a higher accountability

Political elections are prime moments for sieving through an opponent`s past with a fine-tooth comb, and offering any discovered skeletons on a silver platter to the media.

Canadians are off to the polls, and the circus has begun. Our election was called on March 26, and voting will take place on May 2. Meanwhile, our friends to the south are beginning coverage of their 2012 election. Six weeks of substance-less debates and mutual character smearing is all that I can handle. God bless all my American friends!

The same question is raised whenever a personal scandal is unveiled. Do we have the right to judge the private lives of public leaders? I say, yes we do. Ideally, the role of government service is to seek and promote justice, peace, and the well-being of all citizens. Leadership is a position of trust. If you are not trustworthy in your private dealings, how can I believe that you will be trustworthy while holding the purse-strings and making decisions for the nation? Should I not expect a higher accountability, a certain moral standard of my leaders?

What about the accountability of our religious leaders? What about the accountability of all who call themselves Christian? What about my own accountability?

Mahatma Gandhi seriously explored Christianity and considered converting in his early years. Unfortunately, when he tried to attend a church service in South Africa he was turned away with a racial slur. His respect for Jesus and his teachings continued all his life. His respect for Christians needed to be earned. His famous line was

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

These are challenging words as we continue to journey through Lent. How well do my actions stand up to the faith that I profess? How accountable am I?

3 thoughts on “a higher accountability

  1. Isabella:
    Thank you dear friend for introducing some of Gandhi’s words today. Seven years ago I studied some of the Hindu Scriptures and came away with a deeper understanding of our Christian Scriptures. I have been working towards what Gandhi said about us and the Jesus he honored during his entire life…he certainly was “right-on.” It is not an easy Path, but one worth using as a model. Yes, believe it or not…we are really more One than we realize. Today, it’s more than ecuminism (uniting Christian communities) it is understanding and accepting with the heart, all religions…without intention to “convert”… but embracing the belief that God, is God, is God…while respecting the other.
    The Following is from Gandhi’s book…ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS. No offense to women…this was published in 1960:
    Let no one even for a moment entertain the fear that a reverent study of other religions is likely to weaken or shake one’s faith in one’s own. The Hindu system of philosophy regards all religions as containing the elements of truth in them and enjoins an attitude of respect and reverence towards them all. This of course presupposes regard for one’s own religion. Study and appreciation of other religions need not cause a weakening of that regard; it should mean extension of’ that regard to other religions. (SB, 226)

  2. Chris, thank you so much for taking this simple reflection to a deeper level. Gandhi was truly a committed seeker of matters of the soul. He reminds us all of the need to genuinely live our faith in our actions. And, you show how true seekers remain open to the truth beyond the limited radius of our own experiences. Thank you!

  3. “If you are not trustworthy in your private dealings, how can I believe that you will be trustworthy…(“in other things” – my words). What about the accountability of our religious leaders? What about the accountability of all who call themselves Christian?” Thanks, Isabella for this honest account of the shadow side of our Church and its’ related institutions.
    Being a Catholic in 2011, requires “cognitive dissonance,” a “for better or worse” perseverance and a sometimes hopeless expectation of even kindness and fairness by those who lead even at lower levels of administration in the church and related structures. No longer is clericalism limited to just the ordained, it is now easy to spot in both lay women and men in ministry for religious organizations.
    It is difficult for any reflective person not to humbled, but also to vibrate to these words of Gandhi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

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