Time to Stop Dreaming?

Ooops... This is actually last week's Thought for the Day on Radio Ulster. I only discovered that I hadn't pressed the "Publish" button when I went in to upload this week's offering... I suspect that the few readers that this blog has will not have been waiting with bated breath for it, but I thought I would still publish it for the sake of completeness... If you are interested in hearing my dulcet tones, the broadcast versions are still available at the time of publication here at 25 and 86 minutes in. The news cycle has moved on, but the issues I touch on are sadly timeless... 
I will publish today's "thought" tomorrow... If I remember...

I don’t often pay much attention to speeches at Annual political and union conferences… They are usually, to use an ecclesiastical metaphor, an exercise in preaching to the choir… nor, if truth be told do I often pay much attention to the public pronouncements of Bishops or Archbishops, with the possible exception of Bishop Michael Curry’s Royal wedding sermon earlier in the year which captured the public imagination because of his enthusiastic delivery if not its content. This week, however I found myself in the unusual position of reading in full the speech of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the TUC Annual Conference… It wouldn’t seem a natural environment for an Anglican prelate… But his speech this week included a section which had echoes of Martin Luther King’s “I had a dream speech”, although delivered in the somewhat more reserved fashion usually expected of Anglicans on this side of the Atlantic, and dealing with economic issues rather than race… He said “I dream that governments, now and in the future, put church-run food banks out of business. I dream of empty night shelters. I dream of debt advice charities without clients. When justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, the food banks close, the night shelters are empty, families and households are hopeful of better lives for themselves and their children, money is not a tyrant, and justice is seen.” Amen said I… Some have accused him and the Church of hypocrisy because of other aspects of the speech... while others have suggested he shouldn't stray away from religion and into politics, to which he responded saying his remarks were “political but not party political”
The whole speech, however, was Biblically-based. In the bit I quoted, like King before him, Welby was drawing on one of the prophets… Isaiah in King’s case, Amos here…
But language of both speeches set me thinking about the things I dream of… Maybe it did for you too… I dream of a world where all governments invest more into health care and education than into military spending… Of a world where its resources are shared more fairly and not used up so swiftly… Of a world where the leaders of nations and communities articulate a vision of the common good rather than us-uns and them-uns… Of a world where the vulnerable were protected, the marginalised included and the voiceless are empowered. Of a world where bullying, selfishness and wilful ignorance was unacceptable…
But, of course those are only dreams… It’s now time to wake up and go to work in the real world… Although perhaps its time we woke up and got to work to make such dreams a reality… More than mere words or a wee thought for the day…
Shalom

ps. Not really interested in getting into a debate about the "hypocrisy" issue on this occasion... that, seems to me to be a question of tactics rather than ethics on the issue of corporate tax, but we can deal with that another day... 

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