I voted to remain.
I felt positive about the opportunities that the European Union seemed to offer Britain and I was unpersuaded of the negatives. Not for the first time in my voting life, I was on the minority side of things. That’s ok. I voted with my conscience. My vote still counted. I participated in the process.
Truth be told, I wasn’t strongly engaged with the debate. I was irritated that David Cameron had even asked us the question. I suspect he might be feeling that too today.
Positively, it seems like most of us felt motivated to get involved and cast a vote. One way or another over the past year or so, we’ve started talking more about politics, more than I remember previously. We – myself included - might not have figured out how to disagree well, especially in the echo chambers of social media, but it’s probably good that we’re talking.
I felt frustrated through the campaigns that the main arguments – in both directions – appealed to our selfishness and greed or to our fear and hate of others.
Despite our decision to exit the EU we’ll still have a relationship with our closest neighbours, and as we do with the rest of the world. We still need to ask ourselves questions about who we are as a nation and what we really value.
What are British values? As James K A Smith notes in his recent book You are what you love – we might find that what we think we want isn’t really what we want. Can we have a civil conversation about this? Who are we and who do we want to be and why?
Through bleary eyes I was momentarily surprised to see the results this morning. But from the point of view of the Christian faith it really isn’t the end of the world. Neither would it have been if things had gone the other way. It’ll bring some changes to how we do things, but Brexit can’t save the nation anymore than Remain could.
Followers of Jesus voted on both sides of this debate, just like our neighbours did.
Brexit can’t save the nation anymore than Remain could
Before the vote and after the vote, as someone once wisely put it 'God is still God and the gospel is still true.'
Whether economies rise or fall, whether freedom of movement rises of falls, God is still God, the gospel is still true. Being in or out isn’t ultimate. Leaving the EU may make it easier to follow Jesus and tell others, it may make it harder. Being granted freedoms can open doors and can breed complacency, being shut out can reduce opportunities and cause the church to thrive. Situations matter but they’re not ultimate.
My early morning thoughts, punctuated by the squabbles of my children, were the dawning sense that selfishness, greed and hate may have won the day. Did we collectively vote the way we did to advance ourselves and push away others. Are we just like my bickering boys? A perfect opportunity for me to look down my nose – as a southern-living graduate – at other people.
But, truth be told, the same twisted desires live in my heart too. Being in the EU or out of the EU isn’t going to change that.
The Good News
As Timothy Lane observes, the human heart is like a cup of coffee that is spilled all over the floor, knocked by the heat of the situation that bumps into it. But it’s not the situation that’s to blame for what comes out of me. The campaigns and the results simply serve to show what was always there. What comes from the heart is what is in the heart.
And so I’m reminded, that I am more sinful than I previously realised, and in more need of help than I’d like to admit. The result of this vote might just remind one or two of us of that and us back to Christ.
There is much sin in me, but there is far more love in Christ than there is ever sin in me. And through it all, somehow, 'God is still God and the gospel is still true.'
Dave Bish is part of the team at Grace Church Exeter and blogs at thebluefish.blogspot.co.uk