Friday, 20 July 2012

Desperately Seeking Mana

The Preserve of Fools and Horses

Every society has its idiosyncrasies and fools.  The existence of tomfoolery is unavoidable in a fallen world.  How to deal with it?  Mockery and laughter are sometimes effective tools. 

It's a shame in many ways that Maori--many of whom seek mana above all else--end up the butt of jokes over their particular foolishnesses.  One could argue that the defensive, incessant quest for mana is a cruel idol.  The more mana is adulated and sought after, the more it betrays the seeker as having anything but.
  It's like the fool boasting about his humility.  Being caught "protesting too much" betrays insecurity, weakness, and the exact opposite of what is lusted after.

Ali G's self-parody of demanding "respek" from, and for, all and sundry became a powerful statement of disrespect for his guests and interviewees.  When men proclaim mana and demand respect accordingly they rapidly descend into parody--often unwitting self-parody.  The latest example risking this is the news that in New Zealand all District Courts will now make announcements in both English and Maori.
New Zealand's District Court staff will have to make announcements in Maori as well as English from next week.  The move has sparked both staunch support and opposition.

From Monday court registrars and attendants will open, adjourn and close sittings at the District, Family and Youth courts in both languages.
Another round of self-inflicted mockery and laughter will no doubt commence.  We recall a satirical programme some years ago where Maori had been demanding more air-time on national TV.  A satirical commentator wondered what on earth were Maori moaning about.  Did they not get plenty of national TV exposure and air-time in shows like "Crimewatch"? 

Pundits will no doubt make a similar same jibe about Maori being used in court announcements. 

Craving for mana is not the Christian way.  When the mother of the sons of Zebedee claimed mana for her children, trying to negotiate a special place for them in the coming Kingdom, our Lord rejected her request.  In the Kingdom of God, mana comes from God, not man.  He bestows it upon whom He will.  He bestows it upon those who eschew seeking it.  We are explicitly warned not to be like the Gentiles (that is, Unbelievers):
But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20: 25-28)
True greatness cannot be found by desperately seeking and demanding mana.  It's the way of Unbelief.  It is foolishness.  Its fruit is disastrous and rotten.  Only fools and horses seek it. 

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