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Viewpoint from Tony Mallion 03/08/2018

TONY MALLION 10-2017 stephen gTony Mallion 
Cliff Park Community Church, Gorleston


as published in the Yarmouth Mercury


Why I kept it I’m not sure. But some while ago I discovered the first reporter’s notebook I used when I joined the Yarmouth Mercury in 1968.  There it was, among some other bits and pieces in an old briefcase. The notebook had a blue cover and was very small, but with it came plenty of memories of those early days. For some reason I particularly recalled trudging one afternoon, in the snow, to interview a couple about their forthcoming golden wedding anniversary
dove leftThere we sat in their terraced house and it was hard going. Every time the husband started to tell me something remotely interesting the wife cut across and said “he doesn’t want to know that”.  Oh yes I did, I was struggling to find anything to write about them.  In desperation I asked for their recipe for a long and happy marriage, to be told they’d avoided arguments by never discussing religion or politics.  That was something, I suppose
It seemed strange to me – though clearly not to them – that these two fundamentals were subjects to be avoided.  For many people it also appears religion and politics should never mix together either
Dove rightIt may come as a surprise, but the Bible doesn’t take that view.  There are plenty of times when we are reminded in its pages that authority ultimately rests with God and those who govern do so under him.  St Paul writes quite clearly to the early church reminding them to respect and pray for those who rule over them at national and local level.  He even adds (it’s in Romans 13) that we should pay taxes cheerfully so that those who govern can be paid.  I’m not sure that advice was any more popular in the first century AD than it is in 2018!
And it is good in the run up to General Elections that churches take the lead in promoting some of the debate.  We’re told that people have little interest in politics and that public debating had become a distant memory.  Yet all over the country churches organise just such events
That is only the beginning.  Our interest and prayers shouldn’t stop once the votes are counted. We face tough times. St Paul in his letter to Timothy, chapter two wrote “I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and those in authority”.  Maybe religion and politics are worth discussing after all? Our rulers, both local and national, need all the help they can get, especially in these troubled times

photo of Tony Mallion courtesy of Stephen Gostick


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