Welcome to CSM Renewal 2007

Welcome to CSM Renewal 2007. This blog is for members of the Christian Socialist Movement who are interested in renewing and changing CSM. In Proverbs it says: "Where there is no vision the people perish" (Prov 29:18). We fear that CSM is perishing from lack of vision, and we need to renew CSM: - Prayerfully restore CSM’s values and objects to the heart of everything it does; - Actively be the prophetic conscience of the Labour Party and a prophetic voice to the churches; - Boldly take a stand against the religious right and campaign to make poverty, social justice and the environment mainstream Christian issues; - Sustainably ensure CSM’s financial security without accepting sponsorship from organisations that compromise our values; - Immediately make CSM fit for purpose and the organisation more democratic, accountable and Christian. Find out more about our new vision for CSM below, and if you like it sign up to CSM Renewal 2007.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Seek First the Kingdom of God

When we think about Christian life in the world - and as members of CSM we're all in that business! - there are two possible approaches. Some theologians have called them "top-down" and "bottom-up".

In the "bottom-up" approach we immerse ourselves totally in the situation that we are in and we ask questions about God from there. How might God be working in this situation? What does this situation reveal about God? How does God want me to act in these circumstances? In the "top-down" approach we begin with God and work down to the everyday life of the world. Who is God? What kind of Kingdom has God revealed in Jesus Christ? How can I begin to be someone who works for that in the world?

There are problems on both sides. The "bottom-up" thinkers are inclined to be too pragmatic and accommodate their faith to circumstances. In attempting to see God in the situations they face, they may actually reduce the holiness and glory of God to something rather more bland and even functional. But the "top-down" thinkers are always in danger of keeping their "heads in the clouds" and having a pure, idealist kind of Christianity that doesn't actually make much sense in the everyday life of most people. Remember the medieval scholastics who argued about how many angels could fit on a pinhead?

So the reality is we have to be doing both at once - constantly looking for the work and guidance of the Spirit in the situations we face, but also constantly going back to the scriptures, the tradition and the life of prayer to ask God to reveal the Kingdom to us. One of the motivators behind the CSM renewal and change initiative has been a feeling that perhaps CSM has focused a little too much on the "bottom-up" approach for some time. So we want CSM to start praying again, to return to the scriptures, and to understand that praising God is at the heart of Christian life, including the lives of Christians in politics.

Please be a part of that, and pray for God's blessing on the Movement.

James Walters
CSM Executive and Westcott House, Cambridge.

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