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CHRISTIAN VIEWPOINT: How well are we working together to make our community a better place?

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Laura Young.
Laura Young.

Laura Young heard about global warming at school, at university, on the news and among her friends. But not at her Glasgow church.

Laura is now a PhD researcher at Abertay University, and a high-profile activist. This month, she won the Scottish Influencer of the Year award for 2024.

She’s one of 25 people from across the UK to contribute to an important new book – Jesus and Justice: Stories of Radical Christian Living.

It’s published by Red Letter Christians, a network of people moved by Jesus’s life and words ‘to respond to poverty, injustice and exclusion with compassion and action’. One contributor describes feeling God’s ‘heart ache for the broken and oppressed’.

The 25 are inspired by the Bible’s vision of a community where justice is done and inequalities addressed, where outcast and marginalised people are welcomed, where the peace of God, described in that lovely Hebrew word ‘Shalom’ draws all things together, where all is well.

The contributors differ in some of their theological views, but are united by a sense of the reality of Jesus. They describe projects they are involved in, in partnership with churches, local agencies, councils and government.

Some Christians feel the church’s mission is simply to preach a message of spiritual good news. But we are surely called to share ‘the magnetic love of Jesus’ in actions as well as in words. And in so doing, as these writers show, we will be humbled as we realise that in giving to others we are learning from them, receiving from them.

The book recognises the deep, deep damage caused by traumatic life events and dysfunctional relationships. We are called to journey patiently with those who have suffered. A prison chaplain describes how lives are changed, hope birthed as people begin ‘to grasp their infinite value and the forgiveness available to them in Christ Jesus’. She adds ‘I find myself watching, in awe of the way Jesus will gently show himself’.

Jesus and Justice.
Jesus and Justice.

Laura Young tackled her minister over their church’s silence on climate issues and the resulting global inequalities. Together, they took a ‘journey through scripture’, reading the Bible ‘through the lens of climate justice’. Now that church is wholly committed to caring for the world as part of its teaching about ‘the fulness of the gospel’.

Jesus and Justice emphasises the importance of reading the Bible ‘through the lens’ (as Laura puts it), or from the perspective, of marginalised people’s experience, and being open to God-whispered calls to action.

How are we doing in Inverness and the Highlands? How well are we as Christians working together with other agencies to make our community a better place in which you sense something of God’s wonderful Shalom.

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