“I am actually good, can’t help it if we’re tilted” ~ Christine & The Queens: Titled
In case you missed it, its been quite a big week in the news for us here in the UK. The country have just voted to leave the European Union, England have been booted out (nice use of a football pun there, kudos Annie) of the Euros and I was mentioned by Annie Mac on the radio this evening. It’s all been very exciting.
And actually, its been quite crap.
This post, before I go any further, is not intentionally political or unpleasant to anybody in particular. I’m not really down with all of this slating each other and getting so furious with those who disagree with you. The recent referendum was a really big deal, and I’m in no way underplaying that. I just don’t fancy starting another heated discussion – I’ll leave that to Facebook and Twitter for now, thanks.
What I am addressing here, though, is a deep sense of regret and, quite frankly, pure confusion. I haven’t ever lived through a time when the European Union wasn’t a part of my life. If I’m honest, I only really became aware of it properly when I went on a trip to Belgium with my college and we had to apply for European Health Insurance Cards. I remember thinking how cool it was that if I had an Annie moment and ended up having some sort of accident I’d get to pop into a Belgian hospital and see what it was like. Alas, I didn’t need the hospital in the end, but that’s beside the point.
From what I can work out, we’ve now left the European Union and no one really knows what to do. I’m hoping that this is the biggest political shake up that I’ll have to face for some time, because it’s actually really stressful not knowing what on earth is going on. There isn’t a plan in place for our next steps as a country, yet we’re about to inherit a Prime Minister that no one asked for apart from those at the top, and below the lofty heights of Parliament are us regular people becoming more and more segregated depending on which word we chose: Leave, or Remain.
If I’m honest, for me, it’s not even about what word you plastered all over your car, or your windows; whether you put a flag up in your front garden or wore a badge – it doesn’t bother me (I mean it does, let’s be honest, but we kind of have to get on with it now, don’t we. EURGH). What hurts most about the referendum is the suffering left in its wake: namely the reboot of racism, and the massive step back that our society has taken because of it.
I was on the train the other day going to a meeting for work. I work in London, and its pretty well known that London is fairly multicultural place and people from all types of backgrounds, cultures and racial groups live and coexist there together. The further my train got to central London, the more and more people got on – people from these different backgrounds, cultures and racial groups. Part of me wanted to stand up and say “I voted Remain, I still want you here!”, but then I realised that, in my ignorance, I’d missed the fact that not every Leave voter was a massive racist, and for that I am sorry that I branded some of you that way without really thinking about it.
But anyway, the point remains (no pun intended): racism is just wrong. Some of the people I work with as part of my job in London are from very different backgrounds to me. Some of the people that I mix with each day are from European families, some are from African families, some Asian or Bangladeshi. It doesn’t matter to me where they come from, as thankfully I was brought up by parents who weren’t phased by the skin colour or languages of others. People are people, aren’t they?
Well the people I work with are just that – real people. They have thoughts, feelings, wants, dreams and aspirations. They have a pair of lungs, like me, and a brain, a pumping heart – just like me. Just like the white and apparently untannable English girl that I am. Skin colour should not make a difference, and any argument or trail of thought that promotes racist attitudes cannot be right or justified to me. In fact, IMHO, I can’t even justify that before God.
Genesis 1:27 says this:
“So God created mankind in his own image; in his own image he created them, male and female he created them”
All you Christians out there, remember this please. I don’t want to be telling you what to do or how to live your life. But the Church has a crazy big opportunity here to do something seriously amazing in the light of all of this confusion and hurt. We can love. I’m not saying that if you aren’t a Christian then you can’t love, of course I’m not saying that. But as the Church, we believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection meant that all people, regardless of race, gender, etc, can come before God the Father and be called his child. When did a referendum make a difference to that? When did a referendum mean that the Word and Instruction of God could be overridden and ignored for the sake of politics?
The Good Samaritan comes to mind as I type all of this out. I don’t want any of us to suddenly view any immigrant in the UK as someone to be taken pity on, because I don’t think that’s what the story is about. It’s about the unexpected person showing love to someone equally as unexpected. All of us at some point could be perceived as a Little Englander, so lets try and remember that.
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbour to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religious scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
~ Luke 10:36-37
I don’t care whether you voted Leave or Remain (again, I do care a bit, but you know what I mean). What I do care about is what you’re going to do now you’ve cast your vote. Are you going to move aside your political differences with those in your communities, your churches, your workplaces, and come together to love those who’ve been made to feel unwelcome here? I’m not sure how we’ll go forward as a country without that love, as dramatic as that sounds. But I’d rather sound corny that feel like we’re regressing back into a scene that looks like something out of This Is England. Would you?
The woman at the top of this post with a total on-point look is Héloïse Letissier, who goes by Christine and the Queens in the charts. She’s French, as it goes, and she recently released a song called Titled. My favourite line of it is this: “I’m actually good, I can’t help it if we’re tilted”. Without being controversial, and just to reiterate, it’s not about you voting Leave or Remain, how amazing would it be if we could sing a similar sentiment as we go into our day tomorrow, or next week, or next month? We can’t help the somewhat tilted situation we’re in. We’ve made our decision, and now we need to get on with it. But what we can do is choose to be good – choose to love, not to hate, and dance through what might be a pretty turbulent time.
I know that the God who made us all differently, yet still in his image, is bigger than all of this stuff. My prayer is that there is a quick resolution and that in the mean time I can be proactive in love. Will you join me?
Peace and blessings x
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