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  • Writer's picturejaredrrolston

Critiquing My Team

The Reason for a Critique

This past month I’ve been too busy to blog and it has been hard. I'm working six days currently, and I have a wife and four kids that need my love and attention, so That Jolly Lumberjack hasn’t been a priority. But I’ve had a lot that I would have loved to write down about this month’s dump load of so-called kindness. So, with this free Saturday afternoon, I’ve had the difficult decision of choosing which thing to write about.

In the past two blog posts, I’ve shown my appreciation for the things Brian Tamaki and the Freedom & Rights Coalition have been doing. I appreciate anyone who is sticking their neck out publicly to oppose our government's overreach, especially pastors. And there are many others who are doing good work for the freedom of New Zealanders. Leighton and Chantelle Baker, and those at Voices for Freedom are also doing an excellent job fighting for our freedom. They’ve been covering all the developments very well and have offered us some excellent resources at the same time.

So, since the actions of Jacinda and her tyrannous squad have been well covered elsewhere, I thought I’d say something that I haven’t heard anyone else say. Having publicly given my support to The Freedom & Rights Coalition, I think it is important for me to publicly point out where I think they have gone wrong. Today, we see people picking their team and sticking to them no matter what. We hate seeing the lack of internal critique on the other side, so we should be willing to have some in our own camp.

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” (Philippians 4:5)

When I criticize our current government, I’m doing so with the hopes that we would soon see them lose their powers of oppression entirely. With this critique, I hope to strengthen a movement that I’m in support of. I hope that this important difference is understood. I believe that some of the tactics that are currently being employed, while they have the appearance of power, are actually weakening us in our fight for freedom in this country. So I believe that this critique is in service of our greater good.

The Great Gridlock

The Christian faith teaches us that true power is accessed from a counter-intuitive source. Jesus, having the power of all the angels of heaven at his fingertips, did not call them down when he was being beaten by his fellow Jews. This decision is perplexing to the natural man who only understands the power that comes from this world. So, Jesus, in the middle of this unjust persecution, explained to Pilate that the righteous do not seek to gain their freedom by earthly force. “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Those in the regions that are locked down are under true persecution currently, as well as those who are choosing not to take the mRNA vaccine. People are being restricted, fired, and shamed by the order of the government. And it is right for us, particularly in a nation that has the freedom of medical choice established in the Bill of Rights, for us to seek justice for ourselves and our neighbors. But there are right and wrong ways to go about this. There is true power and false power.

The Great Gridlock is a power move. It seeks to disrupt the lives of all those who are in traffic so that the government would notice us and be forced into change. I understand the frustration that has led to this move, but I think it is wrong-headed and not helpful. Labour is currently diving in the polls, and I believe that this, in part, is due to the consciences of our nation coming alive to the oppression of their people. Though the majority may be believers in the vaccine, they are witnessing good people losing their jobs and they understand that it is wrong. With the gridlocks, rather than increasing the public sympathy for our cause, we’re in danger of increasing their anger and undoing some of our support.

If we engage in tit-for-tat tactics, we become hypocrites and lose the moral ground that we stand on. If they are wrongly limiting our freedoms through the police force, we shouldn’t in turn limit the freedom of the public by the force of stopping/slowing traffic. I understand that there is a major difference in the degree of force, but they are of the same kind – worldly uses of force and disruptive of lawful behavior. I believe this is participating in the same sins as the government.

It comes down to the question of authority. What or who gives us the authority to hinder someone's movement? I think the only one that can give us this authority is God, and there is nothing in His word that justifies this kind of public disruption. And if I'm correct that this is not in keeping with the revealed will of God, then nothing good can come from it. This tactic has already been tried in Australia and nothing good came from it there. People were fined and arrested, and the government there has only gotten bolder and harsher.

So what should we be doing?

“For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:19–21)

It is counter-intuitive, but the patient endurance of suffering speaks powerfully to those who witness it, to both men and God. This doesn’t mean that we can’t make an appeal to our leaders for justice. It means that when they strike us we don’t strike back. If we pair this kind of endurance with prayer and faith in the one who rules from heaven, this will eventually lead to our deliverance, for God is the just judge of all those who rule over mankind.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17–21)

Those burning coals are powerful. I think that those who believe in mandates will have a harder time with them when they see their neighbors lose their jobs. The true cost of a mandate hasn’t been seen yet. They will feel the pain of their evil choices, like embers on the head, when they see people suffering due to a lack of staff in our education and health sectors.

The Place for Civil Disobedience

In saying these things, I don't want people to think that there is no room for civil disobedience in the Christian worldview. If the government asks us to sin or stops us from obeying God, we must disobey the government. Under tyrannical governments, this will cause us to suffer, but this is just how our Christian forefathers suffered throughout the ages.

And as it said in the passage in 1 Peter above, if we are going to suffer, it should be for doing good. We should open up our churches immediately. It is lawful, according to God and our Bill of Rights, and it won’t disrupt others. Some are getting fines and time in prison for holding protests. How much better to get fines and imprisonment for worshiping the living God. We will see them ramp up their persecution, but since this will lead to good fathers being stripped away from their families, it's not going to play well on camera, and I believe this will only add more hot coals to the heads of those pushing tyranny.

It’s hard, but we’ve got to be patient. Giving the government ultimatums and time frames “or else” won’t help. Let the sole source of our power be the patient proclamation of the truth and doing good to those around us. We shouldn’t expect immediate results. Good social change has never come about instantaneously. If we want long and sturdy peace in this nation, we should seek the reestablishment of our Bill of Rights, which is a good and true expression of our God-given rights.

Some Uncomfortable Implications

This leads to my second critique of the "Freedom" movement. The Bill of Rights is a convenient handle for our movement to swing from at the moment. But if we’re going to use this tool now, we have to acknowledge that this tool had just as much authority when we weren’t willing to pick it up. If the Bill of Rights condemns our government's current actions, it also condemns the things that we once approved.

When the lockdowns were first put in place, did anyone care that they stripped away our God-given rights? To begin with, the idea of lockdowns was received with near-universal approval, which means that every person who now participates in the protests once approved of the things they now wish to overturn. This means that the difference between us and the government is only that we have recently changed our minds.

Does this mean that we can’t protest at all without looking like hypocrites? No. What it does mean is that we should publicly repent lest we will look like hypocrites. I think this would be extremely helpful for our cause and it would probably temper some of the anger that is present at these protests. We should acknowledge that the Bill of Rights applied all along, but because of media-induced fear, we caved. We gave up on the Bill of Rights too. This means that when we condemn our government for piling debt on future generations of New Zealanders, we too should wear some of the responsibility for our lockdown expenses.

In Conclusion - Christmas

Please understand that I am not distancing myself from the Freedom & Rights Coalition and those who participate in these gridlocks. I am with you all in spirit, but I think we could go about this better together. I still look forward to coming down to the picnics. But If we are unwilling to hear reason and seek to improve each other, we are just as bad as the vaccine peddlers who walk around with their fingers in their ears.

It is coming up to Christmas, and there is no better time of year to call all New Zealanders to consider the impact of Christianity on our culture. The tremendous peace and prosperity that Western nations have enjoyed for so long came from another counter-intuitive source, a baby born in a manger. 2000 years on we sing,

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,

And in His name all oppression shall cease,

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;

Let all within us praise His Holy name!

Our only hope is that we return to this source of peace. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so as we endeavor to solve our political problems we need to return to the counter-intuitive spiritual solutions of Christ. There is a way that seems right to man but its end is destruction (Proverbs 14:12). May our nation repent and draw hope from the all-powerful, invisible God of the universe.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)

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Thank you for your well written piece. I have missed your musings. I thought deeply whether I should join the Motorcade thinking this could play into the Government's hand and decided not to attend. I then received the Freedom and Rights Coalition guidelines on the motorcade and thought they were not too disruptive eg driving at 50km/hour. So at 12 O'clock complete with signage, hazard links blinking, and NZ Flags blazing I hopped onto the motorway at Highbrook selecting the Southern direction I soon linked up with 4 other vehicles and we proceeded down State highway 1 to the turn off to the airport, tooting and waving. Travelling North on Highway 20 I could see in the distance that t…

Nov 13, 2021
Replying to

Hi Peter. Thanks for your feedback. It's hard because we all wish that there was more that we could do. I understand all those like yourself who joined in because it was a form of pushback. It's important that we hit our target though. The government doesn't care about a bit heavier traffic. They only care about polls and having bad optics. I think that we had bad the optics yesterday.

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