You need to read the full article to unpack each of those headings, and ponder them crticially if they are to become anything more then yet more rhetoric.

    After the referdendum on Scottish Independence a lot of great stuff was written full of ideas about engaging with those who had felt voiceless or disempowered or marginalised or demonised.  There was talk of working with people in the north of England (a part of these islands frankly no-one seems to care about very much). Of trying to understand why people had voted as they did (either way).  And so on.  I have seen scant evidence of any of these things.  That doesn't mean nothing has been done, it may just mean that I am unaware of it.  And I can't honestly say I've done anything active either.  I should note that people have moved forward together irrespective of how they felt about the result, and that has been hugely helpful. 

    It seems to me, though, that there is a sixth lesson here...

    • Words without deeds are as good as dead

    Yup, plagiarising the Bible verse that lies at the heart of all I try to be and do... and perhaps need to remind myself of.  It's all fine and nice to nod sagely, to agree, even to bang on about stuff.  But unless or until I , and we, don't just "talk the talk" but also "walk the walk" nothing much can change.  Our part may be as a tiny as a drop of water in a bucket - but (as the slightly cheesy song says) "the bucket gets wetter, I know we'll fill it one day." 

  • "I Tried..."

    It was the better part of a decade ago, on a DVD about emerging church that I saw an interview with a Methodist minister who said that when he found himself having to give an account to God of how he had spent his life that he would say, "I tried."

    As I've tried to process the outcome of the EU referendum and the fall out from in, those words have surfaced from the recesses of my mind.  When I look back, when whatever happens has happened, will I honestly be able to say, "I tried"?

    There's the online petition for a second referendum, which we have now been told won't happen.  I finally signed it today, because I felt my gut reaction, whilst realistic, was defeatist: I felt it wouldn't make any difference.  Except that it has made a difference, in so far as that, when I last checked there were over 3,800,000 signatures... and growing.  Partly it is significant because this peition was raised by someone who was pro-leave in response to a comment from the UKIP leader; there is something that appeals about subverting that intent (or that's how I see it).  Perhaps some of those almost four million people have discovered something important...

    Then there are the more thought out responses, such as this one regarding the need to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act in order for Britain to leave the EU.  Essentially, it boils done to a suggestion to email your MP and ask them to oppose such a motion (i.e. oppose the repeal).  It's relatively easy for me, as I have an MP whose party strongly supports remain, not so easy for those who MPs were pro-leave.  It takes only a few minutes, and it is fairly easy to do (go here, find your MP and off you go)

    So that's my short term "I tried" - at least when it's all done I won't wonder if it might have made a difference if I had done these things.

    But there is so much more than the vote and it's out-working legally, there is the ugly xenophobia and blame-culture that is emerging.  Signing the odd petition or sending an email is pretty easy, standing up for truth, love, justice, fairness... these are more challenging.  So I will go on trying to live out the values I espouse, whatever the outcome short or long term.

    If any of my readers voted leave, I bear them no ill will, indeed I hope we would remain literal or virtual friends. 

    Democracy gives us the freedom to choose - we, none of us, can always like the outcome.  I can live with an outcome I didn't choose.  I will work for reconciliation between people who disagree.  And I will continue to do what I do, the best I can, to incarnate the faith I hold.

  • More Baptist Responses...

    From the EBF here

    From the BUS a prayer here

    From the BUGB, in its ecumenical role as a member of JPIT (reposting) here



    Kyrie Eleison

    Christe Eleison

    Kyrie Eleison