Bandwagons - Pastor's pen for 1 Nov 2020

As a young man I learned a valuable lesson about which wagons to get on board. For the only time in my life I had gone lame with a really sore foot whilst hiking in the Coromandel Forest Park. My friends and I walked out of the bush and into Coroglen so I could call my Dad from the payphone there and arrange rescue transport earlier than planned (No one had cell phones in olden times). Then, to save the long trudge back to our campsite we hitched a ride with a local Fred Dagg lookalike driving a Ford Zephyr. Not long into the journey we realized our driver had recently been in the pub where we used the phone, and clearly had rather a generous serving of the refreshments available there.

Let's just say his driving wasn't the best, and we also had concerns about the .303 rifle unsafely stored in the back seat with the bolt still in. Still, we arrived safely at our tent having saved a lot of walking and no worse for our sobering and somewhat alarming ride.

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

A valuable life lesson was learned, as previously suggested. Figuratively speaking, life is full of opportunities and decisions about what to get on board with. Most of you reading this will have decided a while back to sign up for the whole spiritual journey of following Jesus. Yet, as we all have observed, there are many and various expressions of that journey which inform and constitute what we might call the church.

Some will have been around long enough to remember various fads or bandwagons, emphases that crop up in various seasons. One tendency that has concerned me over a number of years is prophetic ministry that (in my personal view) gets very detailed about world events but becomes too disconnected from scripture. In short, liberties end up being taken, and what seems like spiritual prophecy is better put in the genre of creative, speculative writing and speech. Some people add thus sayeth the Lord on the end of their own creative thoughts and somehow that makes it ok. False prophecy was taken very seriously in Old Testament times, and with dire consequences. We would do well to remember that sometimes.

It has been disappointing to observe the prevalence of 'evangelical' Christians getting on board with the Covid conspiracy driven combination Advance NZ/NZ Public Party that contested the recent election. Spouting a heady mix of homegrown and international conspiracies about 5G, vaccines, Covid, QAnon and a Marxist world takeover, one would think a suspension of reason would be necessary to sign up.

Garnering 0.9 percent of the vote will ensure neither of the party leaders will trouble the parliament anytime soon. Indeed, would be visionary leader Billy Te Kahika resigned this week, presumably to move on to other things. Jamie Lee Ross was interviewed post election by journalist Tova O'Brien, and was satisfyingly skewered and roasted.

Troublingly, both leaders have been called into question legally and morally for their appalling treatment of women, and their handling of employment and finances (By their own supporters and SFO). No doubt the true believers are developing some super-spiritual spin to explain the abysmal poll showing this month. My suggestion would be for any Christians involved in the whole thing, that a season of repentance would be in order. Give yourself a good slap, then turn the other cheek and minister to the other side.This bandwagon is one not to hitch a ride with. The STUFF investigation is worth a watch.

We need to guard the reputation of the church and the ability, indeed the gift of being salt and light in this nation. Getting on the wrong bandwagons is something we need to avoid. To watch and pray is the better part.

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