Sample Letter

I wrote this post (click to open in a new tab) a little while ago about why Christians should be involved in politics, and what form being ‘involved’ in politics can take. Prompted by an email from Christian charity Tearfund, I emailed my local MP about the issue of climate change. I nearly didn’t do it, as my MP is proudly against a proposed wind farm (I don’t know the circumstances but I suspect it’s probably nimbyism). I prayed about it and this parable came to mind:

 

Then [Jesus] gave them an illustration to show that they must always pray and never lose heart.

“Once upon a time,” he said, “there was a magistrate in a town who had neither fear of God nor respect for his fellow-men. There was a widow in the town who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Please protect me from the man who is trying to ruin me.’ And for a long time he refused. But later he said to himself, ‘Although I don’t fear God and have no respect for men, yet this woman is such a nuisance that I shall give judgement in her favour, or else her continual visits will be the death of me!’”

Then the Lord said, “Notice how this dishonest magistrate behaved. Do you suppose God, patient as he is, will not see justice done for his chosen, who appeal to him day and night? I assure you he will not delay in seeing justice done. Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find men on earth who believe in him?”

Luke 18:1-8 (JB Phillips)

First, I decided to pray for my MP, which is something that hadn’t occurred to me before. Second, I decided to be persistent in my letters, just like the widow. He can’t ignore me forever – and I have a feeling that my innate tendency to stubbornness persistence will prove useful.

MPs have websites where you can find their address and email address. Here is the email that I sent to my MP, which could be used as a sample letter or email:

 

Dear [insert name]

As a Christian I care deeply about the world’s poor, particularly those living in extreme poverty. I also care about the ‘green and pleasant land’ we call home. I am writing because I want to ask you to take action on climate change. Climate change will affect the poorest most. There will also be more frequent episodes of extreme weather events such as the snow experienced in 2010, the weeks of rain in 2012 and the recent devastating floods. All this will have an impact not just on the world’s poorest but on our own people and economy too.

It is not too late. If we take action now, the worst case scenario can be avoided. Please take the time to read the latest IPCC report summaries. This is probably the greatest political issue facing the world in our generation.

You can read the report here: http://1.usa.gov/1hR6qr1

Please also push for a strong manifesto commitment from your party to say what they will do to reduce our economy’s reliance on fossil fuels, particularly by increasing low carbon energy sources and driving energy efficiency, as the report says we need to. The UK is Europe’s windiest country. Wind, water and sun are much more secure ways of achieving reliable sources of energy for the British economy than buying coal and oil from Russia or Qatar.

I wish you a restful time off over the Easter recess. May I also take the opportunity to wish you Easter blessings and to let you know that our family is praying for you, as our MP.

Many thanks

[insert name and address]

The Un-paving Paradise Project: April 2014

‘A U.N. group of scientists said an immediate push is necessary to halt the worst effects of climate change. Its report showed that it is still possible to contain the worst effects of climate change, but governments must take extensive measures to reduce carbon emissions.’

From Time

There have been a plethora of news reports recently about the need for humanity to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions or the whole planet is ****** (insert expletive of your choice – this is one occasion where it’s warranted). In light of this, the Un-paving Paradise Project has taken on even more significance. I feel I should apologise for all those years of ignorance, but as one can’t apologise to the planet, unless you live in some sort of weird Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy parallel universe, perhaps it’s better to do something. It’s no use crying over spilt milk, so the saying goes, to which I would add so you’d better figure out how to clean up the mess.

 

In recent weeks I have taken on two new environmentally friendlier habits, prompted by blog posts on My Make Do and Mend Year and Eco Thrifty Living. I have also decided that, having experienced the spiritual discipline of Lent, after it ends next week I would like to continue the little discipline of fasting/abstaining, and I would like to do this alongside practical things to benefit the environment, my health and my family.

 

My most recent eco friendly habits (which are for April and May) are as follows:

It’s a thermos. That’s it.

1) When I want a cuppa, I fill the kettle with approx. 1.2 litres of water. I use roughly 200ml for my tea and put the rest in a 1 litre stainless steel thermos flask. If Frank also wants a hot drink, I boil a little more water and decant accordingly. Boiling the kettle for one cuppa five times over (which is what I would usually do) uses more energy than boiling 1.2 litres and essentially making four to five drinks, even if you only boil exactly the right amount for your drink. Thus the thermos method not only saves energy (electric kettles are big consumers of energy in the home) but also saves £££, especially if you add it all up over the course of a year.

For more information on how using a thermos can reduce your energy consumption, click here.

 

Cows produce methane. Methane is 22 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Rainforests are the best absorbers of carbon dioxide, but they’re being destroyed to make way for cattle grazing. Unfortunately the soil is not suited to grazing so within a couple of years the farmers are compelled to cut down more rainforest :-( Rainforest is also destroyed in order to plant soya, which is used as animal feed worldwide. Eating less meat sounds like a good idea to me. And to Daisy. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of Daisy.

 

2) My second eco friendly habit is reducing my meat consumption. I have pledged via DoNation to eat meat only if I have not had it the day before. As an adult I have had the great pleasure of becoming lactose intolerant (which is far more common than you’d think – 70% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, but only 2% of Northern Europeans). Lactose intolerance means I don’t eat dairy because it makes me sick, so on the non-meat days I’m eating essentially a vegan diet, bar the odd free range egg. In reality, because I am trying to eat more healthily anyway, this is likely to mean me eating meat for around 15% of meals.

For more information on why eating less meat and dairy is better for the environment, click here.

 

 

Vengeance is Mine, Says the Lord

Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Romans 12:17-19 (The Message)

For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and cases of His people.

Hebrews 10:30 (Amplified)

 

Jesus wants those who follow him to be clear about why he came… In our celebration of the [Easter] mystery, we not only recall [the reasons Jesus came] but also witness the vengeance [such as that which] Jeremiah longed to see. God does not pick up rocks to stone the wicked: he picks up flesh and blood… and casts his only begotten Son on the earth, not to injure or destroy it, but to bring it life.

Jesus is the vengeance God takes on the wicked.

From The Little Way of Lent

by Fr. Gary Caster

Why do we miss this, as followers of Christ? Isn’t this the most important thing that one could ever learn? God’s justice is not the same as ours. The wages of sin is death, i.e. when I choose sin I choose death not because God condemns me but because sin and death are the separation from God. And if all sin separates me from God what hope have I of ever becoming perfect (perfect meaning without sin)? The answer is: none. Yet if I only take hold of this offering of love to me (surely any offering should be the other way round?) I will live the life God made me to live. Hallelujah! Such a simple thing – if only we realised how much God loves each one of us, instead of listening to the lies and confusion of the enemy, what a life we could lead, what a blessing we would be in the world.

Wow. I never expected any of this when I began my Lenten journey. This is beyond spectacular. I am in awe. That single line encapsulates the entire nature and function of grace: Jesus is the vengeance God takes on the wicked.

Manna: This is my Body, Broken for You

 

As posted on The Vicar’s Wife blog.

 

Puts a different spin on

“Give us this day our daily bread”

does it not?

My beloved Frank has told me (he being the one who has studied theology, history and New Testament Greek) that what that line of the Lord’s Prayer really means is ‘give us bread for today’. In other words, we are asking God to provide enough just for today. In the context of first century occupied Israel this has even more importance. There were famines; the people were poor. Nonetheless, Jesus doesn’t teach us to pray for ‘abundance’ – not in the physical, worldly sense – but to pray simply for enough food to feed my family for today, relying on God for tomorrow. Now that’s faith and, in God’s Upside Down way, this is abundance.

How is it that Love Equalizes Lovers?

sandyfaithking:

 

How wonderful! Reminds me of Julian of Norwich too. I love how God reveals himself in similar ways to people hundreds of miles and centuries apart. I don’t know much about Francis de Sales. I will have to see what I can find.

What is he indeed that is maker and lover and keeper?

I cannot find words to tell.

For until I am one with him I can never have true rest nor peace.

I can never know it until I am held so close to him that there is nothing in between.

Julian of Norwich

from Enfolded in Love

Originally posted on Contemplative in the Mud:

Francis, John

Throughout the works of those two great saints of love who are John of the Cross and Francis de Sales, we come across assertions that the act of loving makes the lover on the same plane as the beloved, that the object of our love, whether higher or lower than us, describes where the value of our own love falls; or, in the words of Saint Francis,

Love equalizes lovers.

How is that?

In general, it is true. Wherever our heart is, there is out treasure also! (Mt 6:21) If we set our heart on riches, it is riches to which our superior nature bows down to become equal; if we set out heart on lust, power, or anything else, down we go in like manner.

But when our love, centred more and more on God in himself and in his general and particular will, approaches closer and closer to…

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