Christian Life 

A nation and nations divided

What future Scotland?
 
If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.

And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

'This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.' But they will reply, 'It's no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.' "
  (Jeremiah18:7-11)


 

YesNosmallI was born in Scotland and have lived in the Scottish Highlands for all of my life. I regard patriotism and nationalism as two quite different concepts. The first is infused with affection, the second is often saturated in blood.
 
A call from out of the blue

Around a decade ago my telephone rang one afternoon. On the other end of the line was a lady whom I did not know; neither did she know me. We had never met, we have never met since and she and we have never been in touch again.
 
She explained her background and the reason for her call. She was Irish, but now living in London;  of a religious background (in her case, Roman Catholic) but now thoroughly born again of the Spirit of God. Although living in England the Lord had given her a heart to pray for Scotland. So, as she further explained, she had to ask a Scot. Her question to me was as succinct as it was profound: “What do I pray for Scotland?”
 
What do I prayWhat indeed should she pray for Scotland? But her earnest request, arriving out of a clear blue sky, required a considered response. How was I to answer? What would sum up my feelings on that immense subject?  It took me some time. When I was ready to offer my response I could barely speak the words. They stuck in my throat: they brought tears to my eyes and anguish to my soul.
 
I struggled to articulate my reply, but eventually it came out. “Scotland needs to be broken.”
 
A Toast becomes a Boast

In the context of the looming referendum I told this story to a Scottish friend the other day. “What did you mean?” he asked. And I found myself needing to give two answers. The first of these was in relation to the phone call. I quoted an old Scottish drinking toast:
 

Here's tae us; wha's like us?
damn few, and they're a' deid.”


Translated this becomes:
 
“Here’s a toast to us; who can compare with us? Very few, and they are all dead.”
 
The lines convey a proud and arrogant nationalistic spirit. And it is this spirit which has been evident in much of what has appeared on our television screens, in the newspapers and in radio interviews. It is a boastful, self-righteous and self-sufficient spirit expressed in bellicose and anti-UK rhetoric. But it is more than that. And this takes me to the second part of the answer.
 
Deserving to be broken

When I suggested these years ago that Scotland needed to be broken, it was with tears and related to that jingoistic pride rather than anything to do with politics and national boundaries.
But things have changed over the period, and not for the better. And here I now come to the second part of my explanation.
 
Though grieving over the state of Scotland, the nation does indeed need to be ‘broken’ because of the increasing godlessness which has flooded into the land in recent years.

A general godlessness has entered the political arena; and not just the political domain. Militant atheism is now evident in much of the legislation and public discourse of our times. And it was with a proud flourish that the present Scottish government very recently claimed a ‘UK first’ in the introduction of same-sex marriage.
 
The shameless disregard for a referendum on that issue has since been mirrored in the high-handed and undemocratic decision to routinely arm police officers on our streets.
 
God-defying policies

Meanwhile a Scottish political party has just taken on the campaigning mantle for assisted suicide.  (So human life could shortly be at  threat at both ends of the age spectrum.)
Sunday, the traditional day of worship (or at least family, leisure and recreational pursuits) is now a replica of Saturday and – for many employees – can be just another working day.

Schools are ‘educating’ children to believe that homosexuality is just another life-style  while any suggestion that the world was created rather than emerged from some primordial soup is ridiculed and outlawed by a militant neo-atheism.

Currently the Scottish government is introducing legislation which could deprive every Scottish parent of the freedom to choose what is best for their children.
The recent case of the Ashya King and his parents fight for the child’s welfare is a tragic and potent example of authorities in a totally uncaring fashion by ruthlessly over-riding parental decisions.
 
Scotland was once known as ‘the land of The Book (the Bible)’, but now in 2014 and in terms of the Judeo-Christian standards on which the nation was built, it is now utterly lawless.
 
"The question for Scotland is how far the nation will have to fall?"

But what will it take to change that? There is certainly no political will evident in the rhetoric pervading the referendum debate to revert to traditional norms of belief, behaviour and legislation. So what could take Scotland back to its Christian roots? It’s an old-fashioned concept but vital for today. Scotland needs to be broken and brought to a point of repentance: a repentance of heart-broken grief and a turning back to God.
 
The question for Scotland is how far the nation will have to fall before it reaches that point.
 
The nature of the spirit

Amidst all the deliberation, speculation and controversy regarding the Scottish referendum on independence the spiritual dynamic is being ignored
 
In all the uncertainty pervading the prognostications and public debate surrounding the Yes/No campaigns, four things have been abundantly clear.
  1. The spirit behind the drive for independence has, in many cases, been a proud, nasty, vicious and bullying one. (Alisdair Darling, a former UK cabinet minister has stated: “I have been involved in political campaigning for about 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before.” A former chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise said: “These intimidating acts, some of which are apparently criminal, are stifling free speech and undermining our democracy".
 
  1. The referendum has created huge division in the nation; and it will continue to create huge division for the foreseeable future and beyond. Scotland has become torn and polarised. And the public debate has generated and become infused with an anti-English sentiment which, if indeed it existed before, was minimal, discouraged and dormant.
 
  1.  No one really knows what the socio-political and economic impact will be if Scotland separates itself from the UK. Turmoil in every sphere of life while, in the event of a secession from the UK, the problems and the costs (not to mention those of capital flight) of restructuring will be enormous.
 
  1. The relationships  between Scotland and England, at every level and in every form have been very significantly soured and will likely remain so whatever the outcome.
Over and above all that, there is the question about where all this will end?

There is no logical end to the process of regional fracturing and if Scotland hives off from the UK who knows what the repercussions will be in the constituent parts of Scotland and in other parts of the UK.
UKdividedsmall


Meanwhile, and irrespective of the outcome in a post-referendum Scotland could we see the internal tensions in the SNP over all the other issues of the day start to break out?
 
But for Scotland the real irony in all of this is that independence could lead to the type of collapse which will break Scotland  which is exactly what Scotland needs. And yet another irony: if, no matter the outcome, a thriving and prosperous future develops, it could drive the nation further and further into godlessness and therefore become more deserving of the judgment which we are now due.
 
I grieve over the state of my nation, but pray to the God of the nations.
 
"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill.

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
(Acts 17:26-31)

Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
  (Psalm 2:10-12)
 
 
Postscript:
When Solomon prayed his prayer of dedication on behalf of himself and the nation, he adopted a recurring theme in his approach to God: "if we will.... will you....?" 
In response the Lord assured the King that He would respond positively to the latter's requests. But then God added something that King Solomon hadn’t asked for. The Almighty, in His love and mercy continued: “....and [I] will heal their land” (2 Chron. chs. 6&7).

See also: The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum
 
Addendum: Referendum Result (19/09/14)

The referendum produced an overall 'No' vote (for independence) and as a result, Scotland remains as part of the UK. The "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for "Yes". The 85.6% turnout was the highest in decades.

Referendum map
The chart below shows that the areas of Scotland (Northern Isles) and the Borders (represented by the first four rows) had the highest proportion of 'No' votes (shown in red below).
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest city and Edinburgh - the second largest, the capital and the seat of the Scottish Parliament had opposite outcomes. Both of these cities are located in the most populous 'Central Belt' of Scotland. Glasgow produced a 53.49% 'Yes' while the Edinburgh result was a 61% 'No'.

Poll

The Editor, 15/09/2014

Feedback:
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Rabby (Guest) 26/09/2014 21:43
Och aye! Yae an may God bless yae!
I believea this wee nation will become more nationalistic as a result of the big 'stitch up".
JQ (Guest) 29/09/2014 00:01
Referendum -Truth brings freedom not separation

The note below is a reflection that I had been circulating prior to the recent referendum but would still like to now share with you.

If one word was chosen to describe the purpose of the Referendum then perhaps that word would be freedom. However, it should be understood that it is the truth that brings freedom and not separation.
If they are truthful, most if not all English politicians would (and should) admit that England would be seriously weakened if separated from Scotland. We Scots should also be honest and admit that a weak England would result in a weak Scotland. Not only from a financial perspective. We are possibly more at risk from potential hostile influences than we appreciate and we will prove to be more vulnerable apart.
It can sometimes take a huge effort to be truthful especially when the thought of the howls of derision and ridicule can be vividly imagined from those opponents whose aim is to humiliate. There is too much at stake here to be intimidated and cowed by those thoughts.
Truth appeals to right reason and perhaps more especially to our young people, the majority of who detest the usual mudslinging type debate.
Freedom is patient and kind; freedom is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude Freedom does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Freedom bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. True freedom never ends.

(Guest) 29/09/2014 10:06
I think there is a lot of truth in your comment JQ, however, "what is truth?" Pilate asked.
Jesus Christ said "I am the way, the truth and the life".
I hope that IS what you mean by truth?
JQ (Guest) 29/09/2014 10:25
Thank you Guest, that is exactly what I mean.

John 8
31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."


(Guest) 30/09/2014 08:04
I am the way the truth and the life.
/
Oh. If only more sermons were preached on this verse!
186 (Guest) 01/10/2014 10:52
Maybe many are-but are they are twisted?
Editor 29/10/2014 15:17
A number of recent posts to this thread have been absolutely nothing-to-do-with the subject matter of the above article and accordingly these have been deleted.

However one post referred to elitism (snobbery) within the church and I may do an article on this as a 'lead in' to discussion on the subject of elitism within the body of Christ.
Thanks Editor (Guest) 29/10/2014 21:34
Its was me who posted reference to Elitism (snobbery)within the Church
I am Delighted and welcome a article on this subject
Thanks for taking this seriously
(Guest) 30/10/2014 17:40
Ed,
There is no elitism in the 'true' Church/Body of Christ so,if you're writing about the latter, your article isn't going to be very long
Guest (Guest) 30/10/2014 21:56
Maybe you should keep your silly comments to your self till you see the article
Snobbery is partly to pre judge
I look forward to the Ed article
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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Christians and Politics > A nation and nations divided