This isn’t a laughing matter but when I read Luke 6:6-11 my first reaction was to burst out laughing and then all I wanted to do was gnash my teeth in frustration, for nothing has changed in 2000 years. Luke tells the story of Jesus healing a man with a withered hand – nothing wrong with that, but wait, the Pharisees are there watching because it is the Sabbath and healing a sick person on a Sabbath is regarded as work and as the Law comes before anything else according to the Pharisees, a sick person should not be healed on the Sabbath. Therefore, Jesus has broken the law. Of course, Jesus had a totally different approach to observing the Sabbath but the Pharisees did not want to know anything about that.
This so reminded me of today’s political correctness, preciousness, bureaucracy gone mad or whatever phrase best describes this type of attitude. I really am fed up with hearing why things cannot be done, instead of the positive approach of ‘let’s give it a try’. Jesus was so kind and loving yet he had to constantly stand up to this antagonistic attitude which followed him wherever he went. Just check out his teaching and miracles in the Gospels. It cost him his life in the end, but at no stage did he give in. Even at his ‘trial’, he was quietly directing proceedings, infuriating those who were desperately trying to take control of the agenda.
I recently posted a letter containing bookmarks promoting ‘Bible Stories For Big Kids’ to the chaplains of Queensland’s Correctional Centres and this is the reply I received from one chaplain.
I am a prison chaplain at two prisons and received your letter and bookmarks. At one of the prisons I attend this letter was opened by an officer for security reasons. He was not taken with the bookmark depicting the cover of your book in light of the situation with Isil etc and the recent gunning down and beheadings. I understand the analogy but the officer was quite offended. It was brought up at our meeting yesterday and all the chaplains agreed that the cover would be inappropriate on a book that was in the centre. For your info all religious material must be approved by The State Chaplaincy Board not individual prison chaplains.
When I read that I was initially stunned as the cartoon depicts a small child with a slingshot and Goliath in army camouflage which looks nothing like a hooded ISIL fighter. The fact that the officer misinterpreted the cartoon surely should have been a positive opportunity for the chaplains yet they have chosen to find the book inappropriate, all because of the cover. What ever happened to ‘never judge a book by its cover’?
I am not sure at this stage how I will proceed, but as this attitude in Australia concerns me greatly, I will endeavour to make people aware of where our thinking is taking us.
And that brings me back to the Pharisees and their politically correct /precious attitude. This did not stop Jesus from carrying out his mission of showing and teaching people how much God loved them – what a contrast to the ‘obey the Law or else’ message of the Pharisees.
We need to be aware of the importance of not altering the Gospel message to suit the current thought trends, but in love, continue to proclaim the Good News.