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16 April 2015

Engaging with Politics // Book Review

Andy Milligan Politics

Andy Flannagan’s brilliant new book, “Those who show up”, offers a slightly different take than usual on Christian engagement in politics. This isn’t a book aimed at convincing Christians of how important it is to vote, or even how important it is to lobby politicians.  No, Andy is arguing for really getting involved – really showing up.  Actually mucking in to the grimy world of politics – getting onto the pitch, not just shouting from the stands: joining political parties, standing for election, becoming the decision-maker – really showing up.

Andy presents a frank view, honestly pinning his colours to the mast as a “living, breathing, Bible-believing, Jesus-following member of the Labour party”. Although candid about his own party politics, Flannagan regularly calls on Christians to seek kingdom values first, and has clearly collaborated with and sought input into this book from his co-director colleagues in the cross-party ‘Christians in Politics’ group.

As a church, ABC is following a sermon series on Sunday mornings on the book of Daniel. We’ve seen how Daniel, just like other Old Testament prophets like Joseph and Obadiah, was prepared to follow God’s call into the political realm of their time. We’ve seen how God used them in the midst of appalling regimes to speak and to bring truth, wisdom and justice.Those who show up offers a compelling argument for why the Church today needs to continue to follow this example. To move out of a comfortable world of speaking justice within our own walls and to step into the world, where light must shine among darkness, and salt must be rubbed into the meat. 

Whilst acknowledging that the world of politics is fallen, Andy challenges us to consider if it is any more fallen than our workplaces, our private lives or even our churches. Though we may think of many reasons not to get involved, or why we should hold ourselves separate, he asks if we should really cede any ground.

As a Christian already involved in party politics with the Conservative party, I can resonate with much of what Flannagan says in this book. As Christians we are able to create a strong voice from within parties, to go against the received wisdom and to come together in seeking kingdom values.  God calls us to an active participation in governance. He appointed us as stewards over his creation, and commanded us to “seek justice” and “defend the oppressed”. We can only do so much of this by writing letters, sending postcards and attending rallies.  Abraham Kuyper said “There is not a square inch of domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘It is Mine!’” If you believe this to be true, and if you have passion to see justice in our city, in our country and in our world, then it’s time to step it up. Follow Daniel and Obadiah inside the palace walls and be one of Those who show up.

You can buy a copy of "Those who show up", from our Church bookstore. See below for more links on Christians in politics. 

www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk
www.christian-conservatives.org.uk
www.christiansontheleft.org.uk
www.ldcf.net

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