We’re now four months on from our federal election campaign. The Prime Minister is settling in to The Lodge, and new MPs are learning the ropes. We’re already in the throes of debates about plebiscites, border security and cost of living.
The election campaign in July provided an opportunity for Australians to engage with our political candidates in a way that is not possible through the normal term of government. I was deeply encouraged by the way Baptists engaged in learning, discussing, speaking and acting through the campaign period.
Our churches hosted events concerning global poverty, made submissions regarding exploited workers, sought to explain positions on sexuality and marriage and met face to face with candidates. For the most part this was done with a gracious humility, strong in conviction yet humble enough to listen and learn.
While elections are important moments, our engagement in the public space is a little bit like our discipleship. To coin a phrase from Eugene Peterson, it is a long obedience in the same direction. Far from being a one-off activity we speak up as a matter of course. As we shape our lives to be more like Jesus, we commit ourselves to the task of seeking to bring the places where we live, work and play into greater alignment with God’s intention for creation.
Elections, leaders and political parties come and go. Through it all, the call on the church is to make know the wisdom and grace of God (see Ephesians 3:10) in the way we live, speak and act.
So don’t wait for the next election before you next choose to raise your voices and let our leaders know what you think. Right now we have significant opportunities on issues like the provision of affordable housing in our state, the place of marriage in our society and our treatment of asylum seekers.
In particular, we’re encouraging you to join with other Baptist churches as we seek to raise a collective voice on the issue of domestic violence from 20-27 November.
In many churches, domestic violence is a taboo subject which we don’t like to talk about. It is likely though, that there are people in every church who will know victims of violence, or be victims or abusers themselves.
Sadly, there seems to be something in our cultural narrative that condones or permits violence, particularly amongst men. We need to explore what some of the causes of violence might, including examining what we teach, and issues such as pornography and the sexualisation of women.
In response to domestic violence, churches can do 3 things:
- Ensure our churches and leaders are prepared to respond to situations of domestic violence and provide safe spaces for victims
- Seek God in worship and open up the dialogue in our churches, working to stop domestic violence before it happens
- Raise our voices and take action to address domestic violence in our communities and culture
Let’s not wait another three years before we speak out, seeking justice for the vulnerable and marginalised in our communities. Visit the website to download a helpful DV resource.