bouncing some thoughts around about flags

The flag situation is complex but maybe that’s because we’re not dealing with something we can untangle by ourselves with some bright political thinking, like sitting down with tangled up Christmas lights and getting them eventually straightened out again and up on the tree.

Maybe we’re dealing with supernatural forces that blind people or have our eyes blinkered by the kingdom of darkness and we’re powerless to stop them and our call is to overcome them by suffering?
We can’t untangle the political Northern Ireland Christmas tree lights all by ourselves and if people are as broken as we’re told they are in the Bible then we never will.

I guess that wonder how society can be so dark when we think about how many churches and Christians we’ve had and still have, even if the numbers are falling.

Part of me wonders how things seem quite so dark. But then maybe we just don’t realize how dark the human heart is. Is your heart dark? Mine is despite all the faith stuff. If a church has someone like me in it then it shouldn’t be so hard to see why we haven’t been peacemakers.

I guess that my take on why things are so dark is that many of our politicians (just like any of us) like the power and want to be in control. They don’t want the power stripped away because they are fearful of what would happen then.

The loyalists/unionists/whatever the correct definition is are fearful because they are seeing that things are slipping away from them, the balance of power which they enjoyed for decades is ebbing away. Suddenly decisions are being made that would never have happened in the good old days.

It’s all very Lord of the Rings with people looking to hold the one ring that would bind them all.

I want to be in control and cling to power as well of course.
Not being in a position of power means that you’re not in control and you have to trust God to be your refuge and strength.
That is a hard place to be in though because it makes you ask the question

‘Do I really believe this stuff or is it just fantasy?’

The answers might be scary because of the weakness of my faith. If something happened because of something would I trust God, would Jesus be enough?
I’m afraid to find that out sometimes so cling to my own sense of being in control, trust my own way of doing things.

I’m not sure about Christian display power, or what power means from a Christian point of view. There are a group of Christian planning to pray outside Belfast City Hall on Saturday morning. I should like this because we’re witnessing to a counter-cultural way of doing things and it seems like a really good Christian response to the darkness.
Yet I still feel a bit weird about it truth be told.
Is it like we’re going to try and prove that there are more of us Christians that those who would disrupt our peaceful society?
Are we trying to show how powerful we are compared to the darkness?

I’m not sure why this makes me feel uneasy. Praying is good,praying for peace in our land is good as well.
But what does praying for peace mean?
Will our land be peaceful if we pray that the loyalist rioters go back home and the dissidents disband?

That would be great but if that happened we still would be far from having a peaceful society.
What about the economic war for instance? How many lives are being wrecked and prevented from flourishing by the advertising on billboards beside the flags. We have divided society into labels like ‘shirkers’ vs workers’ or ‘skivver v striver’ and how much harm has that done? Does greed up the Malone Road offend God just as much as some teen with limited opportunities and throwing a brick. The message might be that the kid just needs to prove himself and pull his socks up, change his ways and start competing.

Not sure what is bothering me, it’s great people are praying for peace. But I guess that if we think that the only violence and trouble that is inflicting Northern Ireland are to do with Union flags or sectarianism then maybe the devil has pulled another trick out on us. Maybe that way middle class people look down their noses and sneer, or patronize is just as bad.

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3 thoughts on “bouncing some thoughts around about flags”

  1. It was a great excuse to pray for five minutes. To stand still for five minutes. To hold hands with two strange men (well, I knew one a little and he’s not strange). To be part of a long thin crowd with a shared task. To be slightly intimidating to early morning shoppers and ever so slightly disruptive to the lorrys that wanted to reverse into the Christmas Market (oops), but to disappear (some into the market to hit the coffee shop) before most of Belfast city centre was awake.

    And an excuse to be challenged by the number of folk standing waiting to pray with St Arbucks coffee cups in their hands … and to wonder if flags aren’t the only idol in our society.

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