Saturday, 7 March 2009

Where is the prophetic voice of the church?

Another child’s death filled our headlines for a day or two this week. This time it was Brandon Muir from Dundee – killed by his mother’s drug-using boyfriend. As he was dying from his injuries, his mother was prostituting herself to fund her drug habit.

The details of the story fill me with horror and rage. If you have the stomach for it you can read more on the BBC website or in The Herald.

For once, our politicians seem to have responded to this tragedy in a mature way. Dare we hope that they’ve learned that something needs to change in our society?

Annabel Goldie talked about the “tragic exposure of Scotland’s broken society.”

Adam Ingram, the Minister for Children, said:

“We need to … break a vicious cycle of poverty, deprivation, substance misuse which is all too evident in our society.”


“You’re never going to get a 100% fool-proof system and that’s why we have to tackle the root causes of the problems, not just the symptoms.”

Researchers have estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 children in Scotland live with at least one drug-addicted parent. (That doesn’t take account of those living with parents who misuse alcohol – and there’s not exactly a shortage of them in Scotland!)

And the churches said… NOTHING! At least, I haven’t heard or read anything from any of the churches.

This seems to epitomise what I referred to in my entry on the U2 lyrics. Is there a more important social issue in Scotland right now?

What are the root causes that Adam Ingram was talking about? Poverty, deprivation, community responsibility, hope for the hopeless - amongst others?

Who - in the churches - is doing the thinking?

How do we get a conversation going about this?

Where should we be raising a prophetic voice?

How should we be demonstrating Christ’s love?

I genuinely don’t know the answers to any of these questions, bit I am convinced that if the church is to be relevant, we must tackle this type of issue - sensitively, openly, courageously and biblically.

“We do, of course, need to be wise in deciding what we should get ‘prophetic’ about, and how to pitch it… well-informed and courageous challenges to values that are inimical to the gospel and damaging to our society, will strike a chord in many people’s heart.

And we must show, by word and by life, that there is – however unfashionable – a different and better way.”

- Helen Parry (LICC)


Tess said...

Trying to come up with some kind of comment that doesn't sound trite in the face of this horror. Failing.

That Hideous Man said...

What exactly do you mean by 'prophetic' in this context?

lucy said...

i'm with tess on this one. the only thing that runs through my mind is the fear-based responses my family received when dealing with a drug abusing child...what had we done wrong? why were we being punished? was it catching? if only we prayed more...harder...better...

the responses clearly came more out of fear than the love that is being called for in u2' song. we've got to get over our huge fears before we can even begin to respond with love. (hmmm...guess i came up with a response after all)