The former Govenor General’s Sir John Kerr’s communications with Her Majesty the Queen – Elizabeth II were released on Tuesday 14 July over the dismissal of then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam – this occurred one month ago. There will be years of pouring over these letters by the media and writers and academics and politicians ….
All this gives rise to the generic topic of hidden or secret or whatever – papers, documents, minutes of meetings in any given situation. We’re witnesses to this right now with the Victorian Government.
It has been said many times, any such non-disclosure protects the guilty. Whether this is true in every case or not, where there is smoke one will eventually find fire.
How many people have been seriously hurt emotionally and reputationally damaged by such actions so to prevent what actually took place as a fair and just outcome of whatever took place.
Thinks sports clubs and the office bearers, think chess clubs, think garden and associated organisations, think Scouts and Guides, think politics, think manoeuvrings in political stoushes to see a particular person to be candidate selected, think business and retail and banks and any other human activity.
Sadly, think churches and missions. I recall a Yes Prime Minister program where a Bishopric was coming up and the clever by half under handed means whereby there was only ever going to be one choice for the Prime Minister to approve.
But measure that against the myriad of situations in churches and missions where for one person to get up (to a higher position), another has to go. Sometimes it is a simple case of someone wanting to move on from the hustle and bustle of being in the centre of that activity. More often than not there are behind the scene dramas.
What are the issues
There are innumerable Biblical references to openness and honesty and integrity … we hardly need to list them there are so many.
The question, apart from that of underhandedness, is whether there is good reason for such activity. Perhaps the person in question is not up with IT and thinking of an age of pencil and paper. Perhaps the person has a touch of dementia. Perhaps the person is simply incompetent in a more complex world. Perhaps there are questions of fiscal integrity or behavioural concerns.
All of the above are legitimate and just. Many a time the person in question is refusing to budge. Something has to be done.
What of …..
In my 43 years of ministry I have seen go-down many dramas of someone being moved on for political reasons. Nothing to do with any of the above, rather of group of those around them - want someone of their ilk to in the chair (as it were).
In some sense this is referred to a mobbing and I have written of this previously.
This is something different. Why aren’t the documents released. Why isn’t the whole truth opened. Why isn’t a fair hearing before the entire membership expressed.
There are several reasons
The underhandedness would be revealed
Friendships might be destroyed
The frightening reality exposed
And on the other hand – the ideas put forward are something along these lines
Couldn’t go on as it was
New insights required
Fresh eyes with a holistic view
More than likely
It’s more than likely a horrible political play – that is my hunch and experience of 43 years in ministry. There will be a day when the papers will be open.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. The above photo is the upper part from this portrait.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html