This week in Jersey controversy has been reported in the media about Imagine Jersey 2035. This consultation process has been instituted by the Council of Ministers in order to focus attention on the high-level future issues that will constrain and inform policy options now. The challenge of an ageing population (a bigger proportion of pensioners, a smaller work force and fewer children in 2035) as well as environmental concerns need to be thought through - alongside, inevitably, getting wealth and staying wealthy.
Such is our distrust of one another that fears of "hidden" agendas are being "openly" talked about. And forcefully denied. Agendas there are, of course, within each of us.
But, very surprisingly really, Jesus Christ, teaching in Palestine in AD 30 at the beginning of his public ministry began to speak in parallels and not with clarity (see above). He stated that he had a hidden agenda, telling his junior public ministers that he was speaking in parallels so that some of the people listening to him would neither perceive nor understand what he was saying.
Clarity for all? Not in Jesus' case, it seems.
The main problem in Jesus' day (is this the case in Jersey?) was that folk had made up their mind before they actually heard his teaching - and then listened to the teaching unwilling actually to hear it and follow it. The heart of some of the folk who listened to Jesus (he taught this to his closest followers) "had grown dull" and "with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes have closed...."
These determined non-listeners would not be awakened. Jesus began to teach in parallels - so as not to disturb their sleep.
Jersey's Council of Ministers – and each of those who provided input to Imagine Jersey 2035 – long for clarity. Jesus in AD 30 only wanted clarity for those who were prepared to listen and change.
But what about the plan itself?
The plan to be formulated by Jersey’s Council of Ministers (and, later, the States) has to do with the jurisdiction that is Jersey. But Jesus was seeking to present his plan with regard to the jurisdiction that is heaven ("the kingdom of heaven” a.k.a. "the kingdom of God"). The former is temporary (2035) and will be replaced; the latter is eternal.
What was Jesus' plan for the jurisdiction of heaven, the jurisdiction of God? In what way would it be carried forward? It was all set out in a very simple, very clear parable of the seed (being Jesus and his words) being sown (broadcast) and falling on various types of ground (people). In three types of ground the seed produced no “fruit”.
But one type of ground was an exact parallel of the fields being ploughed and planted with Jersey Royal potatoes all around us these days - good soil, soil that accepted the seed (Jesus and his words). Seed in that soil produced a multiplication of "fruit" - 100X; 50X; 30X. Such multiplication factors are never seen with Jersey Royals. Indeed, it seems that the highest seed multiplication in Jesus' time was about 6X and of grain not potato. So this must have been a great surprise for Jesus' hearers – abundant, multiplied “fruit” from people (soil).
With that in mind the key strategy of the jurisdiction of heaven here in Jersey must be ...... to place the seed in the soil.
And nothing is more important for the soil than to receive seed, examine it and make a decision about it with opened eyes……