When browsing social websites such as Facebook, what I'm hoping to find is a direct message to me, or one where I get a personal mention, but failing that, a poster on which I would click "like", or posting an emoji reflecting on my emotional response to the poster (mostly the laughing image, but the one showing astonishment often appear as well). Like that, the one who posted the item in the first place will be aware that someone has taken notice.
It's rather like a game, or a contest even, to see how many "likes" the poster will collect, not to mention the growth of the comment forum beneath. Therefore it's easy to assume that if I was to post something, and even after 24 hours, had collected totally nothing, no one had seen it. More likely though, it was seen by quite a few but failed to meet anyone's approval or raised any eyebrows, nor was it worth commenting upon. Many of my own posters on Facebook, some involving videos, pass on with no response whatsoever.
Therefore when posters either supporting or ridiculing Brexit appeared on my timeline, either I clicked "like" under those which advocated staying in the EU - or comment on why I disagreed with those supporting leaving. Often, together with other contributors, both for and against, quite an intelligent messaging board would at times grow beneath the poster, often to do with the fate or our future post-Brexit economy. Into these forums, I have added my two-bit worth when I felt it was appropriate to do so.
But lately, since our PM's Brexit deal was recently rejected by Parliament, quite a conglomerate of pro-Brexit posters began appearing on my message wall, all of them showing support for a no-deal exit from the EU. It was then when I got fed up with such input into the social media that I ceased commenting, and I began to ignore them.
Until one showed up just a couple of days ago. It featured a smartly-dressed English businessman walking away from the European flag, the circle of twelve stars, carrying one of the stars with him under his arm, along with his briefcase and what appears to be a box containing legal documents.
This time I didn't respond with any likes or with emoji, whether laughter, astonishment, sadness or even anger. This was because I have had enough with the topic at hand after making enough comment contributions. From now on I felt that just passing these posters by and ignoring them is now my best option. After all, these former discussions from either side, even from the best of learning and intelligence, still fail to edify. They do not bring any believer closer to God nor bring the unbeliever to his conviction of sin and his need for a Saviour.
But when I came across this image (pictured above), posted by a good friend of mine and an ardent Brexit supporter, I could not help but gaze at it. That is because of how the image fits in so well with the meaning of Brexit. The figure is that of a white Englishman dressed as a City gentleman, a banker, perhaps, or some other professional who holds a university degree, therefore conveying the idea (at least to me anyway) that the Englishman as of an ethnic race and cultural standing is superior to the rest of Europe, and deemed the Continental bloc as too unworthy to merit his membership.
However, his headwear looks a bit out of synch from the rest of his clothing. Resembling a Jewish kippah or yarmulke, it's most likely a normal cloth cap which was worn by the working class man at a pub or men's club, found up North, for example, in the suburbs of industrial townships such as Newcastle, Sheffield, or Middlesborough. If the artist has made an effort to portray a social cross-class figure walking out of the EU, then I must say that he didn't make a very good job of it!
All on the same week when one major company owner, James Dyson, another ardent advocate of Brexit, decided to uproot and move his headquarters from England to Singapore. Although he's strongly in denial that this move has any connection with leaving the European Union, nevertheless, howls of "Hypocrite!" ran through Parliament, through the streets and particularly through the Media. Of course, it can be argued among Leavers that as a private company owner, whose business is for us to buy his bagless vacuum cleaner, he can do what he pleases. If there is a potential market waiting in the Far East as well as holding good stakes in the EU, then why not? In a choice between patriotism and money, it's money which always wins.
Then there is Jacob Rees-Mogg. I often refer to him as the Englishman's darling, despite my awareness that a large percentage of the British population loathes him. He is head of the European Research Group (ERG). Pardon me here, but isn't the name somewhat deceptive? Research? I always believed that the meaning of the word was to find out the truth about something, to investigate materials and sources to establish the facts. For example, I am familiar with Creation Research, an American Christian organisation investigating the truth of Creation in opposition to Uniformitarian Geology and the Theory of Evolution. I have one of their books, The Genesis Flood, by Whitcombe and Morris, using both anthropology and geology to establish the truthfulness of the Biblical account.
The ERG is not about investigating the history, culture, economic or even the physical structure of the European bloc in order to gather facts in a neutral sense. Rather it's a group of Tory politicians campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union. As far as I'm aware, their object is for us to leave the EU without any form of deal or agreement with Brussels in order to restore our nation's sovereignty. That doesn't look like research to me, but more like lobbying. But despite Rees-Mogg's patriotic zeal, I can't help smelling a whiff of hypocrisy when I read about him stashing two of his investments at a Dublin bank in the Irish Republic, a member of the EU. Truly speaking, are Dyson and Rees-Mogg afraid with what could happen to the British economy post-Brexit?
|English Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg|
And who can forget Boris Johnson? He is the one who was the strong advocate of Leave prior to and during the 2016 Referendum. Still harbouring a long-held desire to become the leader of the Conservative Party and sit at the desk in 10 Downing Street, in June 2018 this man resigned from his Cabinet post of Foreign Secretary when things got a bit too hot under his collar concerning the PM's Chequers Agreement and Brexit. I suppose I could rate him as a coward on this issue, abandoning a sinking ship rather than make an effort to refloat it. But he too is rankled with hypocrisy. In 1993 he divorced his first wife, Allegra, after just six years of marriage, and then separated from his second wife Marina in 2018 after 25 years of marriage, to date a much younger woman as at present. As one American boss once said when he fired one of his employees for committing adultery: If you cannot be loyal to your own wife, how can you be loyal to the company?
And I will always remember good old David Cameron, our former Tory Prime Minister. It was he in February 2016, who called for a national referendum whether to leave or stay in the EU. He was an avid Remainer, along with his pal, Chancellor George Osborne, who himself had a beady eye on number 10. When they lost the vote in June 23rd, 2016, Cameron resigned as PM the morning after. If there is a Government leader doing a runner so quickly after defeat rather than engage in the difficult task ahead, then it has to be an Eton-educated politician.
I can see three famous Etonians here in British politics - Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and David Cameron. Between all three there is adultery (Luke 16:18), hypocrisy and cowardice. Yet despite all this, there is something so honourable about having an education at Eton. It not only opens the door to Oxbridge but to acting as well, so I once read. Drama lessons have taken a high priority at Eton and other public schools. And here is the irony. Hypocrisy has its root word from Hupokrisis, an ancient theatrical act. The theatre is the home for actors - people who are paid to put on a different character outside their own for the benefit of onlookers.
|Greek Theatre, Siracusa, Italy - visited 1982 and 2007.|
Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy, particularly in religious people (for example, Matthew chapter 23). It fulfils what Isaiah once wrote,
These people come to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules made up by men.
And yes, it is easy to look upon the lifestyles of others, especially among those in the public eye. But here I need to ask,
Am I offering to remove a speck from someone's eye without realising that there is a log in my own eye?
I guess this is a very easy trap to fall into. As one public preacher once said in a large auditorium,
Even if you do not feel so white in your lifestyle: If you see another who looks black in moral issues, at least it makes your greyness appear as white.
I suppose that questioning another person's way of life and finding something to criticize and a judge is a kind of self-preservation against guilt. But unfortunately, as it seems, although such critical judgement may make me feel good about myself, but not before God. And concerning worshipping God at church with heartless lips is something I'm fully aware of. I'm not guiltless. One of my main concerns is about how others in the room feel about me. Or being cut up by a bad car driver and arriving at the church in a bad or angry mood. Or it could be daily worries, such as finance, which is putting me down. Or worse than all these, it could be plain apathy. Moving my lips during praise but my heart isn't into worshipping God.
Yes, I am guilty. And it makes things worse to watch others praise the Lord in what appears to be with genuine affection. But I also aware that in the privacy of my own closet I kneel before and confess my shortcomings before God, including hypocrisy, not only would I be forgiven but this could be the start of real, genuine worship.