I responded to a version of this question a day or two ago. I would prefer to rephrase it “How do faith and politics mix?” It is being asked of our current Prime Minister and addressed this morning in an article by a previous one.
Most of my three years in retirement has seen me more active politically, out of necessity, as part of a badly regulated and collapsed retirement housing scheme. Together, with over 100 affected households, I have been writing, phoning and pressing the flesh with politicians from both sides of the political divide. Within my cohort, my function as a pastor has not been to the fore, but noted and occasionally drawn on. Yesterday a primary goal was reached, the launch in Federal Parliament of a powerfully appointed Senate Inquiry into the conditions surrounding the housing collapse that includes a focus on the role of the regulator.
Debate, discussion and strategising within the group has been rigorous, intense, and sometimes divisive, as one would expect amongst peers who are stressed, ill and cheated. As a survivor of decades of occasional ructions within faith communities, I trust I was able to bring a calming influence. Some insights into the manipulation and chicanery of the political machine also helped in matters of discernment and consultation with our joint leadership headed by seasoned campaigner and consumer advocate Denise Brailey, who fondly calls us her “generals.”
My answer to the question was “by applying the law of love to the law of the jungle.” It has to begin at a very personal level, and it is captured well in a prayer that came into my feed this morning and that I shared on social media:
May the Christ who walks on wounded feet,
walk with you to the end of your road;
May the Christ who serves with wounded hands,
teach you to serve each other;
May the Christ who loves with a wounded heart,
help you to love each other;
When you go out, may you see the face of Jesus in
everyone you meet, and may everyone you meet
see the face of Jesus in you. Amen
Whatever one’s faith stance, it will appear in our politics, for we have to live in community and how we live and think and act is our “policy.” The extent of self and other awareness we bring to life reveals how our politics and our faith function together.