A better approach to bureaucracy--part 2
YESTERDAY in this column we looked at how we can improve our experience with bureaucracies and the individuals we have to deal with. Actually, it's easy to see how a more spiritually enlightened approach in a one-on-one encounter can make a difference. But what about a huge system? Can our prayer make a difference? To the retiree counting on social security benefits that are suddenly snarled in the system and are not forthcoming, or to the corporate officer with a government contract that is swamped in paperwork of oceanic proportions, this question is not idle. It's more than a mere play on words to say that the law of God which was able to part the Red Sea in Bible times is able to part a sea of red tape in our time. Christian Science reveals law, actual spiritual law, to be the basis of such dynamic adjustments. This law, understood and applied, tends to move aside obstacles and leave a clear path for progress. God, by His very unerring nature, is Principle. This Principle, acknowledged in prayer, acts through divine law, eliminating excess and waste as surely as it rules out chaos. Divine Principle is the creator of all that actually exists, including man in God's image. This lines up with the account of creation given in Genesis, chapter 1, where we're told, ``God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.'' 1 It's a record of creation that is entirely spiritual. And it's marked by th e qualities of divine Principle: order, usefulness, warmth. All appearing progressively. All qualities the systems of today could use. Does this leave vast amounts of incompetence and waste as unexplained or merely labeled ``good''? Hardly. The Bible, with its second account of creation beginning in Genesis, chapter 2, depicts an opposite, material creation. This is where chaos and conflict and incompetence and waste seem to come in. But this is not the genuine record of creation. It is the false sense of things, which gives way to the true view when we make the distinction, realizing that divine Principle's creation--goo d, ordered, warm, active--is the only real one. So we have two accounts of creation, one good, spiritual, real. One not good, material, unreal. Where do government bureaucracies fit? If any activity is right and just, it has a spiritual basis. Examining a bureaucracy, we're likely to find at least some goodness motivating its actions. Perhaps safety and order impelling the work of one department or bureau, perhaps warmth and compassionate provision underpinning the aims of another. To the degree that God-derived qualities are present, a bureaucrac y has a genuine function. But to the degree that a bureaucracy typifies incompetence and waste, it needs to be corrected. This incompetence cannot thwart our progress, though, if we understand divine law and its forward, sea-parting impulsion. Discussing one of Christ Jesus' healing works, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``. . . neither red tape nor indignity hindered the divine process.''2 The supremacy and immediacy of divine power are as available for restoring safety to the streets (or any other worthy bureaucratic goal) as for restoring health to the body. Identifying whatever is good in a bureaucracy as derived from Principle and maintained by law, helps. If, having done that, we find there are still obstacles, we can know that the obstacles, whether waste or incompetence or red tape, will inevitably move off as the result of persistent prayer and whatever actions we are led to take based on our prayer. Understanding that what is progressive and productive is rooted in the true accounting of creation and that what is unprogressive and unproductive in society is not divinely based--and therefore without power--will make a difference. 1 Genesis 1:31. 2 Unity of Good, p. 11.