With the background of ‘bullygate’ and its repercussions, today we have a plea for more team dynamics in the heart of government instead of paranoid control freakery. And it’s not simply a Labour problem; a number of comments have been recently made about excessive control from Conservative Central Office, too. Wherever there is desperation for power, desperate methods are employed to minimise divergence. This (non-listening) strong hand on the rudder leads to a very unhappy ship’s company and it’s surely no surprise when shipmates jump overboard seeking freedom. Leadership we want, decisive leadership we need. But overbearing, oppressive regimes?
I was preparing a session on Paul’s use of the body metaphor recently (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) and was reminded that it was letter written to a highly dysfunctional group of people. They fell out over spiritual gifts, rather unsurprising given the worship of idols endemic in the pagan culture they came from. The baggage they arrived with at the church in Corinth lead them to rate the showy, outward gifts more highly than others. Is it so different today? Our culture includes the mantra, ‘education, education, education.’ Within the church do we elevate the teachers above all others? Do we dare to question aspects of church leadership? Because an unaccountable leadership is a dangerous thing, it leads to assumed authority and potential abuse. There is nothing more healthy for the body than a loving word of encouragement that includes a rightly-motivated challenge. Difficult to get right- agreed. But not to be ignored.
At a CARE supporters’ event last night someone stopped me to ask whether I thought a hung parliament might provide a good opportunity for a different form of politics. Absolutely- it gives that possibility. Politics has a distinctive flavour in Scotland, for example, as no one party can implement their programme without the support of others. Wouldn’t it be great to see more constructive problem-solving rather than sound bite knee-jerk knockabout? Of course the media would attempt to prise any co-operation apart. And healthy opposition in parliament is an effective way to keep the executive in check. But as people of hope we desire that kingdom values of respect, integrity and teamwork win out over partisan, aggressive behaviour in the body politic. Make it a team effort, politicians. And for those of us with obstructive woodwork obscuring our eyesight, make it a team effort, Church of Christ.