Feet of Clay

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.

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8 Comments

  1. September 21, 2020 / 8:47 am

    She was an amazing lady.
    Following your previous post, it is interesting how people are so quick these days to point out the flaws in the lives of others – be they politicians, preachers, or pilgrims seeking a better life. Romans 3:23 still applies – but by Grace we can each make a difference, however small, and however often we slip up.
    RIP RBG. Rest in peace and rise in Glory

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      September 21, 2020 / 5:21 pm

      Yes she was. A dissenting voice. And she did make a difference

  2. September 21, 2020 / 2:41 pm

    I seemed to have spent my life when telling children to ‘be responsible for your own behaviour, not Freddie ot Charlotte’ or whoever had made themselves noticeable. It’s like that story of planks and motes. And yet I am acidic to the point savagery when it comes to Barnard Castle excursions, photographs of MPs travelling on trains without masks, and dishing out government positions contracts worth zillions to apparently unsuitable people/companies

    Your blog is a timely pointer to making sure that we as individuals do our best, and trying to let that ‘best’ be contagious, through grace, through prayer, through owning up to our own imperfections…

    I’m reading Catherine Fox’ weekly instalments of her Tales from Lindford novel, fictionalising what is happening, in real time, and last week she wrote something along the lines of ‘surely they are all trying to do what’s best’ – that brought me up a bit short, because I have done too much raging about how thinks are not going as well as they should. Maybe, just maybe, I should cut ‘them’ a bit more slack? Well, at any rate I’ll keep praying for them, whoever they may be.

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      September 21, 2020 / 5:25 pm

      I have to admit that despite this blog being a reaction to everyone jumping on good achievements and calling them rubbish just because people aren’t perfect – I believe our government is corrupt. Sorry but I do. It seems that so much has been done to line the pockets of those around them. I don’t trust them. I think Covid has caught them out and they are being exposed. I think you are right though. As individuals, we should do our best and appreciate those we feel are doing good things – imperfectly.
      I love Catherine Fox. She is so funny.

      • Kirsten
        September 22, 2020 / 8:40 am

        Yes. They are corrupt. I feel as though we are living in the kind of country we used to despise and call out and even invade in years gone by in order to remove their governments. I pray for right, God’s righteous, not mine, to prevail but it is a long wait to see things happen.

  3. Jenny Young
    September 21, 2020 / 3:41 pm

    My husband & I have actually enjoyed staying home. We live in a rural area. He works from home some, goes to work some. I watch my grandson while my son & daughter-in-law work. I do miss church, lunch with friends & the volunteering I used to do. But I think looking for things to be grateful for has helped me….sometimes I have to stop many times a day & do that.

    Thanks for reminding us…we should not lift any public figure up in the place of God & we should remember to give grace because it’s been given to us.

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      September 21, 2020 / 5:28 pm

      Exactly. That’s an excellent reason. Thinking of the grace I have received and the lack of judgement where judgement was due. What right have I to condemn someone obviously doing their best? I’ll be honest though. At the moment, in the UK, I don’t think that includes our government who many of us think have caused needless suffering to pursue power and money.

      • Jenny Young
        September 25, 2020 / 1:29 pm

        Well, I think there is a difference between giving grace to someone’s memory & holding leadership accountable for what they should be doing.

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