Having been in Blighty for almost a week now I'm feeling like a true foreigner far from home. This land that I once loved so deeply seems hellbent on ripping itself to shreds. I'm not just referring to the senseless looting and violence but how society here has become so deeply divided between the haves and the have nots. The looting and violence is totally senseless but questions must be asked as to how and why it happened. What allows young people to ignore any sense of inhibition, leading them to commit acts of violence and theft and to then boast about it? As a parent I'm also horrified that there are families whose 9 & 10 year olds are participating in all of this.
This is a society in which bankers were allowed to get away with making millions for themselves and then when it all came crashing down looked to the taxpayer to shore things up. Once this was done the bankers got back to making money for themselves and enjoying big bonuses. Meanwhile the average guy on the street was being asked to take a wage cut or lose his job. Somehow things haven't felt very fair.
A change of government has done little to address the failings of the previous bunch but rather have had to look at ways of addressing the economic mess. Rather than taxing their friends in the banks and financial industry and asking them to pay for much of the mess they looked to the pockets of the workers.
For years the poor have been getting poorer and the rich have been getting richer and there has been no appetite on the part of those in authority to do anything about it. And in the midst of all this the family unit has been mocked, despised and kicked until it has almost irrevocably broken down.
But I believe there is a very clear answer to all of this. It's called "Local Church". The church has been sidelined and marginalised for the whole of my lifetime but maybe now is the time to stand up just as some of the great reformers of the 19th Century did. For years now society has demanded nominalism from Christians and largely we've been happy to comply. Today we must stand up and proudly declare the truth that is found in the name of Jesus alone! We have nothing to lose. We've been batted into a corner so now we can stand up and hold firm on the teachings of Jesus.
Andy Hawthorne recently spoke at a prayer breakfast in the Houses of Parliament and in front of many influential political players and policy makers held up a copy of the bible and told them that this nation, its laws, judiciary and many other aspects of life are built on the bible. It's time we got back to its teachings! Andy went on to declare that he is not ashamed of the gospel! We mustn't be ashamed of the gospel, it's the power of truth, power that can change. We mustn't be ashamed of the name of Jesus for it is by his name and his name alone that the world can be saved.
But we must start where we live, using the skills and gifts we have been given. This is local church and when the local church engages with the community reaching out and loving the lost, the lonely and the despised then we'll see a turnaround in the nation.
There are folk out there who can write far better than me and express these things far clearer than I can. Here are two such guys: Phil Moore - Straight To The Heart & Lex Loizedes - London Riots - The Churches Response