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Posts Tagged ‘John Richardson’

And I’m not talking about the King James bible, also known as the Authorised Version. I have to say that I’m struggling at the moment to decide whether to vote for or against the new voting system called Alternative Vote. And most people I speak to locally are completely indifferent.

I asked the Twitterverse which way a Christian should vote on the matter and the main response I got was that the bible’s only recommended system of election (apart from the Lord’s election of his people, obvs) is by lot (cf Acts 1v26 – for the selection of Matthias as an apostle to replace Judas). Selection by lottery is a system which leaves the choice to God and teaches his people to pray, although I’m not aware of any churches which use that system for selecting their church council these days.

The Christian Institute has a paper on AV which is fairly non-committal – it highlights the issues  and also links to Christians and others for and against.  Christian bloggers who have posted include John Richardson and Peter Kirk – both in the Yes camp.

My current concerns are fairness – is AV fairer than the existing First Past the Post system? And also cost – will a new system involve the country in extra expense for advertising, teaching and counting? And is anyone bothered enough about it to implement a new system? I’ve not met anyone locally yet who is passionately convinced that AV should be brought in for the good of the country.

Tonight I read a helpful article in the New Scientist which mentions a system that is claimed to be ‘an alternative, “perfect” system’, which actually sounds more like the biblical method I mentioned above:

Maclver’s system is identical to FPTP in all but one respect. Voters in each constituency choose a single candidate, but then one voter is picked at random from each constituency and their choice determines which candidate gets elected. The random element means the system isn’t covered by Arrow’s theorem.

It sounds horribly unfair but it would actually produce results that are more proportional to the views of the country as a whole, argues MacIver, as it is simply a random sampling of the population. So if a party has 20% of the national vote, it should end up with roughly 20% of the seats in parliament.

It turns out Maclver’s idea isn’t a new one – the system is known as a random ballot. But it isn’t one of the choices being offered to the UK public.

I liked the way the New Scientist summarises the dilemma for all of us who want to cast a vote in this referendum next week:

Do you want a system that picks a winner with strong support from a minority of voters (FPTP) or one where the leading candidate is vaguely liked by a majority of people (AV)? No amount of equations can help you reach an answer.

And as a Christian the response to the final dilemma has got to be prayer. So that’s what I’m planning to do. How about you?

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A few other folk have been posting their memories of Mark Ashton around the blogosphere:

June’s edition of Evangelicals Now contains a short obituary from Jonathan Fletcher.

Adrian Warnock has posted Jonathan Carswell’s tribute to Mark.

Roger Pearse remembers Mark as ‘one of the best of men’.

Rachel is also grateful for Mark’s ministry.

Thankful American Episcopalian Philip Wainwright remembers Mark’s commitment to parish ministry.

St Stephen’s Church, where Mark led the youth group in the 1980s pay tribute.

Phillip Sweeting owes Mark ‘a huge debt of thanks’.

Ronnie Stevens remembers Mark as a great preacher, ‘one of those rare impressive men who was wholly unimpressed with himself’.

Steve Tilley is grateful for Mark’s contribution to youth work when he was head of CYFA.

Clifford Swartz in New York pays tribute to Mark’s vitality and faith

Phil Ritchie led on a CYFA venture with Mark and remembers him with thankfulness

The Cambridge Evening News have an item

William Black in Kenya remembers the power of Mark’s preaching

Josiah also remembers Mark’s preaching with gratitude

Gavin McGrath remembers Mark’s patience, care and insight.

David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon talks about how Mark’s final months have been lived wholeheartedly in gospel witness. [And gives a tribute.]

John Allister posts an extract from Mark’s letter in a recent church magazine where he talks about getting ready for heaven.

John Richardson recalls Mark’s distaste for church politics.

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