DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Maranatha

Written by: on February 16, 2020

There was a time when I was less affected. Everyday there is opportunity for a new awakening.

I believe there is an easier way, one that I can’t seem to get far enough away from. That way is apathy. Over the last year, whilst facing confounding heartbreak, I asked my mom to pray that I would care less. It has felt at times like ‘my care’ has affected both a deeper breaking and a more profound division. I’m learning now that it is apathy that is divisive, not care.

There was a time that I cared about Finite Mathematics, a course necessary to achieve in order to carry on a particular career path. I failed Finite Math two times, not because I didn’t care and not because I cared too much. Not quite confounding heartbreak though thoroughly, confusing. In such times as these, may the Spirit God lead us to rest, lean in and listen closer (John 13:25).

Max Weber, in his Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, declares that ‘The capitalistic economy of the present day is an immense cosmos into which the individual is born, and which presents itself to him, at least as an individual, as an unalterable order of things in which he must live.’ [1]. There is a next desperation for the one who believes to have found another system for living by Jesus Christ, a way as one of his followers describes ‘not conformed to this world but, transformed by the renewing of (our) minds’ [2]. Jesus secure and resolute proclaimed another way that unhinges systems of power and control in the world [3].

The hope is that his message would be backed up with the same stance and resolve by the community of those who profess to follow Him. Thus, the second desperation, as this does not occur. Jason Swan Clark, in his prolific thesis (a magnum opusthat deserves a depth study for maximum impact), Evangelicalism and Capitalism, ‘seeks to remedy this situation by providing a robust diagnostic, not to refute Evangelicalism, but as a reparative.’ [4]. With the help of a diversity of resources he ‘attends to the faulty responses of either over-dichotomising capitalist markets against ecclesial life, or the further capitulation of ecclesial life to the deforming forces of capitalism.’ [4]. Dr. Clark gives careful consideration for the future of evangelicalism, ‘how imaginations for life are enacted in capitalism, and further, how beliefs and practices of Christianity become co-opted by the practises of life within capitalism.’ [4].

When my daughter was in her first year of Elementary School, she heard about the struggles of our First Peoples in the north of our province (British Columbia). Our First Peoples were standing in opposition to North American Oil Companies (Enbridge, in particular) as they sought to coordinate the movement of oil (bitumen) from the Tar Sands of Alberta through to tankers waiting off one of our northern coast villages (Kitimat, BC). This was called the Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline. Upon hearing of the problems this pipeline would pose to the environment and the unrest of the people whose land it was targeted to pass through, she drew up a poster and we posted it. Pre-Greta and articulate enough for any adult to produce, the solidarity and voice of her simple outstanding poster exclaimed, ‘No to the Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline! No to Enbridge! Leave our environment be!’

The Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline project is no longer on the table for discussion as of December 2016. However, a new plan for the pipeline was introduced by the Federal Government to be re-routed at the Alberta-BC border and to extend from Edmonton to Vancouver. This is called the Trans-Mountain Oil Pipeline. Do you see how they just don’t give up? Apathy. It can no longer be reasoned out for me that the creation of the pipeline is about people and jobs (life is not encouraged in the propagation of apathy). What is the impact on our planet of such apathy?

Over the last week, along with the study of Dr. Clark’s impactfulEvangelicalism and Capitalism, I have viewed and reviewed a video clip of a friend of mine (who serves as a priest of a local Anglican community) being pushed by a police officer down the stairs at the entryway of our Provincial Parliament buildings here in Victoria. He was standing in solidarity with young people who represent the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their land that will be affected by the enforcement of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline. The people cried ‘shame’ in their resistance and, their volume and emotion increased as my friend fell. As he was helped up by the same hand of the officer that just moments before twisted his arm behind his back, only one question could be seen quietly mouthed, ‘why did you push me?’ And again, ‘why did you push me?’

There is an ugliness that continues to decide outcomes that cause harm. There seems to be a growing uprising in opposition to this ugliness, an uprising that groans louder for liberation. So, Clark references Daniel Bell’s Liberation Theology, ‘the State operates on the basis of other power relationships; there is good and bad about the State. Models of power which locate the State as sole possessor of power are now bankrupt. For the State now finds itself under the control of the market.’ [4]. In the case of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, the people have decided ‘No!’ for the sake of their land, families and heritage. Now, they protest and cry ‘Shame!’ as the market pursues another way, through the pockets of politicians and legislators.

Who cares, anyways? Original care is one that is willing to suffer. Waiting is painful. As my mom continues to encourage through the pain, one step at a time. Let it also be, one word at a time, one push at a time, one cry at a time toward change that has ‘set the captive free.’ Come Lord Jesus, come.

‘I have fought an excellent fight. I have finished my full course and I’ve kept my heart full of faith.’ [5] What does this really mean, anyways?

 

Bibliography

[1] Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Scribner, 1958.

[2] Romans 12:2. NIV.

[3] Luke 4:18-19. NIV.

[4] Swan-Clark, Jason. “Evangelicalism and capitalism: a reparative account and diagnosis of pathogeneses in the relationship”. PhD thesis, Middlesex University/London School of Theology. Academia.edu.

[5] 2 Timothy 4:7. TPT.

About the Author

mm

Chris Pollock

Dad of Molly Polly Pastor at the Mustard Seed Street Church Trail Runner

6 responses to “Maranatha”

  1. mm Joe Castillo says:

    The Bible also has a sober and realistic perspective on suffering. It affirms its inconceivable appearance, its tragedy, its amazing and oppressive weight. Nowhere does the Bible prohibit tears or present them as a sign of weakness. In fact, he recommends them when we are in the presence of those who suffer; Bible readers are called to “cry with those who cry.”

    • mm Chris Pollock says:

      Amen Joe. Appreciate that reminder on tears and taking heart. Recollecting Jesus now as a ‘man of sorrows’ (ref. Isaiah). Thank you for taking a second to comment here.
      Looking forward to connecting soon!

  2. mm Greg Reich says:

    Chris,
    Having spent 27 years in the natural gas pipeline world I can understand your concerns and frustrations. I can not speak to the issues surrounding oil pipelines due to the vast difference in the hydraulic dynamics and design differences. Sadly there is a catch 22 when cultural market demands want more and landowners want less. The world reliance on oil is a great concern to me not only because of environmental issues but also economical dependency issues as well. There is no easy answer to the energy needs of an ever growing population. Wind generation is as green as it gets but even then people complain about the huge wind generators scattered across the Washington countryside, as well as, the harmonics that cause issues in some upland game bird species. Your blog brings up a vast number of questions that are well beyond my ability to answer.

    • mm Chris Pollock says:

      Thanks Greg, appreciate the response to my post. Also, your experience in the thick of it, knowing the need and the cost. Your insights are helpful and honesty in not knowing, real! As we learn, hope we can feel comfortable enough to share.

      I’m trying to find balance and information to support feelings; understanding and words to give voice to the problem. Perhaps identifying a new way of being in the midst of what is perceived as ‘the problem’ is the key. The rush can be to get rid of the problem! Maybe we are in the midst of navigating a paradigm shift?

  3. mm Shawn Cramer says:

    I want to keep encouraging you to go down the path of liberation theology. It is largely dismissed and there is more to glean, I’m sure.

  4. mm John McLarty says:

    I’m wrestling with the relationship between apathy and exhaustion. At some point, we wear out, not because we don’t care, but because we’re just tired.

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