How did you come to faith in Christ?
My Father was an Anglican from the Victorian tradition and my Mother was a Norwegian Lutheran, so I was raised in a family with real faith. It seemed to me to be part of the natural world order. I had the usual questioning time in my teens, so refused Confirmation at school. It was resolved by a sudden, brief, awareness of the Holy Spirit before Confirmation a year later, but, in spite of a number of experiences of the actual love of God, I was still seeking an intellectual basis for faith at every turn of the road.
My real confirmation came with the Lenten “Retreats in Everyday Life” instituted by Donald Gray when Speaker’s Chaplain. The starting gun (almost) was the “Thou art mine” in Isaiah 43:1. It was followed by a wonderful introduction to the life of prayer.
Why should Christians get involved in politics?
Prayer and worship are necessary parts of our relationship with God, but Jesus taught (most clearly in Matthew 25:31-46) that our relationships with others are absolutely essential to it. These must not be based on the social conventions of authority, and deference or condescension, which we tend unconsciously to adopt, but on love and service. (See His exasperation in Mark 9:33-35 when even His Disciples didn’t get it as it applied to themselves).
His teaching points inescapably to the need for service, powered by love, and delivered as support not as direction – as though from below, not above – and to the poorest cases, being the most urgent. By His life, death and resurrection He showed that it is love, voluntarily stripped of power, that has the final victory.
These parameters are very difficult to reconcile for politicians working for the Kingdom in the power house of Parliament, but their contribution is vital.
How does your Christian faith make a difference to your work in Parliament?
I was brought up to believe that my good start in life meant that I owed a debt to others less fortunate and this gained a new perspective with my growing faith. As a hereditary Peer elected to an – as yet – life Peerage (in itself a privilege), it looks as if that will remain the template of my life till it ends. If only I could fill it!
I also exercise, to the best of my ability, a small ministry of prayer for those Parliamentarians I, and some of my friends, know to be specially in need of it.