Welcome to a post-truth, fear-fuelled political stage. After months of campaigning which preyed on the public’s primal emotions, rather than making good use of their high level of education, Nigel Farage claimed that Leave’s victory had validated their stand against lies and exaggerations. And thereby, he must have relied on our busyness, our constant inundation with information, and therefore our memories buckling under the weight, to rewrite recent history.
This is perhaps what scares me most of all. If leaving the EU means we are entering unchartered territory, most of all, I need to know exactly what is happening, where we are heading, and who is being hurt as a result. I don’t think I can trust any political or media institution to do that anymore.
The real victor- the one who would have won whether we stayed or left- is a mindset of scarcity. There aren’t enough jobs, there isn’t enough space, there isn’t enough control, said Leave. And sometimes poking through in the Remain camp: there aren’t enough logically minded Left-wingers to counteract bigotry. And with a victory to fear, we can expect that our deepest insecurities will be played upon and preyed upon for the foreseeable future- not just by politicians, but by everyone in whose (economic) interest it is to make us feel vulnerable and weak.
On a minibus of Year 11 students yesterday, conversation turned to the Referendum, and the atmosphere was imbued with anxiety. I was asked by international students if they were going to be deported; what would they do for university; whether this meant Donald Trump would win the U.S elections. The unspoken question behind one girl’s quivering expression: ‘what have we done wrong?’ On the contrary, dear one, you have been wronged: for before you have even put both feet into the world, you have been taught that it is scary. You have been taught that it is weak to trust. You know to be guarded.
My prayer for the Church is that we would hold onto hope in the face of fearmongering. Too often, Christians buy into the mindset of scarcity and project onto God an impatience, an intolerance, and a guarded heart that seems to have little to do with the Jesus of the Gospels. Living a life of accepting God’s love and returning it to the world depends upon vulnerability. That means being open to being hurt, but not being controlled by dread of that eventuality, for we know that we are held eternally within an unquenchable love.
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
If we are scared, we cannot be peacemakers. If we are not vulnerable, we cannot be blessed.
The Beatitudes in Eugene Peterson’s translation:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom”