"We know what's gone wrong: the question is, do we have the determination to put it right? Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations." David Cameron Summer 2011
This all said while pointing at communities that have systematically been striped of hope with choices peeled back to reveal very little.
All this said with a self righteous air of superiority that forgets that while the finger points there are fingers that point back. It is easy to pour contempt on our poor broken and diseased society from the height and dry land of supposed moral superiority. Citing statistics of one parent families and benefit fraud ignoring the fact that the very same symptoms of disease can be seen in those who sit back and allow the looting of our economy, allow for exploitation of power, allow for the excesses of privilege.
While they were undeniably and completely wrong in their actions, it is too easy, too simple to point at the wrong of hooded criminals ransacking our high streets without seeking the parallels with their pinstriped counterparts. Perhaps there is more to the Coalitions' 'we're in this together'! The bricks of bailed out bankers bonuses, the news international smoke of hacking and cover ups, smashed confidence in those jailed for expense fraud.
But while politicians go seeking their moral compass perhaps the biggest complicit agent idly watching on, is that of the church. While we have sang our songs, adhered to litany and liturgy, even been radical with our orthodoxy using clever clips and Mumford and Sons, have we missed the point?
Ellul would seem to think so -:
"How has it come about that the development of Christianity and the church has given birth to a society, a civilisation, a culture that are completely opposite to what we read in the bible"Jesus' message and motive spoke into and against the power, patronage and privilege of a Roman and Herodionian era. He showed what it was to live a life of contradiction in a self obsessed world. Modelling living for others as the key to completeness through a hospitality that embodies shalom, championing right relationship with all, loving as you yourself would want to be loved.
Ellul alludes to a church pointing and sitting in judgement not living out the moral example of Christ but having found comfort in moralism, caught up within micro ethical issues the church has increasingly been ignored. An alternative agenda of living beyond self for others perverted, or as Ellul suggests, subverted with the result that, the moral obligation to be greedy remains unchallenged.
If the church has something to say to post riot UK it probably is sorry. For not once has anyone even asked the church what to do, and so we're left to posting up 'post it's' on burnt out and boarded up shop fronts.