So, one of my esteemed colleagues has gotten into bother for 'encouraging' shoplifting. I probably don't want to say too much about it- other than the context of the sermon is important.
There is something about theft and relationship which I want to articulate (I may fail). If one shoplifts there is very little relational damage. When someone steals from their parents or children, some part of the social fabric is ripped. Relationship has somehow been dishonoured.
Being burgled last week fits in the middle. My predecessor was quick to point out this morning that he was never burgled because: 'I pretty quickly got to know all the rogues'. Aside from the implied 'you are shit at the job'- it raises a relational question. Was the theft from my house a relational act?
I was very publically out and about that afternoon- at a kids party then a school play. Anyone who knows where I live would know the house was empty. So was it relational? And is it a good sign or a bad one that they chose me? Is it a failure of not getting the 'rogues' to respect me but not to respect anyone else? And is it personal- we don't like her- so we'll do her house. It doesn't feel that way, there was a strange kindness in it- no excessive damage or stuff.
Or was it opportunist? Just a dark empty house that was worth trying.
Either way there is relationship that has been damaged. Its very likely that the thieves are local- it affects how I feel about the community (perhaps best shown in snapping at some snowball throwing kids on Friday). Its that relational damage which I think is at the heart of God's prohibition on theft.
In that sense I am probably with my colleague.
Thats all quite rambling: may add edits later.