It’s election time here in the UK and so yesterday I headed along to a local hustings.

One particular ‘group’ asked the question ‘what are you going to do for us?’ It’s a question a lot of people seem to be asking, not least Christians.

One notable Christian organisation that is heavily involved in political issues puts it like this:

“The marginalisation of Christians must be a vital issue for Christians at the General Elections… Christ clearly taught that his followers are the salt which preserves society and the light which guides it (Matthew 5:13-16). If the salt remains in the salt cellar and the light is increasingly hidden under a secular bushel, then it will become very much harder for Christians to do those good works which transform society. Suppressing gospel values will accelerate the moral decline of our society.”

I think there are some obvious issues with this view, not least that Christians managed to be ‘salt and light’ (however you understand that phrase) for a few centuries before they were recognised and accepted as a religion.

But there’s another thing that makes me uncomfortable about all this. Should Christians really be asking parties ‘what are you going to do for us?’ Is not a distinctive of the Christian community that we exist for those outside our community?

Chris Richardson at our Gathering did a very helpful slot for our ‘Have I Got News For You’ time during our meeting where he highlighted this issue. We need to be asking the question ‘what are you going to do for the marginalised, the weak, the helpless…’ rather than first asking what the government will do for us.

Imagine the difference this would make to hustings. Rather than Christians being known for what they can get out of things they’d be known for laying aside what benefits them for the sake of helping others…

hmmm… sounds like someone I’ve read about somewhere…