Be more snake

  Niceness is not enough.  It is, however - and consistently - deeply touching to encounter hospitality, willing listeners, and  even more, engaged storytellers among the communities that make up  Eco-Congregation Scotland. If you’re doing good things, they need to be actively shared and visible. There are some  very nice people in this movement, of which a recent academic report nonetheless noted both our slowness to change, and our disarming level of modesty about our achievements.  But Jesus, who leads us here, whilst he’s always about love,  - even for your enemies  - does not train disciples in a wishy-washy trample-all-over-us ‘nice’ approach to Good news, justice and freedom.   Indeed, as scholars have convincingly shown, even ‘turning the other cheek’ is a subversive strategy in the face of Empire.   In Matthew 10:16, where Jesus is knowingly sending his vulnerable apostles out into a devious and malicious society, obsessed by greed and the preservation of privilege and the injustice of the status quo, he instructs them to be as ‘innocent’ as pigeons (*or if you really insist, “doves”) but as crafty/wise as snakes (*if you’re fussy, not the poisonous type). The proverbial craftiness of snakes gives the nuance, abundantly clear elsewhere, that though it is not for followers of Jesus to do harm, they should have their wits about them at least as much as the devious people they are likely to encounter. And thus craftiness in pursuit of justice should be recognised as a Gospel virtue.  Disingenuousness is no part of the equipment of the disciples. Overall then,  particularly when dealing with what you know full well are weak or bogus arguments against your responses to the climate crisis:  you’ve likely done ‘dove’: now’s the time to  be more snake!

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