Hello all. I hope you are well. HOH and I were discussing how we both felt that our mental health had got worse over the course of the pandemic. Rather than becoming more resilient, we felt more aware of what we have been losing as time has progressed. Last week we came out of the cinema on a Friday night to find a deserted foyer at a time when it would usually be buzzing with people and then out onto the car park with lots of fast food outlets – again nothing happening. It was so sad. People’s jobs disappearing out of the window quicker than we can count and there doesn’t seem to be a plan. Although, what can be done, I wouldn’t like to say. It is difficult and no mistake.
This week saw the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of America. Responsible, among other things, for the right to sign a mortgage for women, the right to have a bank account without a male co-signer, the right to have a job without being discriminated against on the basis of gender. Some achievements there. Yet today, people on Social Media are saying “Not so fast”. She was also responsible for upholding, white, rich people’s privilege and basically not doing enough. Because she was in a position of power, she should have done more and she therefore doesn’t get a pass.
Well of course she didn’t do enough! None of us do enough. Can you honestly take a hard look at your life and say that you have done enough? And I am sure that many of you are fine upstanding members of the community and that many of you – especially because I imagine you work/volunteer in churches and have had the principle of service ironed into the very fabric of your Sunday hats.
Human beings have feet of clay, no matter how heroic. It doesn’t do anyone any good to look into what Martin Luther King got up to on his Friday nights off. Winston Churchill’s understanding of the word “equality” was foggy at the very least. And yet Aged Parent’s Parents described him as a hero who fought like a tiger to defeat the Nazis (Although they wouldn’t actually vote for him.) Biblical giants – all of em have interesting backstories. David – adulterer, murderer, terrible dancer. Samson – weak spot for unsuitable women, blabber. Moses – murderer, coward, confrontation avoider. Jonah – moaner, sulker, liked to tell God how to run his business. And yet… each of these people achieved and their lives were full of service.
I think we see people – especially young people and they look to see people to emulate and instead of seeing people with faults and failures who nevertheless persisted, they see people whose reputations are worthless – sometimes because a lot of people on Social Media – many of whom have strong opinions but very little experience of actually doing anything about anything – have decided that these people just don’t make the grade.
Who would want to go into public service, knowing what may be lying in wait for them if they mess up? We may complain about the quality of our leadership – calling them lightweights (ok, that would be me doing that) but why would anyone put themselves out there? If people look at themselves with any kind of honesty we will know that we are not perfect but it is important to know that we don’t have to be.
There’s a story in the Bible of a woman “taken in adultery” (apparently the man had other places to be) Jesus does not diminish her actions but asks the men (and it would have been men) to look at themselves and only begin to stone her if they could honestly say that they were faultless. One by one, the men disappear. I wonder if it happened today if those who were trying to build a decent Social Media following might have stayed around and lobbed a few rocks anyway.
The Bible is packed to the drawstrings with verses acknowledging people’s frailties and failures.
Romans 3 – Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us
God does not shy away from it yet we are both obliged to have a go at doing good and assured of God’s support and empathy. We all hold this treasure in clay jars. In other words, we are all clay jars – a bit knobbly, vulnerable to cracking under a bit of pressure, and not always sparkling like Ethel Merman in a fifties musical. Taking into account that everyone is like that, I’d just like to see a bit more acknowledgment of the achievements – taking into account the problematic as part of a whole sinful man. More cheering and saying “jolly good try” and “thank you – it was appreciated” and less weighing people in the balance.