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graceGRACE UNDER PRESSURE
 
Dear Friends
As the crisis on our campuses with the Fees Must Fall protests continues to roll on and as we all, in our various ways, strive to engage with the issues and consequences it raises, we will all be feeling a growing sense of fatigue and desperation. In this state, it is easy to let our feelings spill out inappropriately in our dealings with one another. American author Frank Herbert once said, “Reason is the first victim of strong emotion." I think grace tends to be an even earlier victim.

One of the saddest consequences of what is happening within our university and college communities, and more widely, is the great damage it is doing to trust and ties of friendship between individuals. We may have strong opinions on these crucial matters of national importance, but, most often, people and relationships are more important than opinions. There are very few things as unfortunate as good people (even more so Christian brothers and sisters) who become irreconcilably estranged over some difference of opinion that gets all out of perspective.
As the community of Christ Church, we cover a broad spectrum of opinion on the student protests. In such circumstances it is easy for us to disagree in relationally destructive ways, to express our personal disappointment with one another, and to place overly-freighted expectations on each another. Because of this potential damage to the unity and love that Jesus so passionately prayed for us to have as his Church, I make a special appeal that we handle each other with extra grace (and I speak to myself as much as to anyone in this regard).

I appeal to us all to hold closely to the injunctions of St. Paul to the Colossians, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12-14, New Living Bible)

For myself, insofar as I might have interacted with anyone in a way that could breach friendship or cause disappointment, please accept my sincere apologies.
Rob

Rob Taylor, 18/11/2016

 
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