Wednesday, December 23, 2009

About Shoplifting and priests..

I seem to have come a bit late to this story and have been quite intrigued about how it has been covered elsewhere. Mad Priest gave a very thorough report which was sidetracked in the subsequent discussion by a commentator following a different agenda and over at Steve's Place the story is seen as evidence of the church going to Hell in a hand-cart.

My own observation, for what it's worth, relates to the danger of basing a judgement on a sound-bite. Was the Revd. Tim Jones actually promoting the idea of unbridled theft as some commentators - including elements of our own press - seem to suggest or was there more to it?

Certainly amongst the majority of my Christian friends this is a non-story, hardly worthy of much attention, but then I do tend to inhabit the more radical end of Christian thought I know.

The nub of the issue seems to me to be three-fold:
1) If one is homeless, penniless and hungry in a wealthy society where this is not, sadly, uncommon and you have fallen through the safety net of the state's (fairly megre) provision, are you justified in shop-lifting?
2) Was the Revd. Tim Jones right to champion this given that he specified that it was only justified from large chain-stores?
3) Is Christian morality (or are Christian dilemmas) always black and white?

FULL TEXT OF SERMON HERE You really should read it before commenting.