Our Readers' Opinions
December 4, 2015
10 things to consider as a Christian

The Methodist Church understands that it was raised up by God to spread scriptural holiness and to reform the nation. This self-understanding comes with various expectations of the people called Methodists, with respect to living and modelling a quality of life which embodies the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is deliberately concerned about shaping a better society.{{more}} The current theme of the South Caribbean District adopted for the Methodist Church in St Vincent is: Renewed in Christ, Committed to a new St Vincent. It is with this in mind that we provide the following counsel to the Methodist community and offer it to Christians and Vincentians as a whole.

1. The worship of God only. Do not make the mistake of being so immersed in the political activities that it conflicts with your obligations to God and adversely impacts your spiritual life and HIS Church. The Christian’s primary allegiance is to Christ and as such, every choice made and action taken should be consciously undertaken with a deliberate determination to honour Christ.

2. The Christian is a witness for Christ. Christians must be concerned about the manner in which they behave, since their life and example will lead others to or away from Christ. The manner in which a Christian behaves before and after elections must not bring the Gospel or Christ’s Church into disrepute.

3. Governance is a God-ordained principle. Politics in the purest sense is about governance. Christians must be concerned about governance issues and must also contribute towards creating a culture of good governance. Good governance ultimately embraces and reflects godly principles, which include integrity, transparency and accountability.

4. Robust discourse, healthy disagreement and genuine love. The Christian’s engagement and participation in the election campaign or debates must always display genuine love for neighbour and therefore sincere care and concern for the rights and well-being of ALL citizens. The canvassing of political views at worship and at church meetings should be avoided and discouraged.

5. The need for patience and respect. The nature of politics is that many will develop views and opinions based on the information they receive or the allegiances they hold. Different information will lead to different conclusions. The next person may not know what you know, the way you know it, or the way you came to know it. Either way, we each have a right to a different opinion, even with the same information. Disagreement can be healthy and constructive.

6. Leave a noble legacy. While our political decisions will naturally impact generations to come, perhaps a most significant legacy we will leave is the manner in which we conduct ourselves. The attitudes and behaviours, the approaches and methodologies employed will invariably be borrowed or adapted by upcoming generations. Let us so conduct ourselves that we develop a noble tradition for future generations. After the elections, whatever the results, we must continue to live together, to pray, sing, worship and witness together. We cannot afford a legacy of violence, bitterness and hate.

7. Avoid participating in any dishonest or corrupt activities. Do not encourage acts of violence nor justify any such behaviour, regardless of the circumstances or the parties involved. Avoid participating in or encouraging gossip and the spread of defamatory information. Be willing to interrogate your sources to ensure information is accurate and verifiable. Class leaders have a responsibility to encourage their members to conduct themselves, even under provocation, with the dignity and decorum that become the people called Methodists.

8. Preserve the peace. The leadership of the Church has a special responsibility to preserve the peace of the congregation and to ensure that the divisive potential of party political rivalries does not invade the sanctuary and as far as possible the community.

9. Safeguard the pulpit. Without compromising the Gospel, ministers and preachers must ensure that they do not use the pulpit to degrade the office or disrupt the peace of the congregation by ill-advised, politically biased remarks or prayers. It is not appropriate that anyone, not accredited, be permitted to address a congregation for political advantage or that the chapel or its premises be used for public political meetings.

10. Accountability. As a Methodist community, we must hold each other accountable, especially our leaders. Let us conduct ourselves in such a manner that it will do the Lord proud, be a credit to the people called Methodists and enrich our witness as Christians.