Tuesday, 12 November 2013

For God and... the people made in God's image

I grew up in Belfast, where the phrase "For God and Ulster" was present on walls and banners in a way I didn't think about. I guess I didn't feel it represented my faith... As an undergraduate I was given a copy of "For God and His Glory Alone" in 1988 by our Christian Union staff worker. (I won't name him here, though I'm sure he'd be happy to be outed on this. Funny how that old NI fear of irrational reprisals lingers...) The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students has great potential for challenging culturally acceptable idols such as the uniting of faith and political ideology, and also to nurture broader Biblical thinking about how Jesus-followers engage in the world as a whole. Poverty, oppression, structures that damage human beings and inhibit human flourishing. The Prophets are full of that stuff. I remember studying Amos... What a hero. (Let justice flow like rivers and right relationships like a never failing stream...)

ECONI produced the For God and... document as Bible study material to challenge evangelicals about how we relate to our neighbours - in a way that challenged the Paisleyite public rejection of the Roman Catholic Church and implicitly - to loyalists, at least - seemed to sanction attacks on Catholics. It comes down to simple biblical teachings around justice, forgiveness, loving neighbours and enemies - all basic Jesus teachings.

The book has been relaunched. Here's Steve Stockman's review http://stocki.typepad.com/soulsurmise/2013/10/for-god-and-his-glory-alone.html

I think, all these years on, I would like to have renamed the book. But how?
For God.
For God and God's Glory alone (I don't like reinforcing the masculine pronoun for God in a culture where masculinity is often defined as against femininity. A recent article I read pleaded for men to man up against the feminisation of the Church - as if the full participation of any of God's children in Church was a loss to their brothers and sisters!)
Or how about this: For God and the human beings made in God's image...?

What should we be willing to live and die for? (and for what should we be willing to kill?)

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