A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
Following the studies in recent issues of Headline on the book of Amos, readers may have been challenged to address the social and political dimensions of our lives from a biblical perspective. Jubilee manifesto may help us, as it arises ‘from over two decades of serious refection and practical experience’. The Jubilee Centre (www.jubilee-centre.org), which may be new to some readers, was ‘founded in 1983 from the conviction that the Bible presents a coherent and relevant alternative to Capitalism, Socialism and other ideologies’.
While having a clear biblical base, the arguments used are expressed in such a way that people in the health service, international relations, finance and other professions can appreciate the reasons why they make sense in the real world. As Christians, and this book is written for Christians, we would expect what the Creator has caused to be written to relate to the real world of politics, finance and the like, but we need to learn about the integration of what we call the spiritual and the political and how we can live out the Creator’s righteous life in work and society as well as in church.
The book contends for the key principle of relationships in personal and social life - a related body is the Relationships Foundation. This is put forward as a fundamentally biblical principle and then its authority and relevance are argued for and worked out. As Chris Wright in chapter 4 states: ‘We need to imitate the character of the God we worship in our social as well as our personal lives’.
The variety of authors from various walks of life write in ways that we may not find easy to engage with unless we also know something of the subject but, even so, we will learn something of how our faith works out in areas of nationhood, government, family, welfare, finance, economy, criminal justice, international relations and defence.
Many readers will identify with some of the case studies in chapter 17 and will recognise the Keep Sunday Special campaign as one outworking of the principles in this book. Others will be only too aware of the work on personal debt and the launch of Credit Action to help tackle this issue through advice and education in schools. We understand that government values the work of Credit Action and its director Keith Tondeur very highly, calling on his help and advice.
This is not a book to be read at one sitting, but it is worth study individually and in groups as we seek to be biblical and Christlike in our modern world.