Prime Minister David Cameron got himself into trouble this week. In Darwen, of all places. He was taking part in a question-and-answer session.
"What would your response to Jesus be on His instruction to us to sell
all our possessions and give the proceeds to the poor?" he was asked. (We are not all instructed to sell all our possessions and give to the poor, which rather spoils the question. That was for the rich young ruler, for whom his possessions came first.)
Said the Prime Minister: "I'm a Christian and I'm an active member of the Church of
England" - he once likened his faith to the patchy reception of Magic
FM in the Chilterns - "and like all Christians I think I sometimes
struggle with some of
the sayings and some of the instructions.
"But what I think is so good about Jesus’ teachings is there are lots of
things that He said that you can still apply very directly to daily life and
to bringing up your children. Simple things like do to others as you would be done by, love your
neighbour as yourself, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount.
"To me they’re still pretty fresh and good instructions so I find those
a set of instructions that I can grapple with. But the particular one that
you mention, I find that a little
bit more difficult.
"I've always felt the strength of the Christian faith
is the basic core of moral guidance," he said. "You can find moral
guidance from other sources but it's not a bad handbook."
He tries, he says, not to "pick and mix" the lessons he takes from the Bible. Ah, there's the rub. What if you vigorously propose something which is completely opposed to Bible teaching? Like same-sex marriage, perhaps. What then?
The idea of marriage is to bring a man and a woman together in faithfulness to each other to form a lifelong unit in which to bring up children. A sort of kingdom of God in miniature. But have you noticed the things that are being suggested since government dared to redefine marriage?
If you can have a couple, how about a "throuple"? A throuple is like a couple, but with three people. “As far
back as I can remember," said one woman, "I felt that loving one person romantically did
not preclude the possibility of loving another at the same time. It
seemed natural and intuitive to me.”
Or how about "monogamish" marriage? A monogamish marriage is one where the partners
would allow sexual infidelity provided there were honest admissions of
it. A more flexible attitude within marriage might be just what was needed, said one of its proponents.
After all, sexual exclusivity “gives people
unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partners.”
Or instead of wedlock, how about "wedlease"? Wedlease is where a couple commit themselves to each other for a year, or two years, or three years. When the wedding contract runs out, it could be renewed. Or not. That would save messing with divorce: ending the marriage would be as simple as leaving a rented property.
And how many broken relationships would there be? And broken homes? And broken children?
Jesus was once asked about divorce. He took his questioners right back to Creation. "Have you not read," He said, "that he who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matt 19:4 - 6).
Being a Christian when it's convenient, Mr Cameron, isn't quite good enough.