Parables of Perspective

A Parable on Civil v. Ecclesiastical Law

Suppose you were shipwrecked on an uncharted, deep South Pacific Island, leaving 2,000 passengers stranded. Weeks go by without any sign of rescue. Burning fires all night, while flying kite-like-flags from hill-tops all day, had zero success. Not even a single plane had been spotted in the distant sky. People grew more discouraged, depressed, and irritable, day by day.

Cool mornings hinted autumn was around the corner, with winter just beyond the horizon. Decisions had to be made, as summer fruit was becoming harder to find. The Ship Captain sent messengers among the people to call for a meeting the next day at high-noon, on the highest hill over yonder.

Next day the Captain climbed to the summit and motioned for all to be quiet: then he began to speak. Slowly and deliberately, but with a very firm resolve through a make-shift bull-horn he declared: “We have some problems and we must get organized some kind of way.” After a long pause he continued.

“There have been several fights in recent days, with some fairly serious injuries. More belongings are being reported stolen every day, with accusations, and threats being made. Food is getting ever-more-scarce. Some of the elderly have no one to help them gather food. Some have sustained serious injury while searching for food. Several of you with health problems have run out of medicine. None of us have extra clothes, none of us have proper shelter, and it is getting colder by the day. He paused even longer.

Ship-Wrecked on a South Pacific IslandA Parable on Civil v. Ecclesiastical Law

“We need medical personnel to come forward to be identified.” A few folk did, one of which was a doctor. “We need people who know how to fish and hunt to come forward.” About 100 did so. “Now we need carpenters and builders to step forth.” About 50-60 gathered round. “We also need strong men willing to cut trees and carry lumber long distances.” Twenty or so of the youngest men volunteered. “Does any one know how to tan hides, sew, or make garments” the Captain inquired? A couple of men and about 30 women stepped up. “We also need teachers to keep the children up on their studies when they are not busy helping with the work.” A dozen teachers assembled.

The Captain declared. “I am neither the King nor the Law. I’m just a sailor. We must organize a government of some kind, with a court, a couple of judges, some advocates, a system of appeal, jury selection, and make simple and fair laws. Do we have any lawyers or judges to help us put something together?” Two judges and five lawyers went up the hill. However, NONE of them were from the same country. In fact 17 different nations were represented among the stranded passengers, with each wanting laws like they had at home.

The murmuring grew loud quickly, and the Captain motioned again for silence. He paused, then called out: “Some have died. Does anyone want to organize a Church for prayer and encouragement – for funerals, and weddings?” Two young couples shouted out they wanted to get married as soon as possible. The captain called for ministers and 8 went to the top of the hill. The Captain asked them to call-out their faith - which ranged from Roman Catholic to Muslim. NONE of them were of the same denomination, and some moved immediately, not wanting to stand beside others. The murmuring grew louder again.

In sheer desperation the Captain, shouted: “All who wish to organize some kind of religious group with a system of worship, perhaps put together some Scriptures by memory, and work on building a meeting house, gather over here.” About 1,200-1,500 of the people formed a group in the distance, began registering their names on a roll-call for voting, and were already discussing their issues. Arguing broke out immediately in 20 places.

Then the captain called out: “All who wish to participate in setting up a civil government with a couple levels of courts, a ‘council’ of some kind to draw up a basic constitution, a police department to deal with violence, and begin to build a jail and government offices – and I almost forgot – we’ll need some kind of currency for money, and a way to control it. Will all interested persons in Civil Government please gather to the other side from the Church-folk?” Again, about 200-300 gathered together and arguing ensued.

The rest – about 500-600 - decided to address the issues of food, shelter, a make-shift school, a clinic of sorts for the sick, gathering firewood, and the possibilities of making weapons to hunt and fish with. Loud voices provoked flaring tempers.

Because of the urgency, basic necessities of food, safety and medical care were put together and they were to meet to vote after discussing all these things for a weekShip-Wrecked on a South Pacific IslandA Parable on Civil v. Ecclesiastical Law

The whole group reassembled at the high-hill 7-days later to elect a leader, assistant, judges, police chief, school principal, clinic administrator, etc. Lawyers read the proposed constitution. Amazingly, with all of the arguing and flaring tempers and fights all week long, it wasn’t too difficult to get agreement on the following issues:

1] Every one gets to vote, when they leave school to begin full-time work

2] Everyone gets to put forth serious ideas to the group, speaking at a podium, in turn.

3] Discussion of issues will continue until a majority vote closes discussion to vote

4] New laws will be proposed by a council and passed by a simple majority.

5] Criminals will be found guilty by at least 3-out-of-4 majority

6] A Council will be elected to meet here, each day at dusk, to discuss urgent issues.

7] A Citizen’s Meeting will be held weekly after religious services for voting on Council recommendations.

8] All Council members, officers and all leaders will preside for one year terms.

9] No one can serve as leader of any institution more than one-in-four years.

10] Leaders of all groups will be chosen from an approved group by lot

11] Every week - all leaders of all groups – Council President & Members, School Principal, Judges, Police Chief, Pastors & Lawyers will have their name put in a hat for possible Temporary Removal from Office, for too much influence, incompetence, abuse of power, bad attitude, etc.. Any name getting 33% of all votes must step down, losing right to hold office for three years.

12] A quorum of 70% must be present for legal action to take place.

13] Not answering weekly roll-call for a month forfeits voting/speaking for one year

14] All citizens get to vote on all laws applied to them.

15] All taxes must to be approved by a majority of all citizens as well

Things went fine with the Constitutional Procedures of Government, UNTIL they began to make the actual laws governing daily behaviour.

About 30% of citizens wanted ‘Legalized Drugs & Gambling’ as marijuana & opium grew wild on the island. About 40% wanted legalized alcohol, and a couple of moonshine-stills were already in operation. One-in-three favored prostitution & strip clubs in restricted areas with the age of consent at age 16. About 40% wanted abortion – especially since there were no birth-control pills available – and about 40% wanted no-fault divorce, sex-before-marriage, and euthanasia for all adults who said their pain exceeded their enjoyment of life.

The Church people of most groups were angrily against ALL of these issues, and should have been able to make them illegal by a simple majority vote. However, there was a major problem. Nearly HALF of all the serious Church folk BELIEVED THE CHURCH SHOULD STAY OUT OF GOVERNMENT-&-POLITICS, neither to run for office or vote. These believers thought they should spend ALL OF THEIR TIME WINNING THE LOST AND HELPING THOSE IN NEED, leaving the ‘Dirty Business of Politics’ to non-believers.

Legalizing the mentioned vices all passed by small majorities, to the great despair of all religious people. Those who didn’t believe in Christians Voting organized a 24/7 Prayer Chain for God to convict the people about the serious nature of these sins – but to no avail. Life was hard on the Island. There were no grocery stores and no machines to do the work. Most people struggled with depression at the difficulty of life that lay ahead.

Over time, there became an ever-greater number of persons who succumbed to alcohol and drugs. Likewise, the number continually grew who wanted to make an easy living from alcohol & drugs, gambling & prostitution – especially among the young people – as compared to the hard work and danger of injury faced by the hard-labor of farmers, builders, wood-cutters and laboring trades.

With Secular Government in charge of Civil Law, the schools quickly degenerated into cesspools-of-sin: atheism, alcohol, abortion, evolution, euthanasia, legalized drugs and gambling, semi-nudity & open prostitution. With age-of-consent at 16 and strip-club-dancing and prostitution being the easiest and quickest way for young girls to make money, most girls were dressing and acting like the harlots they secretly aspired to become, at ever-earlier ages. Many didn’t wait until age 16 for legal license, and the high school drop-out rate increased alarmingly. Less and less young people were religious and Church was a sea-of-gray-heads.

A surprising number of people were eventually in jail – what with under-aged prostitution, illegal drug usage & sales, gambling and crime – having to be fed, clothed, medically treated and guarded. Most alcoholics & drug addicts were unable to work, and those with serious venereal disease increased over time. Rape and child abuse-&-molestation were ever-more-rampant. Alcoholism increased since it was kept in most homes as the only pain medicine on the Island, and was used for everything from arthritis to sleeping aid. Thus it was easy to get hold of for the youngsters – along with drugs growing wild.

Church attendance slowly declined, but each year there were less young couples – most of the loss due to seeking more money by the much easier methods of sin & vice. Tithing decreased as members got older, slowly losing their ability to work hard-&-long to prosper. Gradually, spiritual depression and feelings of hopelessness overwhelmed the aging Church members, along with the sinful state of their youth and national leaders.

With all of the public cost due to drugs, alcoholism, gambling, violence, law enforcement, courts & jail, taxes kept increasing. Incredibly, a law was passed taxing the Church as a corporation – since it was the largest establishment on the Island. This crippled the Church financially, putting an end to outreach. Soon other laws were passed declaring the Church could not teach things were sinful, if the Government said they were lawful.

The struggling Church traded their large facility to the largest Night-Club owner for his much smaller facility – and some much needed cash – half of which the government will now take: as they decided to TAX CHURCHES.

When they shipwrecked on the Island, all were working, responsible adults on a Cruiseliner, none were violent criminals, addicted to drugs, or alcoholic. Within 1 year, a full 10% were drinking heavily or using the drugs that were now legal, and easy to get.

About 30% frequented the halls of prostitution, with it being legal for the first time in their lives. This took a drastic toll on marriage and divorce out-numbered marriage by far. Three of four young women were involved in dancing, stripping & prostitution because the money was 10 times any other job, such as tanning hides, sewing crude clothes, or canning foods.

Within a generation of such legal vices the negative percentages all grew from a school drop-out rate to an ever-increasing rate of crime, alcohol, drug usage, teen-pregnancy & abortion rate, venereal disease, divorce, living together out-of-wedlock, political corruption, bribes, people locked –up for violence and those unable to work for being completely drug addicted.

Church-life was so depressing, there was

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