This is Mutley Baptist Church’s third newly-adopted value. The text explaining what we mean by ‘Ethically motivated’ says:
“Like Jesus: unashamedly and relevantly speaking God’s truth, striving for justice, caring for the environment and actively challenging the abuse of power, wealth, status and privilege.”
Ethics ith not the county to the Eatht of London, where I lived before being called to serve my brilliant church in the only county that rhymes with ‘heaven’.
I would define ‘Ethics’ as the internal mechanism we use to evaluate whether what we are doing is right. I rather like Colin Brown’s succinct summary of Biblical Ethics in his book, “Living in love and justice” (sadly not in print). As followers of Jesus we try to do what is loving and what is just. If there are possibly different loving and just options, err on the side of love, which is God’s nature.
We recognise that our faith in Jesus needs to show in the way that we engage with the wider world. How we act makes a difference to others and they should see a Jesus-like ethical approach to how we are as well as who we are.
The prophets in the Old Testament had no qualms about speaking God’s truth to power. Jesus was outspoken on many occasions, but especially when he was challenging the corrupt ethics of those in charge.
Caring for the environment is a justice issue (the poorest are hit hardest by climate change), as well as fulfilling the very first commandment in the Bible – to take care of the planet. It is right because it is loving, it is right because it is just.
What might all this look like? Well, I would expect that we will be engaging with our national and local political representatives as churches and individuals on matters of justice – economic, political, environmental, social, gender and many other areas in which it is absent or diminished in our society. This week I have written to the MP for our church location about the impact of fuel price rises and local councillors about the impact of suggested changes to local parking.
I hope that it will show in how we trade – always seeking a Fairtrade option if there is one, ensuring that we minimise waste – especially non-recycylable – and looking to use local businesses if we can to reduce the carbon footprint of what we use. We will always seek to treat businesses fairly.
We are looking to achieve an Eco Church Bronze award in the near future, but then looking at what we can do to achieve further awards in the future – not because we like awards, but because they are tangible ways of us measuring how we are taking care of God’s astonishing and marvellous created world. Eco Church awards not only focus on our collective carbon footprint as an organisation and premises, but also each person who is a part of us.
Perhaps we will take part in campaigns on justice and ethical issues at local, national and international level.
We’re going to be exploring this value further on Sunday morning, which is our harvest celebration as a church. More may come out of my preparation for that…
Be blessed, be a blessing