David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and ex‐government minister, told Christians it was ‘time to turn up the volume’ and talk about the need to transform society.
Speaking in Canterbury Cathedral (Friday 31 May) at the ‘The Gathering’, Canterbury Diocese’s two day festival of faith, Mr Lammy, a practicing Christian, said it was time for Christians to stop talking about women and gay people, get out of their buildings and into their communities. People of faith, he said, also needed to challenge politicians, business and community leaders about the direction society is heading.
Drawing on his experience growing up in Tottenham, Mr Lammy described the liberal and economic revolutions of the late twentieth century – which had led to society becoming more aware of its rights than responsibilities and where people are encouraged to make as much money as possible without caring about the consequences.
“Society has become ‘hyper‐individualised’, where we are aware of our rights but we struggle to come back together”, he said in his keynote speech.
Describing radicalised British citizens who have become jihadists, white young men in tower blocks and second and third generation immigrants living in places such as Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham where he grew up, Mr Lammy said: “When dignity and character depart then working class estates become estates for the ‘work‐less class’”. Into this vacuum, he said, people can become radicalised, disenfranchised and dis‐engaged.
“The church needs to be in a place where we can speak the truth about where our society is. Discourse on the positions of women or gay people needs to be turned down. It is time for the church to turn up the volume on more substantive issues.”
He continued: “It seems to me we have become a society where we require people in this ultra‐ liberalised world to exercise more self‐discipline than in any previous generations.” He continued: “In a society where consumerism is seemingly valued over everything else, the church needs to challenge the political classes and to be brave and honest about what we are confronting.”
Arguing that Christians needed to take action he said: “People of faith have the compass to navigate our way to a better society. We need to speak when we feel the burden on society is too great and when society needs reining back.”
Mr Lammy concluded: “Armed with the glorious story of Jesus Christ, this is our moment and time. We must set to work.”
‘The Gathering’ continues on Saturday 1 June, with speakers including Melvyn Bragg who will be giving a keynote address on ‘William Tyndale – the begetter of the King James Bible’ and ex Bolton Wanderers footballer, Fabrice Muamba, who will be speaking about his on‐pitch collapse last year and how prayer and faith aided his recovery.‐Ends‐
Photo Shows David Lammy MP speaking in Canterbury Cathedral at ‘The Gathering’
For further Information: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese – 07876
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More information about The Gathering ‐ http://www.the‐gathering.co.uk/