Phil Groom writes:
Responding to my post Empathising with the Enemy, Anne offers the following words of wisdom, words which also seem be an appropriate follow up to David Keen’s call to leave room for repentance and change:
1) If you’re going to take over the operation of a business, you’d better find out how that particular business works. Doesn’t matter if it’s a grocer’s, a sporting goods store, or a bookshop chain. If it’s to succeed, management needs specialized knowledge.
2) If you’re going to travel to a foreign country, and especially if you’re planning to do business there, you’d better acquaint yourself with the laws and customs of that country. Whether it’s complex issues like pensions and taxes or simple things like when people are accustomed to taking their lunch breaks or days off, any prudent business person would take the time to acquire this knowledge. Larger companies now hold orientations for their staff who travel. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is just as true today as it was 2,000 years ago.
3) If you are a lay Christian desirous of doing missionary work, it’s only common sense to submit yourself to the direction of your church’s leadership (bishops and priests in this case) both in your home country and in the country you plan to work in. This is certainly the religious and spiritual equivalent of Item 2. Jesus himself gave careful instructions to his disciples before he sent them off to do missionary work. A lot of those instructions involved their contacts with the locals.
There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that any of this was done. We therefore have a failing business venture, a lot of maltreated employees, and apparently a lot of co-religionists who are insulted and outraged. There was still time, when things began to go bad for the Brewers, for them to step back, make a realistic assessment, and gather their forces to move along on a better path. They chose not to do that. Instead, they resorted to a lot of clumsy and questionable legal tactics (slapdowns, threats of lawsuits, bogus bankruptcies) in a futile attempt to cover up their many mistakes and to escape the consequences.
It would be lovely to hear that they’d repented of at least some of this and intended to make amends. I think until that happens it’s probably more important to look after and help the injured.
For all the bitterness and anger that many may, quite rightly, feel towards the Brewers, let’s keep that final sentence in mind as the reason we’re here. And let’s join with Anne in offering this prayer for justice:
Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen