Monday, March 31, 2014

Power Couple

On the first Sunday of Lent the gospel story of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness led me to speak about the temptations of power. I thought it was a sound and topical message, but I might have changed up the way I began if I had begun watching a television series a little earlier.
We were encouraged to watch the Netflix series House of Cards which is about the machinations of the ambitious congressman Frank Underwood and his wife Claire, aka Mr. and Mrs. Satan.. As a pair they are amoral and power-hungry and just plain scary. Their relationship comes across as a "deal with the devil." While it is fun watching at one level, it is also a chilling parable about power for power's sake. Frank (Kevin Spacey) has no qualms at all about lying and manipulating and more, and Claire (Robin Wright) isn't much better.

President Obama admits that he watches the series, but assures us that Washington is much more boring than what is portrayed here. That's a relief, but ambitious power is heady stuff in every sphere, including religion. On a far too regular basis we witness religious leaders who lose sight of the basic tenets of their various faiths for their own gain.

Have you been watching House of Cards? Have you been caught in situations where power has been abused? Can following Jesus' example of prayer and scripture to establish a moral and ethical compass make a difference?


roger said...

These seem like very discouraging days, where every day seems to bring yet another example of someone using their power to deceive others for personal gain.

Whether it's the former Alberta Premier, who spent hundreds of thousands on trips, or the example I saw on CBC last night of a Treasurer of a town in the U.S. who stole $50 million from the town over the years, it's downright depressing.

Are there that many sociopaths out there?

Frank said...

I think it all boils down to gut level trust when regarding those who exercise power/influence in positions of leadership.
Do the leaders work at empowering their colleagues while working to balance the needs of their organizations with those of their constituents.
To what extent are they self serving in what they do?
Yeah, it's all to do with the moral/ethical compass and demonstrating that they have one and that they use it.

Laura said...

Guilty....although I do find that image of the fragile house of cards a reminder of the importance of building a life on a sturdy moral foundation like the one Jesus taught....which maybe redeems the hours spent watching...a little?

David Mundy said...

Thanks to the three of you. Great comments. It does seem that the political arena is littered with the corpses of those who are caught with their hands in the public till, or have assumed they are not accountable in their fiefdoms. We have more examples from Canadian politics in the past week.

I would put House of Cards in the category of guilty pleasure Laura, but there has to be a comeuppance out there somewhere!