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The limits of respect.

The lectionary is taking us through Acts and it is almost as if I am reading the local news in parallel. The Authorities are trying to regulate speech and make us quiet, silent, timorous. Mice. Because there are threats, because there are those who will heckle and fight.

The social media comments that forced Massey University to shut down an event where former National MP and Reserve Bank governor Don Brash was due to speak have been revealed.

Brash was due to speak at the event at Massey University’s Manawatu campus as part of a series of political talks.

Newshub revealed a Facebook user posted a link to the event page with the caption, “This guy lol … if your [sic] up to nothing wensday [sic] head up to massey uni”.

The post was accompanied by two emojis, a red circle with a cross through it and a laughing face.

In response, another person commented, “Take a gun”.

The Massey University corporate communications director told Newshub the comments were “enough red flags to tip the balance” in the eyes of vice chancellor Jan Thomas.
However, Thomas scrapped the event over security concerns yesterday, citing the welfare of students as her main concern.

“It was a really tough decision, I don’t like making these sorts of decisions, but it was for the good of the community,” she told Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB.

NZ Herald (archived)

Thomas is timid. The correct response was to tell the police, put in security, and arrest the troublemakers. When you start banning a man who led one of the mainstream political parties — as Brash did — then you have no free speech.

You are regulating by force, official or not. As the Council tried to do with the church.

Acts 4:13-31

13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. 14When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. 16They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it.

17But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; 20for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. 22For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old. 23After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, 25it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ 27For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

The correct response to timidity is power and boldness. If they are timid, cowering… ignore them. We cannot stop preaching the gospel, though the same authorities campaign, and many groups want to spend their time doing propaganda instead of helping.

Ignore such. There is no power in virtue signaling, or in religious ritual. But there is great power in the gospel, and in the Spirit of God. If our nation is to be saved, it will need to return to this, and to do that we will need to change.

Probably in a way that will offend those in the UN who consider all nations must merge, become bland, beige and boring, and we shall then worship man the creation, not the God of creation.

But that offense is a sign that we are doing well, and their attempts to regulate a signal of their powerlessness. Do not be like them.


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