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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Travelling the Road to Damascus - backwards

Most Christians will tell of the moment they realised that serving God was more important than serving mammon. Slap that epiphany in reverse and we have Tony Abbott. While he was studying to be a priest, Abbott had a reverse 'Road to Damascus' moment in which he realised that serving mammon was more important and interesting than serving the church.

On 4 September 2013, Tony Abbott appeared on the ABC TV's Kitchen Cabinet, being interviewed by Annabel Crabb. What struck me about this episode was Abbott's 'moment of clarity', when he realised what he'd rather be doing with his life. This moment didn't come when he was a godless heathen. No. It came while he was at seminary studying to enter the priesthood.

The following is a quote from Tony Abbott during that episode, about the moment he realised that serving mammon was more important than dedicating his life to God or the church:
'Well, there was, as a matter of fact. I was 29 years old, I'd been the president of the SRC at Sydney University, I had degrees in economics and law, I'd been a Rhode Scholar in Oxford, I was at the beginning of my fourth year as a seminarian and I was writing an essay on the desert fathers, a 500-word essay on the desert fathers. And I was falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon and I rang a mate of mine, and this particular mate of mine, who I had played rugby with at Sydney University, said to me when I called, he said, "Oh, Abbo, I can't actually make those drinks we're going to have next week." I said, "Oh", and I was shattered because you really look forward to those sorts of things when your life is as regular and at times dull as my life was then. And I said, "How come?" And he said, "You know that contract that Ansett are doing with British Aerospace." "I've got to go to London to sign the contract.” It was a £1.5 billion contract. I thought if he's doing something like that I am wasting my time writing 500-word essays on the desert fathers and I thought at that moment I've got to do something that's a better use of the rest of my life and that was it'.

Abbott thought that serving mammon was a better use of his time than serving God? Apparently, £1.5 billion is quite the eye-opener.

Well, I guess this is scriptural. After all, Matthew 6:24 states:
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
By his own words, Abbott stated he was wasting his time in the seminary. This wasn't a revelation early in his time there. He was in his fourth year ... and falling asleep.

Abbott obviously despised one master and loved the other.

When Christians wax lyrical about voting for Abbott because he is a 'decent, God-fearing man', it makes me cringe. They didn't say that about Kevin Rudd, even though he is also a God-fearing, church-going Christian. Had Rudd left seminary to pursue a life of power and wealth, I'm pretty certain most of the right-wing Christian groups would ... well ... crucify him ... to coin a phrase.

Abbott has shown over and again, that his service is to power, to popularity, and not to God or the bible. After all, he was a minister in the Howard government and didn't speak up once against the lies and abuses of that administration. Now, Howard was also apparently a 'decent, God-fearing' man if right-wing Christians are to be believed. Yet, Howard took Australia to war based on a lie, he victimised and persecuted the victims of persecution and war crimes, he covered-up his knowledge and involvement in tragedies such as Siev-X (which cost 353 lives), he fabricated the 'children overboard' affair and he lied about tax (remember 'no new taxes, tax increases or indirect taxes in my first term of Government' promise ... oh, but that was a 'non-core' promise ... my bad).

Christianity these days is so far removed from what Christ preached, that some Christians glorify demagogues such as Abbott and Howard. But then, some churches have embraced 'prosperity' doctrine, in which the tithe shall set you free.

Abbott does like to turn boats around ... so I guess in his own metaphorical Sea of Galilee, Abbott turned the boat around, away from the stormy service of dedicated Christianity, and headed back to shore where he could wallow in a world of power, wealth and travel rorts.

Vote for Abbott if that floats your boat ... or tows it ... or turns it around ... whatever your poison. But don't vote for him on the grounds of his version of Christianity being far superior to anyone else's.

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