15 Jun, 2020 The pulpit should inform
One of the key-points of encouragement we brought to city and town pastors’ groups this year was on the need for pulpits to engage with the issues of the day.
- Many changes in societies (like the Civil Rights Movement of America, or ending of Apartheid in South Africa) were significantly led and fed by the pulpits of churches, and their prayer rooms.
- Pulpits should be relevant – engaging with the real issues of the day.
As a secondary reason for this encouragement – the freedom of information precedes the freedom of conscience, speech and religion. (If people are denied access to information – what relevance is their freedom of thought or speech?)
- Public media carry undeniable bias. Where could members get newsfeeds, or information, to gain a necessary balance on some matters?
- Also for consideration – how important might this be in a democracy, where our voting determines public policy – which affects lives?
My key points
- While wisdom is needed, the pulpit has a role to play in current issues.
- Anything is better than nothing.
How could we engage wisely and gently?
Here are some encouragements for your pulpit – with the Cannabis Referrendum as the example.
Q1 – What is the legalising cannabis Bill about?
- It is about legalising recreational use of Cannabis. Medical use is already legal.
- Key question for Christian believers: There are many medicines and herbs on God’s good green earth. Will this be good for people?
Perception is a huge part of how people vote. Some have motivation to maintain confusion about the above, because it serves their purposes.
FOR APPLICATION: Even if this clarification were all that you said – it would contribute positively.
Q2. What information do our people most need?
Consider – what message might be under-represented in public media?
- For my opinion on this – in just one weekend alone early in June I’m aware that our Government funded $250,000 of public promotion in favour of this bill. It seems that have a view! Where is the balancing voice? Who will fund that? (Who is even capable of funding that?)
- It is in the interests of some to maintain the perception that his bill is about enabling medicinal use.
FOR APPLICATION: Why not tell your members this? It would help them to think a little about their sources of information.
SUPURB REOURCE: https://saynopetodope.org.nz
…but if you have capacity for more…
Q3 – Might God expect his followers to vote when living in a democracy?
Without good information many will fail to engage others in meaningful conversation, and might also vote as uninformed citizens – and this does not honour God!
It is a privilege to live in a constitutional democracy – where the people decide who has power, and where those in power are accountable to the people, under God.
- Voting is a responsibility we have in this society.
- Not voting is very similar to placing a vote – because it still affects the outcome.
- ‘All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’
FOR APPLICATION: How about mentioning this point? Some may never have thought about it before.
Q4 – The most important question: Our motive (Does God care about this Bill, and should we?)
- Is it a threat to the mental health of New Zealanders?
- Is it a threat to people’s physical health?
- Is it a threat to public safety due to altered behaviour?
- Is is a threat to the wellbeing or safety of families if it is connected to decreased mental and physical health, behaviour changes and also financial loss caused by addiction?
- And, noting there is a ‘Children’s Menu’ included – is this sensible policy? (Will we really manage to protect those aged under 20 from this?)
APPLICATION: To merely ask these questions would prompt some to investigate the matter a little more, and to consider what they could do to contribute a little to the conversation.
While there are many issues we could discuss in our pulpits, there is only opportunity for NZ citizens to vote a matter like this, so as to be a part of a decision-making process that will affect lives!
- Please give your members some basic information
- Please give them access to some information
- 1. Re access to a NZ newsfeed – if helpful: We Family First’s email updates. FamilyFirst.org.nz/email-updates
- 2. In a weekend service, (i) inform members a little on an issues, (ii) encourage sensible engagement with the issues, then (iii) pray for our nation.
- 3. Post images on FaceBook to spark conversations – E.g. regarding the topic used as an illustration in this article, the below webpage has images suitable for used on FaceBook pages to spark conversations.