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  • Writer's pictureRev Kalantha Brewis

Let's Have A Bit More Extremism...

There’s been a lot in the national media recently about extremism. Michael Gove has re-defined extremism. Extremists, we are told, are to be rooted out, banned, silenced. Extremism, we are told, is a bad thing.

We read about far-right extremists and Islamist extremists, we read about extreme misogyny from the likes of Andrew Tate. When we think about how, since October 7th, there has been a massive increase in both ant-semitic and Islamophobic attacks, we may well feel despairing, that “something must be done”.

And yet, we also worry for our freedom of expression, and our freedom to disagree. Our freedom to have unpopular or unusual opinions. The government has curtailed the rights of some climate activists to make their protests, and we know that women many were arrested for protesting the murder of Sarah Everard and the standard of policing in London. And we think about people who have made a real, positive, difference to our communities: people who stood up for the rights of women to vote- remember the suffragettes and the King’s horse? Or disabled people who stood up for their  right to have reasonable adjustments made for them - remember the wheelchair users chaining themselves to London buses?

We can’t help admiring some of our extremists… like Eddie Izzard who ran 32 marathons in 31 days to raise money for charity, or like the jockey Richard Pitman, who donated a kidney to a stranger,  or Marlene Engelhorn, the Austrian heiress who is giving away 90% of her multimillion dollar inheritance.

Just as some people are extremely violent and extremely bigoted, we also all know people who are extremely generous, extremely funny, extremely hospitable, extremely kind, extremely understanding….

As Christians, we believe that Jesus was an extremist. He lived extremely as he refused to compromise with the political or religious conventions of his day; he cared extremely as he fed the hungry and healed the sick, he forgave extremely as he prayed for the soldiers who crucified him, he loved extremely as he gave himself for us. As Christians, we believe in extreme love, and at Easter we remember that love which is powerful enough to overcome death..

The bible says God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them”

This spring, I invite you to consider how YOU could become an extremist… an extreme example of thoughtfulness, or patience, or compassion.  What might you want to learn about in order to understand the needs of others? What might you want to let go of in order to free yourself to make an extreme difference to someone or something?

I would love to believe that we, in these communities, could all become extremists, showing extreme kindness and extravagant compassion to everyone we meet.


Revd Kalantha

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