Saturday, 1 December 2007

To be a New Man you must repent the Old

John Campbell's main thrust seems to be that much of the criticism of the JA is out of date; it does not apply to the present-day JA.That is a thesis that I have been open to in the last couple of years of contact with them. And it was on that basis that I felt comfortable going to stay with them during a Men's Weekend last year. Recent events, with a member asking for help to leave and coming to stay with me have altered my perception, sadly, but all the same, the JA is in many respects different now to the JFC I knew.

What John is trying to do is present the current JA without alluding to its past, and really who can blame him. If they have changed and if the criticisms no longer apply, then they are no longer relevant.

But there is a biblical principle (if not a fundamental human one) here: You cannot be a "new man" (apologies to sisters, ahem) unless you have confessed your sins, repented of them and sought to be right with those you have harmed.The JA may be NEW, but we who were hurt by earlier policies have not been apologised to.

No substantial acknowledgement has been made that significant mistakes were made in the ways we were treated.

Why is this so?

Because the JA want to appear NEW without admitting their past sins. They continue to deny that they ever did any of the things we were/are angry about, while quietly stopping them. And what makes this worse, is that while they continue to deny their past policies ever existed, they continue to denigrate those of us who highlighted them.

A nominal, vague admission of mistakes having been made is trotted out ever so often only to placate present-day critics, but if you press them about them, they can't actually think of any, and wounds go unhealed.

Why I think I must soldier on with this infuriating wiki re-write process and risk looking like a proud whinger with a twenty year old chip on my shoulder is that the JA are attempting to re-write history and that history is OUR history. They want to deny our legitimate concerns by pretending that the things that hurt us never existed....that it was our failure to fit in, our lack of spirituality, our pride, etc which meant that we were never really part of them. The fact is that some of those they dismiss so easily now were there for many years and were very much part of them, very much dedicated, loving people who put their faith and trust in people who broke faith with them.


I think there is also a wiki principle to be challenged here, which is that because we were victims of the JA (and are "bitter") we cannot be rational, credible witnesses. The advantage of having a neutral person to write the article, Rumiton, who I am warming to now that I see him as a man rather than an "elder" (in effect), is that I can leave it to him to neutralise anything that is less than neutral in my own tone, when he has had the chance to read anything which is, frankly, my point of view. All evidence is socially constructed; of course it is! Any attempt to assert otherwise is disingenuous bull. But that does not make our POV a lie.