Advent 3 Matthew 11 Good News for the Poor

 Isaiah 35.1-10    Psalm 146 James 5.7-10    Matthew 11.2-11

Go and tell John what you hear and see:5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’ 

Our leaders don’t think much of Christ. They are waiting for another leader. They don’t think much of us.  They don’t want people who can think for themselves and see that their claims are absolutist and cultic, and who can charge them with idolatry. They seek a power without limit, which is in effect a power that is divine. They want us to regard them as our superiors, and as people beyond our challenge. They want a pliant people, without a memory have no means of comparing now with twenty years ago. Who are not able to notice what is happening to them because they have no memory and who are in a permanent state of frenzy. They have fobbed us off with a diluted gospel. 

They want to browbeat the educated and those able to make cultural comparisons into silence, by telling everyone that they are elitist. We would like an elite that is educated (and educated particularly the modesty of the mandates of public service) But unfortunately it is not the educated who are our elite, but those who have driven the educated out of positions of influence. Our education men have gone into internal exile. They have done what they were commanded. They have shut up. They should never have done so. They had education and but they should have led us by reminding us who we are, what we have received. But you cannot give in to the pushy for they will never be satisfied enough to stop pushing, but they will identify more and more groups that opposes them (at least by not identifying with them and affirming them).

Our leaders have diluted our education. They present our history as a jumble of unrelated themes and they present it with interruptions from other cultures that had no connection to ours. They have diluted our culture. They have blended with other cultures that are not ours, and that were unknown and that made no contribution to our national life, and which are the very opposite of our culture and values. They have diluted our population. They have imposed new populations that are dependent on benefits paid for by taxing us, so that our own children say that they cannot afford to have children. But they are paying for these new populations to come in and have children.

They have diluted our money supply, which is the grace that functions as the universal medium of our interchange with strangers. When we want something at home some member of the family gives it to us. When we are among strangers or people who don’t owe us anything, we have to make our request in that very formal and ritual way in the medium that we call money. We use currency or credit. We pay them. That is, we give each other credit.  But this medium of credit that we call money is sustained by the behind-the-scenes machinations of a cabal that wants to give the impression that this medium is absolutely unchanging and reliable – but which is actually always devaluing it in order to divert value out of our control and into its own. It pretends to be a reliable organ of state, but is actually working as a foreign power, a state within a state, always doing this unseen, unchallenged, beyond our ability to call them to account.

Everyone dilutes the gospel. Everyone looks down on everyone else and assume that they will be satisfied with some abbreviation of it. You have to ask again and again. You have to nag and rattle their door and waylay them whenever they appear and ask them for more. We have to besiege them.

It is a possibility that here for us in this country, there may not be a Church with any public presence.  There will be Christians, but they will be just as beleaguered as Christians under the great totalitarianisms of this or the last century. The Church may be driven underground. This could only happen if the leadership of the Church is seized by those who and who believe that they have to re-educate Christians, drawing them away from their unchanging gospel toward some more politically-acceptable agenda. If those who lead the Church introduce and attempt to drive through their agendas, replacing the unchanging worship and proclamation of all Christians everywhere, the witness of Christians may be effectively stifled. Only the gospel brings to us what is new, and prevents our society from becoming overweening.

Those who want to replace the gospel with some fake gospel of their own do so because they enjoy the power that want to enjoy pushing others around.

Which Sins are Mine?

The problem is that the distinction between the sins that I have committed, against others, and the sins that others have committed which I have to suffer. The distinction has to be made between the perpetrator and the victim or casualty of this sin. Sometimes I am perpetrator, and others are the casualties of my sin. Sometimes I am the casualty of what other people have perpetrated. And sometimes it is different to say where responsibility lies and so to distinguish between perpetrators and victims, because there is a large area of murk because we are drawn into complicity. We didn’t commit this sin, but we didn’t protest, name it as sin or direct our challenge against anyone in particular either. We kept quiet. The original crime is worsened by the cover-up and by a general pretence that nothing happened. Complicity is contagious, creating misunderstanding and deception.

We have to say both that we are persecutors and we are persecuted, that we sin against other people or to their disadvantage, and that other people sin against us and make it difficult for us to avoid the contagion. When they continue to commit this sin of theirs despite our challenge, they are our enemies, and it is right for us to warn everyone against them.

One enormous sin committed against us all, is the two claims made about us by our leaders that there is no sin, and this is because we are not responsible or moral creatures, and that we are intrinsically sinful and violent by nature, and nothing can be done about this except that we are governed and controlled by our leaders. They alone are moral. We should give up identifying specific sins sin or talking about sin as a whole. The paradox here, is that while our ideological leaders charge us with using this – and so being divisive, they themselves have adopted it and are employing it to degrade and debase us. Our ideologists disparage us and policymakers demote us. In in the everyday Christian version, they are all sins. They have been dumped on us. That has now become secular and turned against us, so every member of Christian culture is guilty – by virtue of inheriting that culture, by membership of a people, and so of an ethnicity.   

Advent 2 Matthew 3 Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near

Isaiah 11.1-10   Psalm 72.1-7,18,19    Romans 15.4-13   Matthew 3.1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord…

John has called the people of Israel down to the River Jordan. He repeats the warning that generations of prophets have given Israel, and which Israel has heard and taken to heart, as a result of which Israel has changed course, returned to her Lord and so saved herself many times.

And many people, hearing the same warnings, come now to hear them again from John, and follow his lead. He calls for national repentance and about turn, and they repent. So should we.

The same voices cry out now. They speak up and warn us. They give us the same warning that alerted our forebears, which they took to heart and were converted by. They heard and obeyed this warning. They did indeed prepare themselves for the Lord, and they received from the Lord all the preparations he provided for them. These warning voices do not come from official sources. You will not hear them through the media. You will not hear them in schools or universities or any centrally-funded institution. In the churches, those voices have been reduced to a whisper. They can be heard only in whatever unpoliced spaces are left to us.

All previous generations recognised these messengers and valued the gospel they articulated enough to record it and pass their witness on to us, so that through all the turmoil of the history of our people there is a consistent Christian voice and witness. We can read that history and for recent centuries, and above all we can hear and read the words of Scripture.

John the Baptist tell us that we have to get up and go back to the beginning. Our present situation is wobbling towards its end. The society that does not receive what the Lord sends it will not survive. Only if we go back to re-learn the original discipleship which founded our society will it continue. If we take what the Lord sends us, the unity, the peace and the living standard may continue for another generation. But we have to return to the source from which we came. We have to go down to the river and there be re-born as a people. We have to wade in and be completely immersed. We have to cross the river to reach the wild territory on the other side. That is the place untouched by domestication or civilisation, the way the world existed before the land was settled and before there were laws and governments. There we have to follow the Lord in the simplicity of nomads, trailing along after him in order to discover who he is. We have to learn that ‘a wandering Aramean was my father’, Abraham, who got up and left home and followed the Lord who promised. The Lord said, ‘Come’, and Abraham went and that is the way in which we have to follow the Lord. Like Moses we have to get up and leave the civilisation of Egypt, go out into the desert and become homeless nomads, who only follow the voice of their master. We have to be the flock that goes wherever he goes whose one intention is to keep up with him

When he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?…

Israel’s leaders are clearly concerned about its own future, for they are coming to John in repentance, trying to return to the very sources which they spurned as long as things went well. They read the signs of the times enough to know that things are no longer within their control. They want to know how to return the situation to normal. John points out that it is they who are responsible for this breakdown, and for the destitution in which the growing dispossessed of Israel have been reduced. The forces that they have unleashed are now running out of their control. 

Who are our Pharisees and Sadducees? Are they not the centralisers and globalisers who want to make us more biddable, more malleable? Aren’t they the ones who regard us as less-than-citizens, less conscious of our full dignity as heirs of European and Western culture – less aware of our status as heirs, or as Scripture says, as Sons? Have we not been undergoing a long slow putsch, in which we let go of our responsibilities and dignity while breaking the covenant between a people and their leaders, the power-brokers accumulate our powers into their hands – all simply because they are afraid?  Have they not subtly raised themselves above the law, and taken their client groups with them? So now there is not one law for all, but one law for some, another for others, and so they have divided the nation, into the new more worthy class, the special reserved groups, and the old despised English – too white and too male. 

Do not presume to say we have Abraham for our ancestor…

The Pharisees of our Age want to believe in their own irreplaceability, that they are immune to time, and will never have to give way to what is not of their own making. They will not give way to anyone, not even their own children. They regard the future as their enemy and so they make themselves the enemy of the future and therefore the enemy of man.

Without this voice, the gospel that comes to us, this country does not continue to be our home. Left to ourselves we fouled it, have no idea how to maintain it, so becomes unrecognisable and we become unrecognisable to one another. There are large parts of our country in which the people scowl and shout at us to go away, and tell us that this country is theirs, not ours anymore. 

Who are the pharisees of our generation? Who else could it be – but us? We have become the pharisees. It is us who are blocking the way. It is us who have muted the gospel. We have stupidly put ourselves between Christ and those who are drowning. We are the clients and employees of the agencies that impose layer upon layer of regulation upon our people. We are the ones who attempt to store the gospel away and keep it out of reach and out of sight. It is us who have held the whole world locked up. We are our people’s goalers. We are the warders in this camp. They may not know who to blame or which name to call, but we should know well. We are the clergy, the professionals who intend to make ourselves indispensable and so to place ourselves between man and God. Let judgment begin with the self-proclaimed house of God. Our comeuppance is on its way.

Even now the axe is at the root of the tree… 

In all the years in which our age group has led these institutions, they have not been renewed. They could only be renewed from the same impetus from the same source which brought them into existence in the first place. The nation has received no true gospel from no voices carried in from the wilderness and the national community and has continued to run on the momentum from previous generations until that momentum was gone. The nation has it rides on the waves as though at the turn of the tide, in slack water, unable to make way, set itself a course. Nothing our national leadership can say can give us any sense of purpose. The nation has heard nothing from the Church and so has received nothing of the gospel that created it. The gospel is not heard in the churches. Instead it offers a different message, offering substitute gospels, phoney gospels, pretend salvation…all of which attempt to elevate the imaginings of our leaders to a vision to secure this against challenge and to make our present situation permanent and declare the irreplaceability of the present regime. 

There is no worship coming from these churches. Futilely yet manically, those now in power are reinforcing their position against whoever offers any challenge to them. The active are prevented from working. The articulate are prevented from access to the media. We are told that everything is already being done for us and that there is no need for us to concern themselves. The young have their phone and games consul; the elderly sit before their television screen. Everyone is sent into the isolation of their own separate cubicle, and permitted to communicate with one another only through a keypad. Those who not employed to impose this regime on us are distracted, sedated or left to despair. We gave our consent to all this by signing our name or putting a tick in the box.

The people in power have been attempting to drive the gospel out of the Church. They have closed the bible, put away the prayer books, and locked the building. They are only prepared to open them as museums of a way of life that they do not ever want to see again. They have shut the churches that are the sole source of our dignity as people and as a national community. They have belittled all the generations of Christians who built the nation and despise those Christians who do not join in with them in this great act of renunciation. They have continually taken the words we inherited from our parents out of our mouths and in their place offered us their own slogans. They have replaced what was familiar to us with what they imagine would be easier, more acceptable and uncontroversial. Now there is no density to their contemporary liturgies, no weight to their words at all. They have silenced the voices of those who say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ 

As a result, the people have been made poor and silent. They are divided and isolated. They have been segregated into groups or scattered. There is no consciousness of their identity as ordinary people, a working-class. They have no gathering places that are not provided by the state and policed by it. They are left without any sense of what to do and what to look forward to. They are those without aspiration; they who are without are the poor in spirit. They have received no encouragement or motivation. The harvest is ready and so the fields are white (we would say that they are golden). The people are ripe. We can now go in and gather them and bring them in. We will have to do this with the voices of our leaders and teachers, our pharisees and moralists, dinning in our ears and every kind of obstacle put in our way – for these pharisees believe that the people are their fodder, for them to tax, use and exploit and neglect. The Law-Abiding are sure that it is their task of keep these people quiet.

Advent begins: See I am sending my messenger. We British have received many messengers from the people of God, from Israel and the Church. Those who have brought us the Word of God have sustained our nation with it.  If the British continue to read the bible they will continue as a nation and as a national political community. Even if only some small number of the British read the bible book, Britain, though always seeming about to die, will never die. Those who do read the bible will keep alive those who don’t. Those who read it, they will provide the leadership. They will be sin-and-fear-impervious. The fearless and robust, who have the self-mastery to accept responsibility and do not blame others for what is wrong, will compensate for and carry the fearful and weak who are always look for someone weaker than themselves to take the blame and from whom recompense can be taken.

The religion of The Cult is no more than the enforcing of obedience to that religion and war against those who do not comply. The Cult is simply war with those who do not comply with the cult.

These two systems are truly incompatible because they rest on opposite sets of values. Truly, this contrast has to be clearly made and presented in our public debate and political life, and efforts to suppress this debate by denying this contrast are dangerous to the health of our political life. Those leaders of ours who attempt to deny this contrast and this incompatibility are attempting to stop this debate, and to suppress the freedom that essential to our culture and values, and they will bear responsibility when explicit conflict results.

Now we must ask our leaders why they ostracise and punish those who point out these political and cultural contradictions. Their refusal to allow debate of these central issue of our political and cultural identity has corrupted our national life. They themselves have become a cult of truth-suppression that needs to be dealt with before larger issues can be addresses. They have covered up each other’s wrongdoings. They have not given our citizens the full protection of the law, and they have concealed their failures to do so. They have given protection not only to those who have broken the law but to those who wish to replace our law with another. Our leaders refuse to hear those who appealed to them. They concealed the truth and used the power of the law to persecute and silence those who stood up against them. Lord, save us from the servants who betray us.

Back to the Beginning

Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins….

The people of Israel entered the land promised to them through the river Jordan. Now John takes them back out into the wilderness so they can have all their sin removed from them and are able to re-enter that promised land.

We should follow John and do the same. We should go back to the beginning of our Christian history. We should admit how far we have wandered out into the Badlands. We should turn to the Lord and follow him through the waters into the land he has promised to us and though it were the first time.

Advent 1 Matthew 24 No one knows the hour

Isaiah 2.1-5   Psalm 122   Romans 13.11-14    Matthew 24.36-44

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

The Lord speaks to us. He addresses us as people who want to hear and to be taken seriously. We want to know that we have a future, that our lives and our achievement are acknowledged and confirmed. We want to know that life will go on, and that whatever we have achieved will continue after us and not simply disappear. We stand on the layers of achievement of our predecessors. It is the culture that they created that supports us. We have made our contribution because we stood on the foundations they laid. Following them we have laid foundations, started projects and set up institutions in the hope that they will continue after us and so that we can pass them and that those who come after us will take them on.

Two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left

The Lord is coming. Those who hear and recognise him, will drop everything and follow him. Those who do not get up and follow will be left where they are. The Lord and his people will move on without them. The nation will divide into those who hear and those who do not, those who get up and follow, and those whose remain, heads down, where they were. In a moment it will be clear, who wants life and who doesn’t.   

We must be alert to threats to our way of life. We must be aware of our vulnerabilities and weak points. We should close the gaps through which trouble could come. We don’t want to be taken by surprise. We know that it is best to confront trouble early on. We should prepare for a range of eventualities. We do not want to be utterly caught out and have things suddenly break down in front of us. If people are working against us, it is best that we recognise it, discover who they are and what is the offence they hold against us, and so defend ourselves against them.

Will the troubles that come singly suddenly turn into a torrent?  What is the flood that may come and sweep us away if it is not simply consequences of our own acts? What we have done is certainly enough to destroy us and render our society unrecognisable. Which of us will survive it? What can we do to ensure that it is us and our children who survive?

Perhaps we stand before an epic event. The slow disappearance of everything known and precious may seem to be speeding up. Perhaps it will accelerate, and the world we know while vanish to leave a world of sudden poverty, of mistrust and hostility. Suspicion is growing, trust is vanishing; the social capital that accrued over centuries, and which enabled us to live together as a united society is no longer so strong. Everything that was done by consensus and learned sense of obligation is now centralised and imposed through regulation. We have experienced a great levelling, which we have welcomed and all contributed to, but now we find that it is proceeding well beyond what we envisaged. The movement that started as our general emancipation and enfranchisement has changed into a movement to dissolve every tie except our loyalty to the central power of the state. The idealists and reformers now have us in their sights. Those movement towards greater tolerance that we launched are now being directed against us. We who once regarded ourselves as pioneers are now seen as opponents. The microphone has been taken away from us. It is us who are being levelled down now. We who were once someone, but now no longer. We are suffering an undignified decline in political status. We cannot get ourselves heard. We are becoming nobodies in our own country. We are divided between those who notice this and those who have not, and have no wish to notice it. Our children will never realise how great was the society made confident by the gospel. The shaking has begun.

But about that day and hour no one knows

We could say that at least this makes future quite democratic, because it is equally unknown to everybody. And yet it is possible for those who want to, who can read and explore the political, economic and demographic analysis us to look ahead and identify some of the possibilities, and to act to mitigate some of them. We can look at the graphs that indicate trends in demography and energy supply, in debt and purchasing power.  

Now, again, as ever, the West is faced by its opposite. The society that has only known internal peace for so many centuries cannot imagine or that it could ever lose that peace. It cannot imagine that the very things it does is now eroding that peace. It cannot imagine how different, and how violent, is any society that has not undergone and how rapacious and predatory it is. Yet the West can also see such a society, because colonies of that society, emerging right here among us. Now we are face to face with the society by the society that is everything that the West developed away from. It is faced by the cult and society that promotes community over freedom, and indeed which has no room for freedom at all. It is opposed to freedom, and regards freedom as a mistake. Freedom is an error. The demand for freedom is the one pathology which the cult is committed to eradicating. The eradication of freedom. The collective is supreme, the individual is nothing. This cult and society have taken teachings of Christianity and Judaism and turned them on their head to produce a monster that destroys stood Christianity and Judaism on their head. Our leaders have poisoned our political discourse by suppressing discussion of these opposed identities.

We are mortal. We live in time. Our life here has an end as surely as it had a beginning. We will be succeeded by other people, who may follow the way we have taken or reject our way. They may be our heirs and inheritors, or they may despise us and refuse to take anything from us. Will our civil life, our culture and political system continue? The culture we inherited brought about a secular liberal political system. This culture has demonstrably brought about the lifting and exaltation of man. It values freedom and consent, over coercion. It tolerates dissent and despises totalitarianism. It has brought about the rise of exploration, science, technology and medicine. It has looked with pity on those static societies sunk in poverty, misery, ignorance, disease and social immobility. It has brought about the modern world. 

Keep Watch

If the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not have let his house be broken into…

Keep watch! Stay alert! Each Church service is a going on watch, a stand-to, in which this guard is inspected, its readiness confirmed and its report made. Our commander calls us to assembly before him and show that we are ready. He appears before us to check that we are ready. We are to serve the world by watching out for the forces coming against us, and for the forces of the Lord coming to our aid. We are on guard duty. Our job is to give warning or news of relief. Keep patrolling, and when those patrols come in, make should that they are de-briefed, refreshed, recuperate and are re-equipped ready to go out again. It is only this patrolling that keeps the society around us peaceful, secure and confident. The sight of these patrols stops the bullies from being tempted to humiliate the weak. We hope to discourage the enemy by the intensity of our attention. We want to intimidate our enemies by such a show of force, to convince them that we cannot be overpowered, and that we are strong because we take our supplies and strength from our invincible Lord, never allowing ourselves to be separated from him.

December – Advent

No one knows the Hour

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near

Good News for the Poor

The Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son

God is on his way. He is coming to man. But what condition will he find man in? 

God loves man. This news has reached us in the gospel. It tells us that we may live with God, and that in relationship with God, we can live with one another. God makes it possible for us to live together with all others. This is the news that changes everything, because it brings a greater conception of the life open to man. 

The gospel has changed everything. It was the coming of this news that opened a vaster and more ambitious account of man and of the possibilities for his life with his fellows. It has altered his world from close and static, to open and dynamic. Hope arrives into his world. It introduced to him the idea of freedom, and so the prospect that every man may become a social and political being who may contribute to and participate in a public life shared by an entire society. The gospel has brought into being the political nation, of which all men are members and share a single dignity.

 Christianity created our nation, which its inclination towards living in peace under one law with widening political participation. It is the coming of the gospel that created England and Britain. Our civil society and political nation depend for their renewal and continuation on the constant arrival and reception of the gospel. The news that God values us, and gives us the grace to value one another is all that maintains the way of life we know. 

We should not assume that our way of life will continue as it is now. Whether it continues depends on whether we receive from the Lord the blessing that he brings. 

What sort of future do we have? Where will our present course take us? What threats are coming against us? How will we survive them? Will our existing way of life continue? These the questions put to us by the Gospel that brings us news and warning of the coming of God.

In the season of Advent, the gospel calls us back out into the world that existed before the world before widespread political participation, before literacy and political participation, before the achievement of a single national law that secured the same value for all men.

We have to go back out into the pre-political undomesticated world, where the Lord is. Whatever does not help us or our society to continue we must get rid of. We should leave our self-absorption and go back out to where these issues can be seen in all their starkness. We must follow John the Baptist down into the wilderness, the place where our course is not determined by any institutions. We should listen for the call of the Lord just as our forebears did.  We should follow the messengers Christ has sent.

John the Baptist stands at the frontier and calls Israel out, and people come out to him. Israel follows him down to the river, and through it into the uncivil desert on the other side. In the wilderness where there is no law and no civil society, and where no values are established, so the value of people is entirely insecure. This passage through the water is the re-enactment of Israel’s foundational years in which she followed the Lord alone, and learned an entirely new existence as his people. So Israel now re-enacts its founding as the people of God. 

John the Baptist stands for all the messengers, the prophets, apostles, teachers and Christians whom the Lord has sent to us over so many centuries. All of them have been sent to us by the Lord to give us the help, the guidance and warning we need.

In Advent we learn that our society is in trouble. People have not received what they are due. Life depends on our relationship with the truth. But the truth has been concealed and the sources of our have been concealed and denied, and the poor have been dispossessed and robbed of the resources on which life depends.  

We learn that the Lord himself is coming. He is willing to be our Lord. He has come because people have prayed and asked him to, because we have been too vulnerable without him

In the Nativity of Jesus, at Christmas, we learn that God has come to Man and intends to stay with him and remain with him without limit, forever. God has made himself vulnerable to us as this infant, and so given himself into our hands, as utterly graspable. As we can lift this infant and hold him, so we hold our future. Our own identity is in our own hands. All our existence is bound up in that infant, for he is going to become the source of all our humanity. We will live and prosper because he gives us life and peace and well-being.

Self-Mastery

Christianity makes you master of yourself. You are no longer taken in by manipulative people who want to control you. You stop being gullible.

The gospel tells us that each one of us can truly become masters. This is what we can become when we understand that we exercise our mastery entirely in service. We become masters by serving people around us, our family and neighbours, and a widening circle of people. And our service to them is to help them become masters of themselves, so that they able to look after themselves, and after one another, and so to make them independent of us. The only way to do this, is to undergo this service. You do not give up when you realise how long, difficult and painful it is, but you to press on towards self-mastery. You understand that your only way to self-mastery is through the opposition you receive. By trying to stop you, your opponents are helping you. You insist that you will be their servant, and do so, not by doing what they tell you, but by doing what is right and telling them the truth. This is the way to become masters of ourselves and so acquire self-mastery. You become a master and a lord by becoming a servant. You become a servant of the truth. By being a servant of Christ, you become a servant of all men, a conduit of Christ’s limitless service to all men, by which he is the only true Lord. 

Our opponents want us to give up the hope of self-mastery. They want us to become children, and to want to stay children. They punish and ostracise anyone who shows any signs of adulthood, or who expresses any dissatisfaction with their dependence, or expresses any hopes of becoming independent. Your only, but constant and never-ending crime, is to step out of line. This is the reason why they are determined to punish you, now and forever. Your insubordination, your reluctance to give them the worship and obedience they demand, is why they are so ready to oppose everything you do and say until they have destroyed you and obliterated your memory. Fear of freedom and hatred of freedom is the very powerful motive force that drives those who are determined not to concede anything to God.

The faithless generation that destroyed the hopes of its own children

The Church in this country has not realised how conditions have changed, and that what was once good has now become destructive. Government and the welfare state were the outworking of Christian concern for the nation and in particular the poor. But over recent decades they have changed into something else. They have become a huge burden weighing down on the economy, and crushing the hopes and ambitions of our working people. The state monopoly on health provision and education is taking so much out of the economy that they are preventing it from growing. They are preventing us from providing services for one another and so from providing for ourselves. It is weighing down on all of us, and in particular it is holding back the energies of the young. It is taking away from them the resources by which they could invest, and start new businesses and hope to support themselves in future years. It has become a monster, in which one generation (now retired and elderly) is confiscating resources from its children’s and grandchildren’s generation. It is now spending significantly beyond what we have earned and saved. It is dependent on borrowing, and so on borrowing from overseas and so on increasing our national burden of debt, and those each year it is adding to the amount of our national product that we have to spend on the interest on that debt, and it is detracting the amount that we have left to spend on anything else, like investment for the future. It is doing so in an attempt to prolong life for one generation at the expense of the living standards and life expectancy of subsequent generations. People are desperate to prolong their lives is because they are no longer confident of the promises of God. Loss of faith means that a generation fearful of age and death and reluctant to let go, and is demanding that the health service give them more years of life, and this is bankrupting their own children.

The state and government are good when they are small. They become counter-productive when they become too great, and take too large a proportion of our savings out of the economy. They are counter-productive when they intervene even when we do not need them to. We do not want to be helped all the time. We want to help ourselves. We all want to be independent. Anything that intends to keep us dependent, is holding us back and frustrating our desire to be free.  We do not want to be suppliants, always applying for more funding and in paralysis until it comes

Who will release us from this bind?
Any and every Christian disciple who points this out to us will help us here. And anyone who prays, Father, forgive us our debts…

Two Cults

Gospel gives us a prospect. Ahead lie opportunities. The future may be bigger than the present. More may be expected of us. We may look forward and be expectant, and so we are prepared to wait for one another, welcome one another’s efforts and to talk one another up. This is the fundamental assumption that has enabled and motivated the rising hopes of peoples under the cultural influence of the gospel. Through hearing the gospel they discovered the advantages of the culture and law of universal mutual-respect, and so of civil society. As a result, they became communities of growing political participation – sovereign nations – and so experienced economic take-off. The point about a nation is that it is a population that follows a single rule of law by which no one can be robbed of the product of their work. When this is so, everyone has a motive to work and to discover how, through new techniques and technology, to achieve more by their work. Curiosity and inventiveness are rewarded.

It is the closed economy of Christian discipleship that creates and sustains the open economy. We are free, because we are given freedom. Yet it is not ours until we have also taken this freedom, and the only way to take on this freedom is by taking on a particular limitation of this freedom, the particular discipline of Christian discipleship. We can take on this form of constraint in order to grow into this freedom. We will never have this freedom unless we exercise it within this discipline and restraint. It is the form of service that will bring self-mastery.  The true master is a master of self-mastery. The true master discovers and learns and unceasingly exercises his self-mastery through putting himself through an apprenticeship. He does so by serving all those with less self-mastery than himself. The powerful remains power only by serving the helpless and wildly flailing people around him. They lash out, and he gets buffeted by them. He comes to their aid and they fight back and excoriate him while he does so. He exudes calm, while they punish him for not being as frenzied, demented and angry as they are.

We can show what the effect of the gospel is by contrast with the other cult, which has the opposite effect. It produces highly polarised societies in which a tiny elite who hold all the wealth and the majority have nothing, not only no wealth or prosperity, but no working capital and no hope of gaining or of hanging on to any. As soon as anyone hears that you have made money, the strongman sends his enforcers around to take it from you.  

So two cults. One of consent. One of coercion. One of freedom, the other of force. The one will be patient and wait, expects change and looks forward to an eventual transformation and new situation. The pushes relentlessly, in this moment and every moment, and is always pushing us back towards zero. It is determined that nothing shall ever be different from the original shove that stops us and pushes us backwards, so that we all end up with less than we started with.

Sexual difference

The Powers-that-Be want to abolish sexual difference and all the mutuality that it allows, so we no longer think of ourselves as men or women. They want us to think of ourselves simply as individual units without relation, without gender and without any other specific characteristic. They do so because they want to make the entirely population directly depend on them for their identity. They want to make themselves the universal mediator between each and every individual so that no individual may be with another without their mediation. And they want to break up relationships so that we live in a perpetual flux, so that they can always bring us into new voluntary relationships and so that – and each of us lives in a catalogue from which other may choose someone to bring home and create the brief fiction of belonging and of mutual giving-and-taking.

The Transsexual phenomenon is an attack on men and women. Any attempt to create confusion about our identity, and so about our identity as men and women, is a form of aggression. It comes from those who want to demote us. Sow confusion – that’s their agenda. We say that the best thing for men is confident women, and the best thing for women is confident men. Men gain from women who are confident. Men and woman strengthen and support each other. The confidence of one helps the confidence of the other. Each enables the other to grow and reach their potential. But those who sow confusion want us to believe that a gain for men is a loss for women, that men and women can only detract from one another and are rivals and enemies and that each is better on their own. Obviously if men and women believe this and never trust each other or come together at all there will be no children at all, and so there will be no future women or men. Perhaps that is what they want. Perhaps they are motivated by fear of rising populations and want to see populations decline. Sowing doubt about the goodness of the two sexes and the complementarity and orientation of each sex to the other is the agenda that manifests their aggression.

The attack on our sex and gender is absolutism and totalitarianism. It makes a person unsure of who they are, and how they may fit in, and how they may contribute and how they may be valued and become confident this is the work of those who are prepared to concede us no dignity and no identity of our own at all. This is the robbery of our identity, of our innocence, the robbery of childhood, or the hope and aspiration to grow and become independent and mature.

We Christians know that enmity is not the fundamental force of creation. Love is fundamental. The love of God motivates all creatures that God calls into existence. They are called into a communion of love, in which they can love, and are not ultimately inhibited by fear or aversion to their own selves or to others. They learn to love all creatures in all the various forms of love that are appropriate to each. We may love our parents, brother and sisters, friends, our work, our workmates and team mates, our town and our country, our people and their habits and attitudes, their language and history, our countryside, its wildlife, its views and products. There are all these and more loves, and with them forms of affection and trust and loyalty, a whole host of affections and assumptions too deep to name. To a degree we can say that we love ourselves, we take of our own bodies and we love the bodies of those closest to us and take care of them. We tell them how lovely their bodies are. They are distinct from us, and we encourage them to learn a proper amount of independence, and we see them as part of us. They are them and they are ours. They belong to us and we to them. So parents see children, and so men see women and women see men. So we Christians say that men and women are creatures of love. We tell people that they have no fundamental reason for becoming suspicious of one another. But we should be aware of those who want to create fear and suspicion, and we should guard ourselves, and warn one another of this agenda of that this vast distrust and ambiguity that is always being pushed at us, and in particular at the children who, being more trusting, may be more gullible and vulnerable to it. The truth of man – and of any male – is that he can and may serve a woman. And she may allow herself to be served, and to wait until she is served, and to allow him to provide for her what perhaps she could do for herself, but generously to allow him to give. She serves him by waiting for him and so giving him time to act. She does not serve either him or herself by acting instead of him. Her action is allowing him to act for her. He may protect her and he may provide for her. He may pick her out, exclusively from all others and love and serve her alone. He may present her with the gift of a new life. He may give her a child. By fathering that child for her he is the hope of continuity for that woman, so she may live through her children. By her readiness to become the mother of that child she is the hope of continuity for that man, so he may live through his children, look forward to the life they will continue when he himself is gone. He has someone to work for; this wife and children make his work purposeful and his life meaningful. She may give him a child. They may do this together, and can only do this together, and in order that they do, each must perform for the other what they cannot do for themselves. There is something, or sometimes many things, that only a man may do for a woman, and that only a woman may for a man. They are complementary because they are different. Take that difference away, make them identical and indistinguishable from one another, and they become useless to one another.

Distinguishing the True from the false Gospel

As we grasp the gospel we realise that there is also a rival to it. Whatever is good and valuable attracts emulators and copies. There is a look-alike gospel, a rival gospel. And the rival gospel attempts to make itself just as look the real gospel as it can so that it is not straightforward to distinguish the original from the copy, the real from the counterfeit. The Christian gospel holds out the most enormous and ambitious account of human being. In response all sorts of other accounts emerge that take elements of the gospel and combine them in some simple and superficial way and make them available with the claim that they are cheaper. And they are cheaper, initially. They just don’t do the same thing at all. The Christian gospel give us a man with freedom. This freedom comes from God and makes him like God. The other fake gospels create a man without freedom, who is therefore like an animal, and remains just an animal with pretensions.  To give people the fake rather than the real is, just like giving them fake medical treatment, unbearably cruel. And mankind is endlessly gullible and capable of self-deception. All Christian history has been about distinguishing the true gospel from the copy. We have to continue to make this distinction, by searching in the scriptures and teaching of the Church for the true, the highest and most ambitious account of man that the real gospel offers. This account combines the freedom of man with the fellowship of man, and so holds together our independence as individuals with the love that makes us servants of one another, and in which the truth brings the most testing self-judgement. The one ‘tell’, the give-away, is that the fake version does not usually involve any great status loss, any discipling and self-discipline. It fits in with the perspectives of all those around us, our leaders are OK with it, and it does not make you unpopular. The true Gospel shows us the long way of renunciation of much of what our neighbours and leaders value. It shows us the cross.

Limitless Power

Why are you so suspicious about the intentions of the government? What have you got to hide?  We have to reply that it is they, the government and its apologists, who are doing the hiding. They are attempting to conceal a power claim that has no limit. We believe that government does not want power just in order to carry out some set of purposes, but that government has turned into the grasp for power for its sake, and is now this and nothing more. All the good intentions oriented to public service have given way to the imperative to come up with what the government demands and to submit to whatever it imposes on us, in the belief that it can be satisfied and will then allow us some space in which to carry out our own business, whereas it will always and immediately demand more. It appears to have no sense of its own limits. In this it has become absolutist and dictatorial. This is morally corrupting for those employed by government agencies and so are complicit in this power grab, and it is corrupting for all of us in the rest of the economy who attempt to act as though the government acknowledges our authority to act for ourselves on our own account, while of course our purposes are deflected, our effort misdirected and resources misallocated by our attempts to give government what it demands, while pretending that these demands are limited and purposeful while they rather in fact unlimited and directed to taking away from us all freedom to act on our own behalf. Left to itself the government will attempt to swallow the nation. What cannot stop itself must be stopped. This is why we say what we do.