I have written three times recently to my local MP (about different aspects and issues relating to Migrants, the Jungle Camp clearance in Calais, and votes in Parliament). To his credit he has written back twice (the third one was only this last weekend so it’s a bit too soon to expect a reply). But his replies were immensely frustrating because rather than answering questions I asked and responding to points I made, he wrote about things he and the Government are doing which did not address those issues directly. He left me frustrated and annoyed that he had ignored the key points but probably felt that he had answered me. There is a difference between an answer and a response!
It got me wondering about what life is like in a politician’s house (at the risk of generalising about politicians). It’s breakfast time at the Politician’s house…
Politician’s Spouse (PS): Darling, please will you take out the rubbish bin?
Politician (P): I am glad you asked me. Did you know that I have taken out the rubbish bin every week for the past three months? And did you know that the Council has not failed to empty it on any of those occasions?
PS: Thank you dear, but please will you take it out today?
P: I have plans to take the rubbish bin out every week from now on. The future rubbish-taking-out needs of the household are in safe hands.
PS: But it needs taking out now.
P: Thank you for bringing this to my attention. As a household we have significantly reduced the amount of refuse to be collected since we started recycling.
PS: I will ask you a simple question and want a simple answer. Are you going to take the rubbish bin out?
P: That’s an important question. But a more important question is to ask whether our neighbours have taken their rubbish bins out – my actions on their own won’t make any difference.
PS: I can hear the refuse collection lorry coming. Just take the bin out now!
P: Do you realise that if I had not taken the rubbish bin out in the past we would have a big mound of rubbish in our back garden that would constitute a health hazard. My actions have prevented that.
PS: [screams in exasperation] YOU’RE TOO LATE!
P: I don’t see why you are so upset with me. The rubbish is everyone’s responsibility, not just mine.
Why is it that some politicians seem to have developed the ability to answer the question that they wanted to be asked rather than answer the one that has been asked? Reflecting on this I realised that Jesus sometimes did the same thing. He might be asked a question and instead of giving a straight answer he would respond with a question or a story. Was he being as evasive as some politicians?
The difference is that when Jesus responded he was seeking to reveal the truth – the true (and sneaky) motive behind the question, or the reality of how God sees things and open people up to the possibility of positive change. Politicians when evading questions are seeking to obscure truth, avoid the awkward questions and close down any possibility of changing their mind or policies.
It’s a shame because, as Jesus said, “The Truth will set you free…”
Be blessed, be a blessing