“What is a Christian country?”
By Canon George Burgon
A Scot by birth and a retired Vicar of Rothwell and Rector of Rushton. Burgon is also a Governor of the Jesus Hospital, Alms houses in Rothwell and Chair of the Orton Trust and takes an active interest in local affairs and having served as chaplain to the Mayor of Kettering on 3 separate occasions. George now lives in Barton Seagrave with his wife they have three daughters and six grandchildren.
The recent report which warns us that we need to look carefully at how we are to care for our elderly folks is going to prove to be quite a challenge. Not only are we all living longer but there is going to be an imbalance in age groups within the next few years. It would appear that there will not be enough “active” to care for the “inactive”. There are going to be more strains in our circle of home and family life about who is going to care for who when there are more older people to be looked after. Expectations will change when we look at our circumstances. We not only have to keep an eye on our older folks but there are also situations when we have to support our young mums and dads with growing children. This is nothing new. When I was a child after the war, folks took in one another’s children when needed like they did the washing. Elderly relatives were taken meals when they could no longer get about. We were all part of “one another’s care package.” Such situations still happen but will get less and less if we lose our sense of community, neighbourhood and family life. Our families are more fragmented these days because its members are often separated by distance, work commitments and educational opportunities. There are no easy solutions to the complications and complexities in today’s ways of living. However it is simply not possible to off load all of our responsibilities on to other people , agencies and services. The old commandment to “honour one’s father and mother” contains a promise in it that “our days may be long in the land our God is giving us.” If we neglect that, we are in the position of and being neglected ourselves and our life will be cut short or stunted. Families and shared households need to be supported and strengthened if we are all to enjoy the best life can give us. Will we vote for those who will work for such ideals? Not all poverty is self imposed. The root cause of divisions in society is not answered by looking for scapegoats but in facing the blunt reality of the human capacity to be greedy and ignoring the needs of the poor. We will be a truly “Christian” country if we seek to redress imbalances in attitudes, resources and in having less self centred tax policies. How we will look after our elderly and our families when time are hard will be a true reflection of how much do we love our neighbour.