In a week of political turmoil, we saw a former Prime Minister threatening to challenge the current Prime Minister for her job. This was after he did it once before. It was after he said that he would never do it again. I was after she did the same to him to get the job in the first place! Politics is a dirty game, played for expediency and by its own rules. It violates so many of the values we seek to live by and which we teach our children to adopt.
I am regularly puzzled as to how children are supposed to grow into decent citizens when their leaders are such poor role-models. On both sides of politics, we see sniping, criticism, lying, deception and cheap points scoring at every turn. For people supposed to function as a team in government, their mission is constantly besieged by back-biting, factional in-fighting and opportunism. We see human nature at its worst again.
When people make disparaging remarks about churches being little better, they surely exaggerate, even though they also observe some of those base elements of human nature at work. The difference is that biblical values provide parameters that regulate the selfishness into which we can all lapse. Churches, more than any other organisation known, see a high occurrence of attributes such as unity, encouragement, servanthood, honesty and humility. Are they perfect? Of course not. But the small blemishes offer scant justification for reactionary excesses that try to smear a great reputation for the majority.
I am proud to be associated with Christian churches which still shape people to undertake extraordinary exploits of self-sacrifice and generosity time and again. People who would try to tar all church people with the brush of judgment for the sins of a minority often quickly forget that our society would surely be the poorer for the absence of churches’ extensive provision of social welfare, community support, counselling, education and other ready help on offer today. More than one in seven Australians still attend regularly (more than many would expect) and are likewise proud to be associated with such a powerful vehicle for social transformation and life change which continues to make a difference for all eternity.