The one about Jeremy Clarkson

SJeremy Clarksono, Jeremy is not having his contract renewed. The odd thing is that some people think that he should. Over 1 million people have signed a petition calling for the Top Gear star to be reinstated with no consequences or even questions asked.

So, imagine that you go to work and have a big argument with someone and you end up hitting them. You know what the outcome is likely to be. The petition page has the phrase ‘freedom to fracas’ on it and it seems really bizarre that some people seem to be saying that violence towards someone else is something that we should be free to do.

So, what should the Christian response be to this whole episode?

One of the key themes in the Bible is justice and it is encouraging to see the way that justice has been done. It sometimes feels like the rich, famous and popular get away with a too much and the BBC has made the brave decision to say that no one gets away with everything. Every action has a consequence and one of the things in Clarkson’s favour is that he appears to have grasped this more than the people who have signed the petition to reinstate him. Clarkson apparently reported the incident himself and he has also referred to himself as a dinosaur. Jeremy seems to be acknowledging that he crossed a line but does the word dinosaur imply a sense of being stuck in the past? Does he feel that he can’t change?

God cares for the downtrodden and vulnerable. We should pray for Oisin Tymon in all of this. Tymon was attacked verbally and also physically and the whole world now knows about it. God cares about victims and we should pray for them.

The nagging thing that I can’t shake off as I reflect on this whole episode is trying to see where grace fits in. Grace is central to the Christian faith. We believe in forgiveness, we believe in fresh starts and we believe that as a result of grace that everyone can change.

In John 8, we read about a woman who was caught in adultery and she was brought by the religious leaders to Jesus. They know that Jesus cares for people who are sinful in their behaviour and they are sure that Jesus will condemn her but he doesn’t.

How does this passage help us to think about Clarkson? I have rewritten it to help us consider it (the words I have changed are in italics):

As he was speaking, the BBC internal investigations team brought a a man who had attacked his work colleague. They put him in front of the global audience through the internet.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this man attacked someone else. The law says he must be punished. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus started doodling on his Ipad. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned hand him his p45!” Then he doodled some more on his Ipad.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the man. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to Jeremy Clarkson, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” he said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

If I could say anything to Jeremy Clarkson, it would be this.

You don’t have to be a dinosaur, you can change and there is always the opportunity to start again.

There should be forgiveness when someone is sorry and they want to change.

There should be consequences. If Clarkson had been allowed to stay on then it would have been with some kind of probationary conditions and also supervision and accountability put in place.

There should be new beginnings. People can and do change. 2000 years ago a woman was going to be stoned to death, but Jesus wouldn’t condemn her and she was set free with the opportunity to change her way of living. The grace that Jesus revealed offered her a new beginning and a relationship with God where she was loved and valued unconditionally. How did her life turn out? We will never know.

It’s easy for us to judge Jeremy because he is quite very completely outrageous.

How about us though? Are we perfect?

I may not have hit anyone today, but how have I treated the people around me? Clarkson treated Tymon in an unacceptable way, but people mistreat others verbally every day and get away with it.

Focusing just on what is wrong with other people can lead to us being blind to our own faults and mistakes.

Let’s be honest about who we are and what our faults are but as we do this, let’s also remember that God offers forgiveness and a fresh start.

As a result of grace, anyone can change. Even dinosaurs!

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About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Baptist Minister who is especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century. I am also a member of the Eastern Baptist Association's Council with responsibility for Mission Strategy.
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7 Responses to The one about Jeremy Clarkson

  1. Ian S-T says:

    I’m in two minds about how much an employer should police our behaviour. An assault should be dealt with by law, because that’s the proper place for justice, and the employer alone may not make fair judgements. That’s the consequence mentioned above (although consequence doesn’t feature in the parable, as far as I can see).
    The employer should sack someone if they’re not doing their job well; and the public definitely think Jeremy IS doing his job well, which is why millions want him to stay. However, in most jobs, getting on with colleagues is also a requirement, and Jeremy has certainly not done that here: so he might get sacked for teamwork reasons. Some jobs also require a public figure to set a good example of public behaviour (MPs, teachers, clergy); but Jeremy has almost made a virtue out of behaving badly – that’s part of the appeal of Top Gear. If the BBC sacked him for that, it would be weird.
    I wonder where he’ll pop up next? I don’t expect his career will bomb completely.

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    • Thanks Ian.
      He has made a career of behaving badly and I expect him employers are seeing this as the final straw. Interestingly it has been made clear this morning that the BBC would have him back to present other things (I wonder if my blog inspired those comments?)
      For what it is worth, I wouldn’t have sacked him if he was willing to show remorse, offer and apology and agree to abide by a code of conduct that says how employees should treat one another.
      .

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  2. grammatteus says:

    Funny how I should read this after a sleepless night of trying to think of ways to hospitalise my own son-in-law! Our daughter decided to finally leave him after three years of verbal abuse and discovering for herself, after all I’d told her, that he was taking all their money and blowing it on beer, dope and the bookies. I took her to sign for a new house yesterday, but last night she ‘had a talk’ with him, which means he did the puppy dog eyes and said he’s sorry , and he’ll change, and he really loves her, and how all those bad things he said were ‘just words’…. yeah ‘I love you’ is just words too!

    Problem I have is… I HAVE been there for him, understanding, loving, giving (he still owes me £3000!), staying good to him when everything in me says not to – I’m a Jesus follower, I’m MEANT to love!! But I simply do not believe a word he says. He’s asking forgiveness, but unless I have even an inkling that that he MEANS it, am I off the hook over this forgiveness thing that our Lord does go on quite a bit about?

    I suppose I’m just seeking justification for my anger, because ANGRY is what I am this morning. Am I as bad as Clarkson? Your point being that we are all as bad; all of us should know that we ARE ‘the chief of sinners’, I need to work out what I’m doing – is it out of anger, or simply out of concern for my daughter, and granddaughter?

    Thanks. Grace be with you.

    Like

    • It is right to be angry about injustice and to want to see justice and protection for the vulnerable. I think that we can love and forgive someone without leaving ourselves vulnerable to them. If they do reconcile, your daughter would need to think about what safeguards she puts in place, eg he shouldn’t have any access to their joint money. This then offers love, grace and a new start but doesn’t leave a victim vulnerable.
      Jesus’ final words on the path towards change are ‘Go and sin no more’.
      I’ll pray for you and the family that God would give you great wisdom to know how to proceed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Howard Huntington says:

    I have sympathy for Jezzer. This was a “Night of the Long Knives” exercise . His face no longer fits in the BBC schedules which caters more and more to the tastes of the ever offended chattering classes. I like his rawness. He’s a wind up which isn’t understood by BBC metropolitan academics. He’s also “a bloke”, who likes fast cars and is occasionally irreverent. He should have been punished, but instead he was hung out to dry by the BBC which will be more bland and more riddled with repeats as Jeremy leaves. The phrase “shot themselves in the foot” comes to mind.

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  4. Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I’m sure there are some who probably rejoiced at the opportunity to be rid of him and yet I heard on the news earlier that they haven’t ruled out asking him to present other shows.
    For what it is worth, I wouldn’t have sacked him if he was willing to show remorse, offer an apology and agree to abide by a code of conduct that says how employees should treat one another.

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  5. Pingback: A Creative Communion Service Inspired by John 8.1-12 | Honest about my faith

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