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Sandpit diplomacy - Pastor's pen for 9th October 2022

We note with concern the government of North Korea firing a ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific. Some kind of test. One suspects the resident dictator feeling left out of the world chat with all eyes on Ukraine and Russia. Look at me...

Global strategic power-plays in times of crisis look more and more like sandpit politics. I have the best digger. This is my space, go play somewhere else. You can have that wee corner of the sandpit. Are we dealing with adults or toddlers?

It would be funny if we were not observing people with access to vast arsenals of nuclear and conventional weapons. It would be less worrying if we were dealing with people who told the truth on a regular basis. Right now it feels like we need the USA to be a sane superpower, yet their political power games are also riddled with lies, conspiracy and partisan appointments to strategic roles. This is the gift the Trump era gave the world; an erosion of trust in the news media and vociferous commitment to nepotism and polarized politics. Toddler-like take-downs of the opposition. Sandpit diplomacy. Unfortunately many churches in the USA are deep into taking sides and buying into conspiracy and partisan politics. We must now creatively look elsewhere for inspiration.

New Zealand theologian Lloyd Geering wrote; 'In the quality of human consciousness we are beginning to share in the global world, we see ourselves as possessing the potential for rationality and purposive action.' He then goes on to observe; 'we humans, when we act, have the capacity to be both evil and good, irrational and rational, destructive and constructive.'

I'm not much of a Geering fan, but he makes a good point. Given the state of the world and the church post-Covid, surely we need the churches to be models of unity, to act together on things? We don't need to be a renegade voice right now. Our young people are struggling with anxiety and mental health concerns post-pandemic. They need the church to be a rock. Let's avoid pushing any lone agendas we might have and focus on purposefully being a centre of both sanity and hospitality, as we continue to live and talk the good news of Jesus. Please God, no sandpit diplomacy.

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