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Articles on Faith:
 
Koe lotu moe politiki 'i Tonga:
 
By Rev. Dr. Ma'afu Palu
 
G’day all of you out there, - Fakamalo kia Seini pea mo Uaite ‘i he’ena update mai e ngaahi me’a ‘oku hoko ‘i hotau ki’i fonua, pea mo ‘ofa mai ‘o hokohoko aipe mu’a hono fakahoko mai ‘o e ngaahi ongoongo ko eni. Kuo ‘alu ‘etau me’a ke fakalalahi, koe’uhi ko e kamata ke kau mai ki ai ‘a e to’utupu, he ‘oku nau kei iviivi kinautolu. ‘Oku fiema’u pe ha taki lelei kiate kinautolu ke ne fakatafe atu honau fu’u ivi ki ha me’a ‘e ‘ikai iku ki ha tu’utaamaki fakalukufua ‘a e fonua. Ka ko e ola pe ia ‘o e fu’u fuoloa hono tuku ‘e he pule’anga ‘a e me’a ‘a e kau ngaue ‘o ‘ikai fai ki ai ha me’a. ‘Oku ou tui au ‘oku faka’amu e pule’anga ia ke langa’i ange ‘e he kau tukungaue ha fetaa’aki koe’uhi he ‘e toki ma’u ai ha fakatonuhia ki he PM ke ne ngaue’aki ‘a e polisi mo e sotia ‘i he founga fakamaalohi, ke fakangata ‘a e me’a ‘oku lolotonga hoko.

It is not surprising also that the leadership of the FWC has apparently isolated themselves from the current situation in Tonga. I suspect it is because most of the people on top are Tupou College ex-students and with Hon. ‘Ahio taking the second top job, the stance they have taken is almost inevitable. But it is pretty bad for the credibility of the church in the long run. Whether they are for or against the strike, they should at least be involved where their people are, in order to assist them in their times of need, even if it is just to rescue some of them from the ‘fire’. Their current indifference to the national strike is counter productive to the mission of the church, for it shows that the church (i.e. the FWC) only exists for good times; it does not know how to conduct itself in bad times. Long time ago, the wisest man (besides Jesus Christ of course) who has ever lived said, “When times are good, be happy, but when times are bad, consider”. (Eccl.7:14). This I think is what the leadership of the FWC needs to do. Their current stance reminds me of that once popular song: “…you left me, just when I needed you most”.

There is a sense in which we are all speechless like Line and Sepi hearing of the most recent developments of the national strike. Soni raises a very important issue for us; if both parties are praying, then which God are they praying to, and, what if God answered their prayer simultaneously? It seems to me that in Tonga, there is a ‘public god’ to which we all make reference and prayers in public. That ‘god’ can be invoked when times are bad. When times are good, we don’t give a fig about him. We tend to treat him like our fa’etangata. We see him as being there only to serve us. This public god does not have any moral demands on our lives. We can ask him to do things for us when we are in need, but he doesn’t have any moral requirements on the way we live our lives. This it seems to me to be expressed in a rather pristine way in the direction the Tongan government has taken throughout this current stand off. Most (if not all) of the Cabinet Ministers are lay preachers. In fact, the PM is one of those lay preachers. They even have a FWC minister amongst their ranks. For them to fail to identify the injustice in the course of action they have taken so far is an embarrassing hint of the god they are praying to. The issue is in fact more complex than I am willing to allow.

For instance, how can I really prove myself beyond doubt, in this regard, for even some of my atheist friends tend to live better lives than their religious neighbors? In the case of the atheist, however, their motive for taking a particular course of action is very important. We may both try to help a little old lady across the road; I do it because I want to impress the little old lady with my own charming (I wish!), but my atheist neighbor may do it in order to get her safely to the other side of the road and then rob her! But then, how can our different motives be identified while we are doing the job? These are matters that are more complicated than they first appear. However, the gist of what I am saying is this: the kind of God we believe is expressed in the way we live our lives on a daily basis. Our daily lives are, from a religious point of view, our ‘worship’ of the deity to whom we have entrusted our lives, whatever that may be! In other words, the way you live your daily lives is a good hint about what kind of god you are serving.

Now, unfortunately, I cannot say that the strikers, on the other hand, are praying to the One True God who has become a man in Jesus Christ. There is however a better chance that amongst the strikers there are people like Princess Siu’ilikutapu amongst others whom we can be pretty sure are praying to the God of the Bible. All I can say at this point is that perhaps the current situation in Tonga, is an opportunity for people to leave the ‘public god’ and worship the true God that the Bible tells us about.

Our prayers are with those of you who are in Tonga at these difficult times.

Leadership Failure (link to post by Rev. Dr. Ma'afu Palu on the Matangi Tonga website)

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