Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Russell Brand and the Numbness of Compliance

Russell Brand reportedly was kicked out of the GQ Awards after party because of remarks he made during his acceptance speech of an award he was given.

*Warning* swearing

I like Russell Brand, I like what he has to say.

I watched his programme on drug addiction.  He speaks with clarity and sanity.  He was arguing that the best way to deal with our drug culture and addiction is through abstinence.  He argued that by putting people who are addicted to heroin on Methadone simply exasperates the problem, continues to hold people in poverty and addiction and further compounds the issues of health, parenting, crime and self-worth.  I recently was having a coffee with someone I know who has been in and out of prison who said that the biggest drug dealer in prison is the NHS because of their supply of Methadone. He said that people dry it out to make it into a more potent drug and then sell it inside.

Russell Brands comments at the GQ Awards are sharp and insightful. Our memories are short,
our morals are narcissistic and our greed (for money, power, sex) knows no limit.  So we are ignorant to so much evil and violence because it does not directly (so we think) affect our lives.  Hugo Boss made the Nazi's uniforms?  Hey?
What Brand does here too is expose the nonsense and dullness and absurdness of the awards he is attending.  Seriously, what kind of world do we live in where money and time is spent on events like the GQ Awards?

Of course Brand is a part of the system and so his hands are not clean, as in fact none of our hands are, but it is good that people within it are seeking to expose the absurdness of it.

We see a numbness of compliance to the violent ways.

What does this all have to do with the Church?

Well when we, as a people, get so self-absorbed by our own status and desires we become ignorant of our own failings and the failings of the past.  We forget.  We compromise.  We become lazy.  We lose sight of the Way.

Therefore we need prophets to call us back to the Way.  We need those who do not call evil good and good evil but name our violence and our greed for what it is.  We need those who have not forgotten the One who called us to a Beatitude Way, a Philippians 2 discipleship, a nonviolent path following Jesus.  Prophets like Martin Luther King Jnr, Priscila Cadwallader and Oscar Romero.

I'm not saying Russell Brand is a prophet, but what I am saying is that his speech reminds me of how we need to get offended and drawn out our comfort zones.

The role of the prophet to Israel was to shock them from their numbness; numbness to injustice, evil, greed and oppression; numbness to their idolatry and rejection of God; numbness to their failure to love God and others.

A numbness of compliance to the violent ways.

The prophet would then lead the people to a place of grief.  Shocked out of their numbness they would begin to see the mess they were in and that grief would lead to despair. The realisation that they had so rejected the Way of YHWH would lead Israel to wail and mourn like one with no hope.

But hope will rise with healing in its wings.

The prophet would declare hope.

Jesus is a Prophet like no other who leads humanity from numbness to grief to despair to hope.

Hope rises from the grave, banishing the darkness bringing peace and a new Way.

So we must listen to those who faithfully declare the Way of Jesus, who live it and exemplify it through their actions.

Jesus' Way is one of nonviolence, peace and forgiveness.  That itself is so shocking to our violent ways and thinking that we dismiss it and justify our violence calling it good.  We need to be taken out of our apathy and numbness of compliance and led once again on the faithful path of discipleship.

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