Bipolar - pastor's pen for 21st Feb 2021

adjective adjective: bipolar; adjective: bi-polar

  1. 1. having or relating to two poles or extremities. e.g.: "a sharply bipolar division of affluent and underclass"

The political world seems a bit bi-polar sometimes. The most striking recent example of this is the acquittal of former President Trump by the US Senate in spite of his obvious, deliberate and enthusiastic role in inciting the chaos at the US Capitol last month. Fact defers to craven political ideology. Weasel words rule the day.

Our own gentler version of this concerns the left-right divide in NZ politics. I think this is observable in the housing crisis, which in my memory has been coming for a long time. Let's just say it's no longer much fun for ordinary young people to go house or flat hunting. Ideologies of left and right flip the approach every time the government changes. The previous administration gets the blame. No one appears to know what to do. This has become toxic with the prevailing 'she'll be right' attitude of many Kiwis still in play. As a kind of personal protest I'm not voting National or Labour until they summon the courage and plain honesty to do something meaningful about it, maybe even together. Imagine that. I sense powerful vested interests in the status quo are holding sway in the meantime.

The church is not immune from theological, practical or political polarity. Much online Christian rhetoric fills me with dismay in this regard. The ease with which uninformed prejudice and ideology can be shared is disappointing. The church has its share of nutters, conspiracy theorists and so-called prophets.

What if we were to model a different way of relating? We came to the Lord's table yesterday, and I think we parked our differences at the door. We gathered, focusing on the hope held in common, our shared human predicament and unity in Christ. What if this was the starting place for all of our conversations? The hospitable table of God, where the Spirit is present, where Jesus is the host. This is surely the beginning of human flourishing.

I haven't talked much about level 3 lockdown because I'm a little bit over it and we know the drill. One way or another we'll keep in touch. May you know the sustaining presence of the Lord and His peace.

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