No Influence and No Money

I was reading a couple of articles recently about two very seemingly separate topics. Yet both articles have common themes of influence and money.

The first article was about the company who was listing itself on the stock exchange, looking for investors (Read “Cold War” article here). The company is the one that makes that Cold-FX product that is endorsed by Don Cherry and the article was about the questions around whether the studies done prove it works to strengthen a person’s immunity to resist or defeat the common cold or not. This was not a science article, or a health article, or a hockey article, but a business article. It was about money. It was to inform the reader as a potential investor and to provide additional information to help you decide if you believe that this product and this company’s business model will work and make you a profit. Will you be influenced by celebrity endorsements, by company funded clinical studies, and by consumer claims, or by the retractors that cast doubt on the scientific claims? Will you spend your money on it or its stock?

The second article was also shared the theme of influence and money. The article was published in the Episcopal diocese of Washington’s church newspaper (read “Following the Money: Part 1” article here). It was about the non-Anglican and secular funding being provided to theologically conservative groups like the “Institute on Religion and Democracy” and large donations of a politically influential and conservative Episcopalian who funds personally close to half of the budget of the conservative “American Anglican Council.” The funding of these two groups has been used has enabled them, as the article attempts to show,

“to mount a global campaign that has destabilized the Episcopal Church and may break up the Anglican Communion.”

The article is a very interesting read. This is not an article about the bible, or an article about faith, but an article about church politics and secular influence on those politics.

Jesus, in chapter 10 of John’s Gospel, warns us of the dangers of influence and money and also reminds his ultimate goal of unity. When Jesus says, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (Jn 10:16) he reminds us that he is always looking beyond the boundaries of our little flock.

Jesus sees a bigger picture than most of us would imagine possible, and has a fuller vision than those who wish to fracture our Anglican flock into something even smaller flocks. Jesus reminds us of his ultimate goal to gather all the flocks together so that there would be “one flock, one shepherd”.

Even more importantly, Jesus in the John 10:11-15 warns us followers today about being lead by anyone other than the Himself, the Good Shepherd. It is a warning that understands the deceptive power of influence and money. Jesus warns against the “Hired Hand”, whose only connection to the flock is that they have been paid to watch the sheep. They do not love them nor does the flock belong to this “hired hand”. Yet, when times are good and no danger threatens the “hired hand” would work just like the shepherd and the flock might not sense the difference. It is when the real danger arrives that the “hired hand” is fully revealed. For when the wolf really arrives then the “hired hand” will decided that they no longer want to stay around to do the job. Only Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the one who continues to love us enough to die to save us.

No money, no influence, just love.