Rufus Hound tweeted a link to an article, in which Conservative politician, Michael Gove, spoke about his experience of being a Christian in a ‘secular’ Britain. Hound took issue, not with Gove’s bemoaning of his situation, but with the former Secretary of State for Education’s claim to being a follower of Jesus. According to Hound, Gove’s lifestyle does not match up to Christ’s, who “fed the hungry, cared for the broken and threw the bankers out.” And, while I know that only God can know the heart, I have to say, I’m inclined to see where Rufus is coming from.
But, if Gove doesn’t seem to be a true follower, then am I? I’m not always generous, or kind, or selfless, or righteous. I’m often quite ‘Govian’; greedy, ignorant, snobbish. I definitely don’t always “feed the hungry, care for the broken and throw out the bankers” as Jesus did.
I’ve been feeling challenged recently to examine truly why ever did I choose to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and even to identify as a Christian, when the connotations of these labels are so negative. More than, why did I choose, it’s why am I still choosing? Why- though my soul is well and truly saved by Jesus’s sacrifice- do I continue to strive to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly” with my God? (Micah 6:8)
Well, it’s partly because Jesus came so we could “have life, and have it to the full” in this world (John 10:10), but it’s also because Jesus was a “radical socialist”. He was absolutely passionate about the poor. (I’ll include a list below of some of the passages I have found incredibly inspiring on the subject of poverty.) The more I read about this ‘beardy bloke’, the more I realise that God really, really is not interested in the dishonest, wicked, selfish ways of the rich. Therefore, neither should we be. He sent His Son to “proclaim good news to the poor”, and therefore, so should we. (Luke 4:18) Rufus Hound’s tweets today are an echo of that ancient teaching. Jesus’ heart- and the heart of the Father and the Holy Spirit- is completely concerned with the broken and the vulnerable. As Christians, followers of Jesus, we should be people “after God’s own heart”. (Acts 13:22) We should want justice, forgiveness, empowerment, righteousness, equality, because Jesus wanted it first.
This blog post has served mostly as a reminder and a challenge to myself, but I hope it might help someone else too. I’m aware I haven’t addressed Michael Gove’s original article, and I would like to discuss the perception of Christianity in the UK sometime soon. Any thoughts on this issue, I’d love to hear them!
What did Jesus say about poverty?
Rufus Hound’s Twitter page
The Telegraph Article on Michael Gove and Christianity