Fascinating the reaction stirred by Tony Blair’s ‘admission’ that he prayed about the decision to send troops into Iraq. ‘Bizarre’ and ‘disgusted’ were among the comments. But the Prime Minister was simply placing himself in the honourable tradition of informed Christian conscience in the sight of God and acknowledging his authority as ultimately derived from God. His critics obviously believe that to ‘take it to the Lord in prayer’ is to embrace irrationality and abdicate sense and responsibility. Surely not. It’s tempting to say simply that, ‘God gave him the wrong answer.’ But that, it seems to me, just dishonours what he also said about how difficult the decision was and how aware he was of the potential cost in lives. Yet, looking back to the time, my own feeling is that decision-making approached in this God-breathed way might have been approached with more obvious humility .. might have recognised that the possibility God’s voice might also be heard in the voices of dissent .. might have been more ready to acknowledge the mistakes made over intelligence and the reasons for going to war and to say sorry. But which of us would have wanted to make the decision?
I don’t think that God is like Google or Ask Jeeves – shooting out an answer when we ask the question. I assume that, when a particularly difficult decision has to be taken, we turn up in God’s presence in ‘listening mode’. And the answer may be mediated in all sorts of ways – directly through prayer or through the wisdom of others or …. To receive a straighforward answer just like that in an envelope would ultimately diminish our free will.
Greetings from Sunny Spain
I maybe a newly qualified Lay Reader, but my simple understanding is that God does not necessarily give us right or wrong answers but gives us guidance and it is then up to us to interpret and try to understand what God is saying.
Greetings from Inverness in the cold,icy Highlands !!
Good idea to have this weblog – hope you dont mind if I comment.
I think this is a fascinating development following the “we don’t do God” approach – politics must be a very difficult place to be for the committed Christian and it is only now that Tony Bailr can express his faith. I’ve only seen a couple of clips of his interview, initially I was judgemental and thought he could be less faltering in his witness but then looked ashamedly at myself and wondered how I would cope in front of millions of people !! It will be interesting to see full interview.
Yours in Christ, Stephen
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