Christian Comment with the Rev Simon Topping Methodist minister, Stroud

First published in News by

ONE of our sons was recently part of a Methodist Church group that went to Nicaragua to support a project called Street Child World Cup.

The project not only seeks to highlight the desperate plight of vulnerable street children across the world but is also supporting their participation in their own 'World Cup' which will take place in Brazil before the more famous World Cup is staged.

The group from the UK met with Christian organisations and churches who are working with Nicaragua’s street children on a daily basis and one of the ideas that kept emerging from these encounters was that 'God is not neutral'.


In other words, God sides with the poor and vulnerable within our world.


It was interesting to hear this same idea being echoed by Pope Francis in his recent writing entitled 'Joy of the Gospel'.


In this pastoral letter the Pope talks about “God’s preferential option for the poor”.


These days we often hear politicians talking about fairness, and perhaps we assume that a correct understanding of fairness requires us to look at things from a position of neutrality.


But what Pope Francis and those Christian workers in Nicaragua appear to be saying is that God’s approach to fairness is not based on neutrality (is that ever possible anyway?) but rather upon an attitude of solidarity with the poor and compassion for their suffering.


In other words, divine fairness is based on what is fair for the poor, not the rich.
I believe the story of Christmas reminds us that God is not neutral.


When God chooses to come to earth in human form to liberate humankind from sin and darkness, God appears as a vulnerable baby, born to a homeless, unmarried couple in a land oppressed by an occupying power.


The announcement of the birth of Jesus comes first to poor shepherds, working on the margins of society, not to King Herod in his palace.


So as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas, let us allow God’s preferential option for the poor to fill our hearts and shape our living.

Comments (4)

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6:37pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Salendine says...

Liberate humankind from sin and darkness? 2000 years on and we are still waiting. An oppressed land? Not much has changed there either, except of course religion has provided an excuse to make it worse.

We should all care for those who can't care for themselves, and we should do it without ramming religion down theor throats, but hey, why change the habits of the last few centuries.
Liberate humankind from sin and darkness? 2000 years on and we are still waiting. An oppressed land? Not much has changed there either, except of course religion has provided an excuse to make it worse. We should all care for those who can't care for themselves, and we should do it without ramming religion down theor throats, but hey, why change the habits of the last few centuries. Salendine
  • Score: 1

11:12pm Sun 8 Dec 13

TigerTigerBurningBright says...

'God is not neutral'.
OK - so, can we place bets on Male or Female, Gay or Straight, Black or White, Tory or UKIP?

'Joy of the Gospel'
I think I met her once, did she have bad teeth and a scar above her left eye?

"In other words, God sides with the poor and vulnerable within our world." and takes their money and builds fear in their hearts to support the organisation that is church. Ever wondered why the biggest buildings in towns used to be churches, why the some of the richest people were the clergy? Thank goodness for humanism and reality.
'God is not neutral'. OK - so, can we place bets on Male or Female, Gay or Straight, Black or White, Tory or UKIP? 'Joy of the Gospel' I think I met her once, did she have bad teeth and a scar above her left eye? "In other words, God sides with the poor and vulnerable within our world." and takes their money and builds fear in their hearts to support the organisation that is church. Ever wondered why the biggest buildings in towns used to be churches, why the some of the richest people were the clergy? Thank goodness for humanism and reality. TigerTigerBurningBright
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Mon 9 Dec 13

A Stroud Worm says...

Good project but you lost me at God.
Good project but you lost me at God. A Stroud Worm
  • Score: -2

4:14pm Tue 10 Dec 13

kjag23 says...

Here's a fun idea:
How about we're nice, caring, compassionate people, we look after those in need and help those less fortunate than us.
That's it. No God, no Bible, no religion.
Let's just all be decent human beings.
Here's a fun idea: How about we're nice, caring, compassionate people, we look after those in need and help those less fortunate than us. That's it. No God, no Bible, no religion. Let's just all be decent human beings. kjag23
  • Score: 3

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