A strange way to open an article about Christians and politics, maybe, but it must be said.
I have a bad track record when it comes to this subject. ‘Bad’ is actually a bit of an understatement. I might be said to be an opinionated chap: annoying for some, no doubt, but God has seemingly not given up on me. When it comes to politics (and several other things) it's like I've been through one of those old washing mills. He’s taught me some of what it means to be gentle and tender-hearted, to avoid foolish controversies, to rejoice always, to walk as Christ walked. That’s not to say I’m perfect; I’m most definitely not. I’m just a sinner saved by grace. Just five years ago, however, I behaved like a total jerk around the time of the last UK General Election. (See here, and here, and here.) And I’m genuinely sorry for that.
If you knew me at the time and I hurt you, or annoyed you, if I seemed judgemental or arrogant or short-tempered with you, I’m sorry. I can only ask for your forgiveness. As I’ll go on to say in this piece: I should have tempered that zeal with the awareness that I’m an alien here. What happens politically still matters hugely, but it also matters very little - all at the same time. I suppose I hadn’t really digested that. (Or maybe I was desperately trying to undigest it?)
I don’t want to turn the blog into a confessional but in order to proceed with even a semblance of integrity, I literally need to confess - to you the reader - that I got this politics thing badly wrong in the past, that this came at a cost, that I idolised it and abused it, and that I’m sorry. Of course I might well be getting it wrong now. But by the grace of God (as well as some painful trial & error), I’ve learned a few lessons about the Christian’s relationship with politics. They’re not perfect; they’re not necessarily straightforward. But perhaps they’ll prove helpful as we walk this difficult path, together, fraught as it is with hard choices.