Events in Downing Street and the Police etc raise questions about today’s standards in public life. Institutional racism and sexism in the Metropolitan Police may be “hang-overs” from a time before society’s attitudes changed, or a reaction again a so-called “woke” agenda. But either way have not been dealt with or even recognised.
The old City adage “my word is my bond” did not prevent the diversion of the financial sector from its traditional role of serving the interest of society by enabling industry and commerce, into creating wealth for itself where that was easier and more immediately profitable: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m0013xch/the-decade-the-rich-won So should the banks become public utilities, with their speculative sections separated and deprived of their “too big to fail” status?
Has there been a “moral decline” in the “ruling class”- or is society today more open and transparent (increasingly now because of social media). Bill Clinton could not get away in the 1990s with what John F Kennedy could in the 1960s. And who are the “ruling class?” Do we mean those who have power in government and business (and with strong links between these two).
Is there today an acceptance of “cutting corners” and breaking rules to “get the job done”? (eg small businesses and Boris Johnson with Brexit- though some “corner cutting” has a bigger impact on society than others).
Walter Wink (US theologian, lived 1935 to 2012) suggests that institutions develop a corporate identity and culture of their own, which influences (or “controls”?) the attitudes and behaviour of individuals (even the CEO). So is individual action the only way to change institutions, or must we develop corporate ways to create justice? Is there a tension between “Law” and “Grace” – creating rules and laws to govern society (at the possible risk of driving destructive attitudes “underground”) or depending on the good will of individuals?
The reading (from February 2nd) was the Presentation of Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple (Luke 2:22 to 40) with Simeon’s words to Mary that “a sword will pierce your own soul also” (verse 15). Much of the Bible deals with trauma- in family relationships or nations suffering from defeat and subjugation (as Israel under the Romans at the time). Its aim is to bring consolation and healing- but in the case of Jesus it is precisely the act of bringing liberation and healing, and the sacrifice that involves that creates the trauma for his mother.