Does God hear the prayers of a bishop?

Politics is not a dirty word to me. No human institution could exist without the compromise and bargaining and quid pro quo that is necessary to get things done by human beings with differing values and interests. Nothing would get done without what we call “politics.” Nevertheless, we must beware using that truth to excuse behavior that betrays our values. The Democratic party, for instance, has compromised profoundly with wealthy financial interests that contradict its values. There is no longer a “party of the working man and the poor.” The excuse for the compromise is this: “if we aren't in power we can't do any good.” When the only way to gain power is to compromise your core values, then the power you think you gain really belongs to someone else.

There is no way a prophetic critique can be brought to bear on the political process if the only appeal is to the people who already maintain the system we live under. I am not saying that change is impossible, simply that it will take courage and will draw on something other than the conventional wisdom.

Likewise, politics in the church is mostly an appeal to the conventional wisdom. Church leadership is carefully cleansed of independent minded individuals. Prophetic critique is eliminated. The definition of our problem becomes strikingly clear and simple. We read it and hear it at every meeting we attend. It is inescapable and inarguable. Likewise, the answer to our problem is universally recognized. We all agree. We are all too pious to disagree, all too afraid for our positions to assert ourselves. Does God hear the prayers of a bishop? What difference does it make? Conventional wisdom rules.