The smaller parties say it should be proportional. The mainstream parties remain happy with first-past-the-post. The electorate is convinced politics is a bubble whose only concern is to keep “them” in power next time around.
And “power” takes the skulduggery and machinations we know as “politics”.
A lot of the political class have been nothing much else. Volunteers, interns, lowly paid flunkies, all hoping to be talent-spotted. And then the prize. Nomination and hoped-for election. All so that each “can make a difference”. Except making a difference is to buck the trend. And power doesn’t come easily to those who do that. Power comes to those who fit-in, who work the machine, who network and accumulate favours by giving favours, who have that infamous black-book of contacts and favours to be returned.
When I was a trainee-lay-preacher I was told that I couldn’t make a difference if I scared away my audience. If I was too radical in my message. I was told my training was to ensure I knew what to say and how to say and when to say. No one said it was all about fitting-in and networking and working the machine. But it is. Being a trainee is to learn the ropes. To become a safe pair of hands. To become one of us.
GSHJ kept me there longer than I thought was reasonable.
Once released it was like bursting from the blocks at the “CRACK” of a starter’s pistol.
(and maybe that was why)
Released from training, from networking, from going to church, from “trying to make a difference” . Breaking the glass ceiling – free to soar and swoop – to go to places my faith had never gone before. To become bible-teaching-blind (not bible dismissive) – to find that “the greatest of these” IS the greatest of these … and it is THAT that is too radical, too off-message, too not one-of-us …
And thinking that is so sad (and wrong).
Religion is closer to politics that religion cares to admit. It is a bubble in the main. A life of working with those who come to church, who work in the church, who volunteer their time for the church, who work with the next tranche of those qualified in God – those whose diaries are (over) full of God and who believe that if I am saved I will want to go to church – will need to go to church – will not be a (long-term) good Christian unless I do. The bible says so.
Just as the bible says the greatest of these trumps all else. And which always gets the knee-jerk response of … “Ah but …”
And out come all the “conditional verses”. The “bible says” verses. The “We would if we could – but God says” verses. All the reasons why the greatest of these on its own is just not biblically correct. Why it works for God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit – but not us good Christians. We need rules as well.
I wonder if that is why the bums-on-seats count is going down. Why people regard themselves as less and less religious. And which absorbs church hierarchies – results in debate (or the reason for never stopping the debate) – trying to make the rules palatable enough to attract new believers – trying to work out if new believers prefer the simplicity of a black and white bible – a “carrot and stick”
belief bible – trying to manipulate the message into the structure of denomination, religion or faith.
Or else it all become one big fuzzy love-fest – and no one knows where they are when that happens! That’s why we need rules. The bible says.
It has the smack of a dug-addict unable to see beyond his/her next hit.
It is limiting. It is constricting. It is a barrier in all faiths and religions. Because each needs certain beliefs that become rules – that become the glue that holds each together – and so cannot be easily changed..
Church of the traditional. Church of the happy-clappy. Church of the mega. Church of the dwindling. Church of rock-and-roll. Church of the would-never-be-seen-doing-that-in-public-ever. Church of the return-to-how-the-bible-says-we-should-do-church. Church of the burn-those-who-disagree-with-us. Church of the you-are-all-wrong-and-we-are-right. Church of the we-are-not-church-we-are-true-believers (church).
All of that is found in the bible (allegedly).
The greatest of these doesn’t care. The greatest of these is way bigger than all of these created and edited “the bible says” needs. The greatest of these is God who is greater than all of this. The greatest of these is about me. Is about who I am.
As for why I am – or where I am – or what I am …
The greatest of these is “why-where-what” blind as well. Colour blind – gender blind – economics blind – politics blind – bible blind – religious blind – “the bible says” blind …
All of which is to be found in the bible as well.