Thursday, 11 August 2011

What now?

I am conscious that, living in Scotland, unaffected personally, by rioting and looting in England, distance provides a degree of luxury. But I am dismayed at the angry and vengeful tone of a government who, let's face it, are also, on the whole, not personally affected - unless, of course, you count loss of votes and loss of confidence of constituents.
To think that plans were in place to use torture such as plastic bullets and water canons is horrific. And this without any plans to address the underlying issues that have undoubtedly escalated to boiling point, erupting in the violence we have witnessed this week.
If, as someone suggested, Scotland was unaffected because we have a different culture and a different perspective on community, shouldn't we try to identify the values on which these are based? However you want to brand rioters and looters, surely we desperately want to examine how we as a society have failed people to such a degree that they resort to such means of protest.
There were a number of Facebook discussions this week on the role of the church in contributing to the brokenness of society. Of course the church must always be prepared to examine its shortcomings. However addressing those shortcomings will not involve the church becoming more hard line and uncompromising (like our government seems to be set on). Responding to such a broken society requires love and acceptance and understanding and, above all, grace - supposedly the forte of the church.

5 comments:

David Denniston said...

Absolutely Liz! a thoughtful post.

Sue said...

Well said Liz.

Beth said...

Thank you, as always, Liz, for your thoughtfulness. In an entirely different context, a seminary professor once remarked that instead of, or in addition to, figuring out why so many fell short, shouldn't we spend at least as much time figuring out why the few did not. That was my own thought about Scotland - for if we know why the rioting hasn't come there, maybe there are lessons to be learned for your neighbors to the south in England. What about you is different in this circumstance? In the meantime, we pray for all affected by the bursting violence and it underlying causes.

David Lacy said...

You refer to the riots as "such means of protest". Having been in Bristol this week and speaking to my policeman nephew, who was one of the total of four officers who were available to snuff out the first sparks of copycat trouble in Weston-super-Mare, I don't believe these events were a "protest". I believe they were bandwagon-jumping outbursts of hedonism, brutality and savagery. They have no possible justification.
The church, however, should not be as surpirised as everyone else that such evil so readily comes out of humans - we call it original sin - and God judges it: we all try, like Adam, to blame someone or something else: we may even call it "protest": but it is just plain evil - and all of us need to be saved from that.

liz said...

As I said, David, distance - physical and emotional provides a luxury of perspective.
I did hear an interesting discussion today about the copy cat criminals - a separate issue from the original eruption - there was a suggestion that, somehow opportunism led to evil becoming normalised.
My point remains, however, that, rather than rushing to action that would further alienate those so disenfranchised, much more work needs to be undertaken to understand what happened, standing alongside those who have become victims.
Brokenness requires getting alongside and holding out hope for healing and reconciliation rather than harshness and judgement that, as you rightly declare, is not ours to make.
Although it may come as no surprise for the church to embrace the concept of original sin, we also major in love and healing and hope.

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