Sunday, April 11, 2010

Personal Scandal?

To me, the idea of somebody being “personal” to somebody else implies in some way a type of “bribe”. For one could say I am being “personal” to a friend of mine who happens to be competing for a contract by giving it to him simply for that reason. In other words, my choosing this friend has less to do with him being the best contractor and more to do with the fact that he is my friend. Hence, my “personal” response to him is essentially a “bribe”.

Now if it just so happens my friend is the best contractor for the job and as a result I choose him, it is not a “bribe” as it were nor is it “personal” in any way. It is simply on account of him being the best contractor for the job! With this insight then, the idea of a “personal” interaction between God and individual seems almost scandalous or at least highly suspect.

It is quite interesting to apply this same principal to the contempt society seems to harbor toward politicians that do this same thing. But if politicians are criticized for engaging in these kinds of personal favors (aka bribes), why is it us "average Joes" are not criticized for doing the same thing*?

For instance, many favor doing business only with those that represent groups they identify with and/or support. "I need a plumber! Does anyone know of a good Christian plumber?" If one is to avoid the implicit bribery and scandal inherent in this type of decision making, he should choose the best plumber regardless of his religious persuasion or lack thereof. Otherwise, this decision is but a personal favor (aka a bribe).

*Presumably many will claim that politicians are called to a higher standard than us "average Joes"! But then how would we determine the "threshold" at which this kind of "personal bribery" goes from something that is 1) simply expected and perhaps even respected to something that is 2) downright sleazy and scandalous?

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