As Martin Luther said; “When it comes to faith, what a living, creative, active, powerful thing it is. It cannot do other than good at all times. It never waits to ask whether there is some good work to do, rather, before the question is raised, it has done the deed, and keeps on doing it.”
Yet, is the immeasurable amount of good that Christians are doing in the UK right now a get-out for the limitations and inadequacies of not only the government, but the neo-liberal, consumerist, competitive ideology of the Government?
Especially in the amount of situations where it seems churches, christians and christian organisations resolve the need of their work because of failures of the state, failures of families and communities to respond to needs, or has been the cause of them.
So situations where, in youth work we might “work with young people because the system of the school cannot cope” charity and Christians respond.
Or, how many occasions is the need for food bank (organised and delivered by Christians mostly) caused by failure of benefits systems, payments or a job centre/system that has failed (and then acted with sanctions), and the rest.
Many many initiatives , programmes, positives and interventions are provided by Christians in the UK. And not that there’s any desire for reward, but as there’s no end in sight for the need for any of them to exist.
Maybe a reward isnt necessary.
But what about for all the projects nationally, every food bank, every mentoring project, every other piece of work done by the church to fill a welfare failing gap to take a collective 3 month sabbatical. Pay the staff to have a 3 month break, give the volunteers 3 months off.
It might be seen as strike. But it’d sure focus the mind of those who have come to rely on christians and the church to be the national safety net. Those who pander to the Christian organisations favour and respond by increasing their workload through a delivery of a neo-liberal capitalist ordering of state functions that will leave many castigated.
So hows about it. Christians take a break, make it a long one. Not because we want to change what we are doing for the good of people, families and communities, but as a challenge for the political & societal causes of it.
Maybe there is too much of a will or need or calling fulfilled to stop doing these social justice type projects, but that wouldn’t mean not taking a three months coordinated sabbatical to achieve longer term better society mightn’t it? After all it doesn’t feel that the government is taking a blind bit of interest, especially which the work that fills the gaps is continuing.
This is not to say that Christians, groups, projects and churches shouldn’t do these things from a gospel imperative, from a creation perspective, from a goodness perspective. But would a strike/sabbatical begin to say enough is enough for the 1,000’s reliant on food banks, on credit unions, on youth work, on childcare facilities, on extra curricular work in schools…
If the Government couldn’t afford for the church not to go on strike- what might it take for them to stop it from doing so? The desire to keep doing good will always be there, for good or other motive, but is the good currently an easy get out, and should goodness be targeted at challenging the powers that are causing the need. Messages aren’t getting through. And though the statistics of foodbank use across the UK are shocking, but whilst they exist and are in operation the government can plough on regardless.