Sunday, 16 September 2012

Taming the tongue

James 3:2
'For all of us make mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.'

In a week which saw the final publication of the truth about the Hillsborough cover up, a former Editor of The Sun accepted that the headline at the time of the disaster which famously read 'The Truth' (that victims were drunken, violent  hooligans with no tickets) should in fact have read 'Lies'.

'How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire' (James 3; 5b-6a)

I'm afraid George Bush Senior, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg also came in for some slightly harsh treatment this morning as we looked at James Chapter 3 in church together.

Read my lips: no new taxes

George Bush Snr., in 1988 in a soundbite which was the central plank of his acceptance address for his party's nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention.

As Presidents sometimes do, he later raised taxes. His words were used against him by the then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, a man who would later go on TV and swear 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman.'

That was a disaster - they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It's just ridiculous...She's just a sort of bigoted woman who used to vote Labour. I mean it's just ridiculous.

Andecdotal evidence suggests that even Vicars sometimes leave their roving mics on as they  return to the vestry after leading worship. So perhaps we're not the ones to judge. The fact that these words were played back to Gordon Brown live on Radio 2 was especially cringe making. The phrase 'curl up and die' springs to mind...

I should have been more careful perhaps. At the time I really thought we could do it. I just didn't know, of course, before we came into government, quite what the state of the finances were.

Nick Clegg on his party's U turn on University tuition fees, a gaffe which will ensure that no teenagers I know, at least, will be voting Lib Dem for a decade or so...

But before we get all self righteous, there's a sobering verse in James 3 about those of us who aspire to teach...'Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1).

To which the only response is 'Lord place a guard at the door of my mouth, a sentry at the door of my lips' (Psalm 141:3).


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