Pilgrim's Progress Update

Much has happened in the four years since we published 'Out of the Shadows' on the pastoral side of the gay debate. There are times when I wonder if it was the right thing to do, as it meant that Graham Ingram faced some pretty unpleasant attacks from fellow Christians. He was sacked from teaching at a Bible College, and preaching opportunities dried up. However, there are too many stories of people who have been helped and encouraged, and Graham is now working on a second edition as the first edition is nearly sold out.

It is probably not clear why we would publish a book on local politics. Something has to change: if only a third of voters come out to vote in a local election, and if membership of political parties is at a crisis point, then we face a real challenge if we are going to build cohesive communities. The churches ought to be engaging in this debate, and in many places they are. There are some great things going on in East London, for example, but there is a long way to go. One option is for good people to stand as Independents, supported by their friends. Churches could take a lead in encouraging people to stand for election, but need to take care in promoting candidates. One way to help is to explain to people how to get elected, and Independents for East Herts explains how the election process works. We can also supply you with Elections on a Shoestring with a range of ideas on getting the maximum impact from your election budget.

The two main problems for Independents are: (a) how do people know whether they agree with you, in other words, what sort of Independent are you? and (b) it is hard work without a team, and how do you find a team that is not a 'party'? The National Executive of the Independent Network is working on this, and something will eventually come out of the work, research and experimentation.

Our Pilgrim's Progress project started in 2005 and has been worked on intermittently over the years. What is extraordinary is that after you translate it, you can see where much of evangelical tradition has come from. The prayer asking Jesus to come into your heart? It is there, and as a friend of mine said, how surprising, since John Bunyan never went to CYFA or VPS camp. But what is more suprising is that when Hopeful prayed the prayer, nothing happened and he prayed it again and again. This amazed Christian, but if you want to find out what happened next, you must buy the book.

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