Stand up for the things that matter

I've just read an article by Menna Machreth, the chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, which I hope she won't mind me publicizing. It's on the Lausanne Global Conversation website, and can be read by clicking the link below:

     Why I’m so passionate as an evangelical Christian about my Welsh identity

It's addressed to Christians across the world; many of whom will not know much about Wales, and probably know even less about our culture and language, and the threats it has faced and still faces.

But of perhaps greater interest to us who do know about Cymdeithas is her explanation of how protest and non-violent direct action dovetail with her faith. For me, these two paragraphs stood out:

Non-violent direct action means acting in a way which respects life without hurting or abusing anybody. This means accepting full responsibility for all actions and being ready to face the consequences and punishment. Within the Welsh Language Society, the ideal is no fist violence, no verbal violence, and no heart violence. It is emphasized to all members that we should not act out of reactionary feelings and should avoid contempt towards individuals within the authorities. Instead, the non-violent principle urges members to act out of a desire for change, a desire for justice in a reasoned and calculated manner. As Christians within the movement, we must act out of love at all times and must remember to love all the people we’re involved with. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ clears the temple but there is no suggestion of violence against people but towards the tables and throwing the animals out as a symbolic act. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ is the foundations of non-violent direct action for me; loving your enemies combined with a stance over truth and what is right.

Government and institutions are violent through their law and policies towards the Welsh, their language and identity. Using violence against this injustice will not solve anything. But we can choose not to conform to violence. I consider apathy towards injustice as co-operation with that injustice. In that sense, we are all guilty for our lack of action whether it is towards identity, world poverty or damaging the environment for example.

I want to say that I fully agree with her. And although I didn't do it in the specific context of faith, I outlined very similar principles on direct action in this post last year. I would urge people to think hard about it.

As far as the language is concerned, there is every indication that the government in Westminster will impose its agenda on Wales with little realization about the consequences of its actions. We will need to protest, and we might need to go further. Alongside that—and done for the same reasons and with the same lack of realization about the consequences of its actions—we will see economic and social injustice leading to resentment and anger on a scale that we haven't seen for decades.

Faced with this it is easy for us to get angry, but not nearly so easy to direct a justified sense of anger in a direction that will make a difference. This is a time for people of principle to think hard about how we stand up for the things that matter.

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Anonymous said...

a fascinating piece from Menna Machreth - many of us have always known of course that Wales is God's own country!

Leigh Richards

Unknown said...

If Wales is indeed God's own country, why has HE forsaken us?

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