Recycled wisdom

Take God’s values out of society, and eventually someone will recognise the direct impact and damage it will have. I spotted this article today. I would love to know how independent the survey really was. If it was driven by a Christian group, I would not wonder that the recommendations are so close to what the church tries to do. If it wasn’t, perhaps now is an important time to reconsider how much wisdom we as a society have thrown out. And let us recycle.

Jesus summed up the law by saying that we should ‘Love God’ with every part of our lives and ‘Love our neighbours’. This second act of loving follows naturally. We express our love for God in serving others. We have to be selfless in order to protect and nurture the vulnerable, the young, the old and the unwell.

One of the biggest contributing factors the article cites is family break-up. As a Christian I hold an extremely high view of marriage and family life. I believe strong family life is central to a well-oiled society. With a family you have a place to be yourself. To be the same and different. To challenge in safety. To learn to respect. To celebrate and to repeat daily routines. Family is not new. It is not trendy. It is not cool. But – it prepares people for being part of society. I know many, many people whose families are not together. It is a function of my generation. I have met young offenders who claim never to have known of a working marriage in their experiences. I have many friends with many stories. I am not here to judge, and would never want to. But the report has suggested that society does not want to talk about this.

Why are we so scared of talking about something so important? Is it because there are consequences?

The Good Childhood Inquiry also reports that ‘excessive individualism’ is to blame for many of the problems children face. This is the same individualism Jesus challenges.

We agree that adverts drive greed and envy: we hate greed and envy in others and privately feel guilty that we cannot have all that we want.

Teachers resent the competitive bureaucracy in education. We know that league tables do not tell the whole truth and expect people to tell us the truth: we know that not everyone is going to be a winner. League tables are there to provide information for those who want to try and discern the most advantageous educational route for an individual. Not for others.  

We know that wages are not fair: unfairness stinks. We all want to be treated with dignity and respect by others, including our employers. We want to be fairly rewarded for equal work. We don’t want others to swing the system to their advantage unfairly.

We know children need to play: play requires space and space costs money. But we also want young people off the streets and nurtured by those who know how to get the best out of them and help them through the difficult teenage years.  We would like responsible young adults around us, who we can trust, work with and enjoy time with.

If we want these things, we have to face the fact that we cannot afford to be selfish. We must love others. In doing so, we ultimately benefit ourselves, as part of society.

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