Monday, August 28, 2006

Honesty and law-breaking


Being truthful can be hard especially when the outcome of being honest is something pretty annoying. Right now Alex and I have decided to be honest about something we really don't want to be and the option to not be honest is pretty tantalising and from a convenience standpoint is a lot more appealing.

I think that we are both going to have periods of regretting our honesty and getting frustrated at God that he even asks this of us in the first place.

I think we often think that being honest will give us a warm fuzzy feeling of doing the Right Thing - but often to be truthful is hard and the outcomes plain rotten. In a strange way despite the consequences we both sighed a sigh of release when we realised what we should do- and that we would do it.

It's funny because I told my mum about the whole thing and she was really shocked that we decided we would tell the truth and take the consequences. She assumed that because I've been an activist I'm, in her words, "into breaking the law..." . Mmmm well I have done a few things in my time which I'm not sure qualify as breaking the law or not. (who are you kidding Rachel?) Which does make me wonder again about whether it is justified to break a worldly law in order to bring about Godly justice

I think it is. If the government banned church going or praying I'm sure many would (and should) break this law. The things that I am perhaps guilty of breaking the law mostly revolve around making known injustices and abuses of human rights that have been made federally lawful. These are areas that the Bible speaks clearly on "defend the cause of the weak, fatherless and widow" "love mercy and justice" etc.

I understand that I am to respect the law and authorities placed over me - but I wonder if I can respectfully dissent and respectfully break the law ? I have personally shouted at John Howard (not at the television- at the actual man) and looking back that was disrespectful (of another human being as well as a Prime Minister) and also achieved nothing in terms of bringing about justice. But being a dissenting voice in a rally/protest/march is respectfully saying that a policy is wrong, visiting refugees in detention centres is a voice saying (with respect) these people are human with human needs and should not be treated like (worse than) animals. I suppose as I am getting older I am seeing that there is a line (be it sometimes blurry) between respectful and disrespectful dissent. To be wise is to be thoughtful and not get carried away with the emotion or anger that one may feel (which I have regretfully done on many an occasion) and consequently break the law. But perhaps if one thoughtfully and respectfully breaks the law then it is OK.

I have an image of Jesus in my mind pushing over all the tables in the synagogue, angry, indignant. (respectfully) law breaking?

I have an image of Jesus healing on the day of rest - respectfully dissenting?

I have an image of a man on a cross deemed the biggest lawbreaker of his time -(respectfully) dying.

7 comments:

byron said...

Yes, as I said in your last post, I enjoyed this post - even the 'cleaned up' version! You'd better hope ASIO don't have Bloglines... (just kidding - I couldn't remember any differences).

I like the idea of respecting even those with whom we strongly disagree: respecting them both as a person and then also for their office. I think there are clear examples in Scripture of civil disobedience where that is necessary. I also think Christians get a little shortsighted in their thinking about governments, focussing on passages like Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. These are vitally important, but I think they are a corrective to those who might get carried away with the main thrust of the NT teaching on authority: that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. That is, the gospel (that Jesus is Lord!) is the central fact that we need to stick in our political pipe and smoke. The question faced by passages like those mentioned above is: 'what then is left for others to do?' (and perhaps also - 'why bother showing so-called authorities any respect? Why not simply throw off these no-longer authorities?'). I tried to deal with some of these issues here (apologies for the blatant self-plug).

I think your post nicely captured something of this dynamic, while also letting us all in (ASIO included) on more of your story. Thanks!

PS I'd love to hear what you mean by 'Godism' in your blurb. I presume (?) it's not this...

byron said...

Sorry for the mega-comment. Got a little carried away on a hobby horse. :-)

Rachel said...

that was helpful thanks Byron!

mmm now I have been pointed to the real meaning of Godism I need another 'ism' to use. Def. not Jesusism or christianism. mmm.

byron said...

What is it you were trying to convey by 'Godism'?

Emma said...

I was trying to write a comment on here this morning but my work computer chucked another tanty and made it's eighth (or perhaps ninth?) perilous visit to the "blue screen of death" which perhaps I should interpret as a portent of trouble to come if I continue to blog rather than work...

Anyway, wanted to say that we appreciated your honesty in dealing with this issue of honesty in bible study and we fully understand the temptation to lie in this instance!

We're proud of you and the ability the pair of you have to be in the world but not of the world and even though that's cliched, it's pretty rare... It's certainly evident in the throughts that you've worked through in this post, Rach. You are a wise woman who I'm confident that God uses as one of those counter cultural agents that challenge the status quo for the many who can't see that life doesn't have to be the way that tv (or insert other appropriate source of evil) tells us it should be...

and I put the recipe for the cake in my response to your comment back over at inner-nerd if you want it!

Rachel said...

oh deer. my goodness. thankyou for your kind words i wish we were like the description you gave, but usually we are far from it. in many ways our ideals never match our sinful selves. we are selfish and self-seeking in ways that shame me but my hope is that God would work miracles on our selfish beings...

thanks for cake recipe. will use it... one day..

Rachel said...

Oh yes 'Godism'. Basicly wanted a word with 'ism' at the end to show that I was interseted in musing on things "God" related without confusing people that I was a theology expert. nup defnitly not that. (nor a spelling/typing expert for that matter) didn't want to reduce description to only the chrsitain God either. mmm.