Monday, September 07, 2009

Involvement in and separation from the world

Our pastor asked me to give my personal illustration of involvement in and separation from the world, the subject of his Gen.14 sermon.
In 1986 Ealing had a change in local government. The first Friday in May, when the results came in I remember thinking how good it would feel for those elected to govern the borough. I had no idea that I would know exactly how it feels four years later.
The new Council had, hidden away in their election manifest, a commitment to sexual equality. This surface to all when a policy to promote in the schools a policy wich said, among other things, that homosexuality is equally valid with heterosexuality. Christians were very unhappy. Some of us got together and formed a parents action group to challenge this. This was my first involvement in politics. To cut a long story short we found our support also came from the opposition party on the Council. This led me to join that party as a member though our lobby group was not party political and not even explicitly Christian.. It was not Christian because I wanted Muslims and other faiths as co-belligerents. So you could say I became allied with a political party and before long our local MP asked me if I would stand for office on the Council at the 1990 election. I agreed and was accepted as a candidate from a ward we expected to win and did. I was on the Council. What we had not expected was to win the whole council but we did and overnight I was vice chairman of Social Services. I had four years in power then four in opposition before I lost my seat.
Early on John Major started the National Lottery. The government routinely ask local councils the control to put forward motions to the Council meetings in support of their policies. Ealing Conservatives never moved any such motion praising this gambling. I claim some credit for that. They knew I could not be whipped into such a vote to support the party. I was not their ally on gambling.
In 1998 I lost my seat and was disappointed but accepted God's providence for me. But within I year I had left the party completely.
It was the time of the first ever London mayoral election. London Conservatives were asked to choose their candidate. The choice was between a serial adulterer and an openly homosexual candidate. I wrote my letter of resignation. I had joined the because of co-belligerence over homosexuality. I would not be allied with a party departing from my Christian principles in such a way. I joined the small Christian Peoples Alliance instead. There I can be much more than a co-belligerent.
So, out of Christian principle I joined a party then separated from it.
I encourage anyone who can join whatever party to do so. Be a Christian witness there, involved but separate.

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