Christ’s teachings reveal some strategies for shaping society

Queen Elizabeth II decided at 25 to serve instead of ruling. That has worked well.

Let us follow suit, because if we serve our country, then it will be a better place for everyone.

Christ set the tone of the Queen’s life by explaining that He came to serve too.

His teachings also provide a brilliant guide to how we can shape a fair and just society.

We, my family and I, heeded His teachings. Votergrams, FairGO, Voterlobby and Voters Network are built on those teachings. Like the house built on rock, they have continued to be successful.

The teachings on which they are built are often seen as related to spiritual matters, but Christ said that He came so that we might live life to the full and that surely meant as people on Earth.

“Ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be opened to you”. Votergrams help individuals to ask the very best people in Australia for help. Those people are the Members of Parliament. If you do not ask them all, there is little hope that they will do what you want. They are not psychic!

The Good Samaritan parable teaches us that we should look after those in need of being looked after. That is as well as looking after ourselves and those for whom we have direct responsibility. Peak bodies and community groups as well as individuals can use Votergrams to great effect to help their members.

In addition FairGO and Voterlobby consultants help people to achieve their goals through polite political persuasion in the relative privacy of parliament.

The parable of the sower is the basis of the success of Votergrams, for they enable people to sow ideas and suggestions throughout parliament. Some never gets read. Some is read and discarded. Some MPs decide to act but get distracted by other jobs. But some MPs pick up the Votergram and act on it. That yields huge results. It helps thousands of people, such as the 35,000 not killed on Australian roads since we used Votergrams from 1987 to force down the road toll, or like the thousands of travellers around the world who don’t any more suffer the impact of passive smoking whilst flying on commercial airlines, thanks to a Seventh Day Adventist Votergram campaign to ban smoking on Australian commercial airlines.

The parable of the woman knocking on the judge’s door to get justice and getting it, not because he wanted to help her but because he wanted her to stop knocking, teaches us to be persistent with Votergram campaigns and not stop until the objective is achieved. Cutting the road toll took 20 years.

Christ urged us to pray to God in private rather than in public so that God answers our prayers in private. In the same way our Votergrams communicate in private with every MP in the privacy of parliament. Public protests and strikes embarrass the government MPs, making them look “wrong” or dishonest. Public humiliation tends to make most of us react to justify what we have been doing and so protests and strikes make MPs defend their present practices, which is exactly the opposite of what the strikers or protesters want.

Christ said that with faith we could move mountains. I don’t suppose He was desperately keen to see mountains being moved around. Rather it was a figure of speech that said if you believe you can , you probably can and if you believe you can’t, you probably can’t. I remember being told that cutting the road toll was impossible, but with faith I was able to reduce it from 17 per 100,000 to 5 per 100,000. I had faith that Parliamentarians could change the laws, driver education, enforcement, influence trucking industry behaviour and design of cars and roads; faith that killing was not a necessary part of driving. When government was determined to do nothing about the killings, I campaigned in one marginal seat at a by-election and the government lost the seat. Then it decided to listen and gradually started to act on cutting the road toll. I persisted for 20 years as the toll continued to fall. I stopped then from lack of support and resources at 5 killed per 100,000 and the decline stopped there too.

I doubt that many Christians have realised how much Christ’s teachings can inform us about the unknown secrets of democracy. Many people believe that it brings “fair, just government for the benefit of the people” but are angry that it is not doing that. They do not realise that it will only happen if they follow Christ’s advice to make it happen. A fair and just society does not rest with God. God has given us all the tools and lessons to make it fair and just.  It is up to us to make it happen. For Christians that means serving our fellow Australians with the knowledge Christ has given to us. Democracy gives us the best chance at “fairness and justice” but they do not come automatically. Leaders are  just as self-interested as they ever were. But in democracy we can exchange votes for fairness and withdraw them if it is denied. That is usually not needed. Politicians want to help when asked nicely.

Christians in other countries may also be able to achieve the same results as long as they realise that it requires carrots and sticks to make it work. “Speak quietly but carry a big stick” is the guiding phrase. The big stick is a willingness to put party politics aside and campaign in a marginal electorate against the government if it will not do what is required to make the society “fair and just for all”. It is easy, but requires some good strategies, including not criticising the government at all. For Christ also taught that it is the words that come out of our mouths that can cause harm.

Let’s do what we can to serve our country well and reap the rewards along with others.

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