LETTER FROM A MINISTER
A Brave New World...
IT IS NEARLY SEVENTY YEARS since the English author Aldous Huxley wrote his dystopian novel of a future where society had become a feature of the past, and individual identity no longer mattered. He wrote in response to events surrounding the Depression in 1931 and created a world of mass production, predictability, disposable goods and people. While it received praise, his work was censored and pilloried by many in authority, maybe he went too close to the bone.
As I write this, we are still in the middle of the restrictions imposed by those managing the Covid-19 virus in their attempts to slow the spread of this infection. Amidst the calls planning our way out of lockdown, some commentators are beginning to wonder about the ways that the post-pandemic world will look different from pre-virus days. Will this experience of restriction and enforced social isolation affect our future behaviours or values? Over the past weeks, we have stood outside our front doors on Thursday evenings to applaud the carers, supermarket workers, refuse collectors, and lorry drivers. These men and women have often been invisible in a society that seemed fixated on celebrities and the powerful, but they are now being recognised as the glue holding us together.
In these days of crisis, there has also been growing recognition of the connectedness of the world and the countries occupying the planet. In other words, if one country has the virus, we all have the virus. We are learning that we all need to work together to identify and produce a vaccine if we are to emerge from this crisis and resume some sort of normality again. Every part of the world matters not just the richer countries.
May it be that in our post-pandemic world long established injustices may be righted? Already there is news that richer nations have agreed to cancel debts of poorer countries, and there is growing recognition that the greatest injustice facing the world is the climate crisis, whose costs are being met not by those who have profited from the resources of the world, but by those who have gained the least.
Aldous Huxley felt strongly that his post-Depression society was in need of stability if people were to survive the crisis. As we move towards a post-virus society there is growing awareness that we need to reorder our lives and our priorities. One of the biggest challenges we face is the seeming addiction to limitless growth which underpins many of our social structures, and indeed our economic assumptions. On a planet of finite resources, an attitude of infinite economic growth always leaves someone paying the cost, often the most vulnerable.
Jesus Christ came to show that it was possible to live differently; he came to pattern a relationship between humanity and God; he came to model a way of life of justice and kindness and humility; and he came that all might have life and have it more abundantly. Although the churches in Newport Pagnell may still be closed, you can find more about the Christian faith by visiting the other pages of this website.
May God bless you!
Revd Nicola Martyn-Beck,
Mimister of Newport Pagnell Methodist Church