Saturday, 29 January 2011

Communion - Sharing in Common Participation

I read a post by Chelliah Laity this morning which stopped me in my tracks.  She asks can Christians go on strike?
Never having considered that there might be any problem inherent in a Christian striking for his/her beliefs, it seemed to me there could be no conflict of interest.
A life-long socialist, trades union member and from a political family, having only very recently become a Christian, my slant will obviously be rather different from the standard one, if it exists.
My father was a baker, first a member of the communist party and a bakers' union member, later an area TU officer and finally a member of the National Executive.  He fought all his life for what he believed in, the rights of his members, the right to free speech and the right of every man and woman to a decent living wage.
My mother was a leader of the Socialist Guild of Youth in South Wales, quiet, self-effacing and utterly and completely convinced that the right of the individual to freedom of speech was (God-given).
Both parents were atheist but had friends from all religions Jewish and Catholic, Protestant and Muslim and while we (my three brothers and I) were discouraged from engaging in any religious activity, had we shown any such inclination it would undoubtedly have met with the response (if that is what you believe and want from life it's up to you).
My father's eldest brother was an MP, later Chief Whip, Leader of the House and finally Commonwealth Secretary in Harold Wilson's government, and was regarded by my parents - though they were great friends -as a bit of an anachronism, a political light-weight for his more measured response to current crisis.
All through my working life I belonged to first one, then another trade union, depending upon who my employer was, never afraid to stick my head over the parapet, often shot at and occasionally sacked for my "subversive" activities, I wound up in the Civil Service for the last 23 years of my working life and had to tone down my activities to the uniform grey mode of protest deemed appropriate for Her Majesty's Civil Service.
Along the way, I had been briefly a Young Communist, a CND supporter and had been involved in many rallies and marches of the type the young and energetic are drawn to.
The fact that few of these protests produced any tangible result did not in any way detract from the feeling that one was doing one's bit!
Engaging in such activities introduced me to people from every walk of life, educated middle-class, educated working-class (sneered at by some as working-class intellectuals as though that were a crime), almost totally illiterate but strongly motivated people and a few clergy who held strong pro-peace views.
Each and every one of this disparate bunch of rebels had a good reason to be where they were on the protest day, and each and every one was prepared to stand up and be counted for what he or she believed to be right.
Jesus, I believe, would have been at the front of many of these marches, probably holding a banner, and certainly never standing by and denying his beliefs.

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