Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
As Lenin once noted, ‘There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.’
The last few weeks have felt historic. The sense that something is shifting in our country was turbo-charged last week when the new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, unveiled a ‘mini-budget’ which has few comparisons in the last half-century.
Its contents were ground-breaking in three ways. Firstly, Mr Kwarteng unambiguously made ‘economic growth’ the Government’s top priority, ramping up public borrowing and casting aside ‘Treasury orthodoxy’ about balancing the books any time soon. Secondly, he announced the biggest package of tax cuts for 50 years as his main tool for ‘growing the pie’. Thirdly, the tax cuts were designed to disproportionately benefit those on high incomes, especially those earning over £155,000.
The stakes are high, with inflation already at a 40-year high, the pound falling sharply in international markets, most real wages falling, and absolute poverty rising. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies said, ‘Mr Kwarteng is not just gambling on a new strategy, he is betting the house.’
What are Christians to make of this?
Budgets are political choices and Christians, inevitably, have different opinions about these. But underlying the politics are moral choices – and a biblical perspective provides a clear sense of direction.
It may surprise some to find that the Bible is rather positive about enterprise, risk-taking, and wealth creation; the marketplace is a gift from God. It is, however, a gift to be used wisely.
The Bible is clear that markets have limits, and that land, people, and money are too important to be traded freely as though they were just commodities. Markets operate within a broader social reality: our relationships with each other are covenantal, not just contractual; in God’s view, we have mutual obligations.
The UK remains one of the richest countries in the world, but also one of the most unequal. The number of people struggling to feed and heat themselves is rising. Winter is coming. Is prioritising tax cuts for the wealthy the best we can do? Is unfettered economic growth really our defining national destiny?
As Christians we are called to pray and work for the good of our nation. If anything here has caught your attention, then maybe God is prompting you to get more involved. Is it time to join a political party? Or support a campaign? Or get better informed?
Decisions are made by those who show up.
Director of the Jubilee Centre