It somehow seems appropriate that our Christmas no. 1 this year is by Rage Against the Machine. Whilst we might have concerns about an expletive ridden song being the nation’s most popular, the kick against a Simon Cowell determined winner of the annual chart race for a fifth year running surely says something powerful about the rising tide of anger towards the powers that be (rather ironic that Sony are the beneficiaries). And it seems to fit the theme of year as it developed on the subject of MPs’ expenses. Social Media has provided the ideal platform for grassroots campaigns to succeed where in previous generations there would have been thousands of disconnected and disillusioned protagonists- unable to gather a collective voice. The postmodern era has discovered its trade union equivalent, no longer organised by dint of trade or employer; instead gathered around value of scepticism aimed at corporate self-interest. But just as some trade union leaders became too influential and selective in their campaigning so we must be wary of those who have become the demi-gods of Social Media.
As we celebrate the good news of the arrival of Jesus the messiah, we would do well to remember that many were looking for the one to overthrow the imposing authority of their day, the Roman occupation. Whilst He was happy to count Simon the Zealot amongst his disciples He never took on board their objective of violent overthrow. To have done so would have been to have employed methods of another kingdom and to have obscured His message. Corporate machinery is capable of great injustice and should be resisted with all that the kingdom of God gives us. Let’s remember, though, that it is made up of a combined group of people like us. Jesus rage was against that most basic building block of all powerful vested interest: our desire to live for ourselves. That’s a machine that only the gospel of grace is fit to dismantle.