This is the editorial from our Christmas 2019 newsletter. For the full edition, click here.
As 2019 draws to a close, we contemplate God becoming human in the person of Jesus Christ. The incarnation reveals the mystery of our belonging, not only to God, but to each other. As fellow citizens in a divided country, the greatest gift we can give therefore is to rebuild social solidarity. We can be a people of goodwill. The bitterness of the past three years must give way to forgiveness. Tribalism and identity politics are barriers to the Common Good.
After forty years we are seeing a political realignment and a long overdue rebalancing of interests should follow. However although the cultural dominance of educated, left-liberal Britain has been dealt a blow it will no doubt continue to assume entitlement and there will be a struggle. But instead of an American-style culture war, the UK could be more sensible and yield a broad based coalition that rejects extremes, and which upholds the interests of all communities without taking sectarian and hyper-liberal form.
As the country finds its way in the forging of a new settlement, people across the churches can play a distinctive and constructive role. To be witnesses to the transcendent, to reassert what it means to be human and to strengthen the bonds of social trust. Listening outside our own echo chambers and relationship building is a good place to start. T4CG’s Common Good resources for churches and schools can help you build capacity.
What’s going on?
If we are to be effective it is vital to understand what is going on in social and political terms. Naivety leads to mission drift. We know our readers span different political positions and Christian traditions, and some are better informed than others. Some predicted the realignment now underway over ten years ago, but many people are still confused – if that’s you, these links below will help you make sense of it all even if you don’t agree with everything!
- Matthew Goodwin nails British politics in 90 seconds, and forsees the next phase
- Maurice Glasman celebrates the new era and foretold the outcome 3 years ago
- David Goodhart as the realignment takes hold, Tories must respond to their voters
- Jason Cowley why a decade of dogma has left Labour a rotten shell
- Mary Harrington why most of Britain isn’t as broken as it seems in the big cities
- John Gray the closing of the conservative mind: politics and the art of war
- Patrick Deneen podcast – what’s going on and how the churches can help
- Phillip Blond interview – nationalism is the search for a new solidarity
Check out our list of recommended books too. As ever we aim to resource you to play your part. In this edition, we are delighted to share news of a Common Good approach to social care, a reflection on the vocation of the late Bishop David Sheppard by his daughter Jenny Sinclair, a long read by Anna Rowlands on rootedness as a fundamental human need, our latest helicopter view of Common Good activity across the churches and much more. You will find a wealth of ideas and training resources on this site too.
Every blessing for a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year
Together for the Common Good