Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Left wing priest?

Yesterday I got a Christmas card from an old friend who said after the seasons greeting.
"PS   Your blog gets more left wing everyday!"
Me? Moi?   Surely not....I am not aware that I say much about politics except in passing in here but I went on to have a chuckle about what he would say if he read some of the bishops blogs!
Politics and religion have always been uneasy bedfellows since Thomas a Becket was killed in his Cathedral!
To have views on current affairs though is I think part of the human condition..We, the clergy are all here to care for other people...and what bothers them bothers us too!  We are not insulated from the results of some political decisions . We see it everyday, even in St Mawes.
We have all travelled through life with different experiences to shape our thoughts and actions...and it is these experiences which make us either right or left wing or quite possible an amalgam of both as in my case...
What does make us cross is unfairness.....and when you see that parts of the population are being treated differently from others it tends to make us worry for those who are suffering.
I was brought up in poverty. Every time there was a discussion about our future the sentence most used about me was.
"Our Jean'll go int mill."   There was no was a given that I grew up with. Passing for the grammar school changed all that.
The wonderful 1944 Education act, set up by a Tory, Rab Butler was a marvellous  piece of legislation  and succeeded in lifting brighter children out of poverty and into the light of education.
Once at Grammar school life was bumpy....I wore second hand clothes, was always scruffy, lacked the right footgear and was despised by the fee paying girls who saw only the poverty and never the spirit.
Politics were part of my growing up, my communist parents saw to that but my religion was the core, the source for me of all belief..
Starting with my grandparents Welsh Baptist chapel, and then my own Unitarian chapel followed by the new Anglican church on the  slum clearance housing estate...God was always there,
Teaching in Sunday school, singing in the Methodist choir, were all vital to my growing up my experience is very different from either of my husbands...or friends for whom much of this is news...
We are all different...because we have led different lives, with different influences...If we've experienced poverty at first hand we are always going to be sympathetic to those who are still in that trap.
It doesn't always mean that we are left wing though....  It just makes us people who care.


  1. What can ! say, other than Happy Christmas! At least you have alsways been both consistenat and entirley honest which we all respect and treasure- kbo!

    Love from East Sussex.

  2. From pretty well the same background as you Jean, I agree that sympathising with 'the underdog' is the default position of those from those sort of origins but it is also the declared aim of the true Christian.
    I believe it is only in the route to the 'fair shares for all' life that the left wing politicians and the established church differ.

    If concern for others makes us left-wing, then so be it.

  3. Brought up in the East End, including 5 years in care. Poverty and deprivation were part of my childhood. The 'second-hand-clothes' comment drew a wry smile from me. In my younger days, there was a particular second hand shop on Bethnal Green Road, which was always piled up with loads of customers. All of our clothing and shoes were brought from there. I suppose the equivalent today is the many Charity Shops in vacant shop fronts on many high streets. The difference being, that the quality of their stuff, is far superior to the things we could afford.

    The strange thing is that despite our poverty, my father was a rabid, right wing extremist. Who, also read the Daily Mirror? What was that about?

    I've always been fairly neutral on politics, particularly while in the Army, as politics and military service don't mix to well. I was involved in the Firemens strike in 1977, the Oil Tankers Strike, a bit later. And as we were being taken away from our families for this, we didn't actually have much sympathy for the strikers.

    In addition, the armed forces were run down by successive governments from the late 1960's, including unfairness in pay - we didn't have a union to fight for our rights. It took the Tory Government of Maggie Thatcher to establish the Armed Forces Pay Review Body to even things up.

    Much later, when I became an active Christian, and took on board much of what is involved, I became a socialist, but of the green variety, not the labour variety, which is where I remain.

    Politics and religion must be hand in hand, as secular politics is faceless, unfeeling and to much like big brother for my liking. Just compare the Soviet Experience for the 70 years of so from 1917 to 2002?

    So, please go on being left wing - as it resonates with me.

  4. I am proud to be left-wing, probably too much so, and can't understand right-wing, not at all. In fact I can say that I could never vote for what might benefit me at the expense of others, not because I am good, but because I wouldn't be able to look God in the eye! And that would be Hell!