Love, pray, vote

By Rev Fiona Bennett (From Seeds June – July 2024)

In April, I had the opportunity to share in URC AntiRacist training delivered by Professor Anthony Reddie, Professor of Black Theology at Oxford University.

Professor Reddie left me with many things to mull over, one of which is particularly significant entering into a general election: to remember that everyone is multi layered.

For those of us living in Scotland, this is about more than wearing many semmits (vests), it is about remembering that every human being has layers and layers of story, experience and identity which have shaped how we see and react to the world around us.

When you look at me you may see a short white woman, a minister, a follower of Jesus… but I am also a mum, a spouse, an Aberdonian and Edinburgher, a daughter, a friend, a human who struggles with choices and hope, and so much more. We are all so much more, and none of us have a perspective on life shaped in a vacuum. When we look at each other, especially when we find ourselves in sharp conflict or disagreement with another, it is important to stop and remember that this person or party is not an adversary to defeat, but multi layered human/s to connect with.

Jesus offers us many examples of this approach throughout his life. One of the starkest is the story of the woman he meets by the well in John 4. This story shows Jesus knowing and accepting the woman layer upon layer of who she was, and inviting her to see him and accept him layer upon layer of who he truly is.

In our current culture, polarising views and defining people in tribes seems to be a very common habit. Is that because people lack a sense of belonging? Or simply to aid marketing tools? Or to create forms of social control? Perhaps it is all or none of the above, but polarisation (creating goodies and baddies) is much more akin to how the pharisees worked than Jesus. With this in mind, the ecumenical Joint Public Issues Team ( has created great resources and podcasts to help us Love, Pray and Vote in the coming general election. They include a Conversation Guide to help us consider how to talk with people who hold different political views to ours.

The theologian NT Wright* reminds me why engaging with this general election in Love, Prayer and by Voting, is not an optional extra but a calling for followers of Jesus. ‘Left to ourselves we lapse into a kind of collusion with entropy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there’s nothing much we can do about them. And we are wrong. Our task in the present… is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.’

*N.T Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (For more on how to Love, Pray Vote see pp.10-11.)