Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Identity & Security - May's Monthly Reflection for The Farming Community Network

The Farming Community Network

Identity &  Security

In May 2018 the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into force with all charities and organisations having to have systems that are compliant by the 25th May.

This has created a lot of work and expense which has been particularly difficult for very small charities that do not have the human or the financial ‘spare’ capacity to deal with setting up new systems and contacting supporters. Although this is an important and very much needed revision, especially given the level of information we put our there about ourselves whenever we make any transaction, it could have a big impact on our lives.  The Farming Community Network has set up a whole new system because of the very sensitive nature of some of the information we hold as we walk alongside people.

What I particularly like is the ‘opt in’ rather than ‘opt out’ whenever we engage with something or make a purchase online. Our willingness to be contacted must have our explicit agreement and not merely an implicit assumption.

On the 9th September 1951 I was baptized at Rochdale Parish Church. I would have been four months old at the time and in effect there was an implicit assumption that I would engage with God. I did this variously over the years but with no great intent or enthusiasm. 

That was until January 1st 1975 when I made a New Year’s Resolution to become a Christian. I asked God to write my name that was written in pencil at my baptism, metaphorically speaking, to be written in ink, permanent ink! I had moved from implicit faith to explicit faith and now had a real desire for God to contact me regularly.

What made this change is much longer story but it is tied up with identity. As an adolescent I went through the normal angst about my own mortality and had a great fear of dying unknown. Wondering what the point of my life was and was I to be remembered or leave any kind of legacy behind. (This was 1966, but think of the 1982 TV Series ‘Fame’)

On the same day as another already famous Gordon Banks was in goal for England on the 30th July 1966 I traveled from Oldham down to Newmarket to sign on as an Apprentice Jockey for five years. I had never ridden a horse, had no love of horses or riding, but it seemed to be an opportunity to become famous as a jockey! 
That never happened but nearly ten years on through the gentle and persistent witnessing of a work colleague I came to realise that ‘my life was hidden with Christ in God.’  (Colossians 3.3.) I came to realise my identity was to be found as I was to be found in Jesus. That there was only one place I needed to ensure my name was written and that was in the Lambs Book of Life. (Revelation 13:8, 21:27 & Luke 10.20)

What difference does this make? It makes all the difference knowing my identity is in Christ, that I am loved of God, that I am a child of God. Knowing that I have a place and purpose in God’s plan for the redemption of the cosmos.

This gives me a security to step out into the world and engage with people and seeing them also as loved of God. (John 3.16)

I also discovered that God already held all my personal details and that this was the most secure place for them to be held! (See Psalm 139)

He also holds all your details and records and if your name isn’t already written in the Book of Life you can do that today.

Loving Heavenly Father we thank you that in you we can know security and discover our true identity. We pray that as people trust us with details of their lives we will hold them as a precious gift and treat them with respect and confidentiality. We pray for all charities and organisations that are currently undergoing the necessary changes to be compliant with GDPR and in particular for the new systems in place for The Farming Community Network.  Praying we may soon find it an effective and safe way of recording and logging the details of those whom we are walking alongside. Lord of all life we put our trust and hope in you, knowing that you are always faithful and will not disappoint and that what you have ordained will come to pass.
Lord mercifully hear our prayer. Amen


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