Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's The Process, Silly

"Relativity applies to physics, not ethics." - Albert Einstein

Jobina and I went out to my parents farm for Easter and we had a great time hanging out with friends and family. As usual our kids were the stars of the show, impressing everyone with their general sense of "cuteness" which is always entertaining. After dinner, the men sat around a talked and eventually we got into a discussion about church, politics, and marriage.

A common thing about problems in these three areas often boiled down to abandoning the ethics during the process of resolving them. First we talked about politics. Stephen Harper talked big when he was in opposition about ethics, honesty, accountability and how too much power was in the PMO's office. And now that he is prime minister? Well, all that talk is gone and though he's better then those he preceded, power has begun to corrupt members of the party. What happens (to everyone in power I think) is that we begin to believe the lie that the end justifies the means. Once you believe this, you are tempted and eventually compromise your morality and ethics. Example: you believe in telling the truth. But what if it would really hurt the government to be honest? Thus, for the good of the government (and the country) in your mind, you choose to be dishonest. An example of this is Canada handing over POW's to the Afghan government, knowing they could face torture. Lies were told to protect the government ("we didn't know!"), the mission in Afghanistan, and the Tories grip on power. Ethics were abandoned for "the greater good." Then people found out. Trust in our leaders is shaken.

It is the same with churches. For the "good of the church" a pastor, board, or elder will abandon their sincere Christian ethics. What does this look like? Dishonesty, gossip, cruelty, manipulation, etc. Happens all the time. How has your church done it? Maybe it's by covering something up (like abuse or sin). Maybe the pastor lied to protect the unity of the church. Whenever the crap hits the fan in a church it's usually not because of an initial event, but the unethical process of how it's handled. Even the most difficult situation can be handled in a civil and forthright way if people don't abandon Christian ethics. Unfortunately we often do.

How do we change these things? I think it's by being ethical in our processes and challenging the irrational belief; the end does not justify the means. The means is just as important (and sometimes more so). When our government, our churches, and spouses begin to live this out, then we will see health, hope, and trust return. What process have you recently been involved in where you chose to go against your own ethics? How did you justify it to yourself? Most importantly, what can you do now to make up for things and insure it doesn't happen again? Are you willing to commit to doing it?

May Light increase!

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