Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Shack 2

Today I want to focus on a part of The Shack which deals with the circle of relationship and the hierarchy of power.

Mack asks Papa who is in charge in their group of three. Papa explains to him that there is not a position of power in their relationship. People have a need for someone to be in power and therefore, consider that Papa (God) is the most powerful of the three. In reality, none of them are in power over the others because they have a circle of relationship. Each one of them is a part of the other. They are three in one.

Papa tells Mack that hierarchy is a problem of people. They have taken the idea of hierarchy so far that it exists everywhere; in politics, in business, and even in marriage. When there is a hierarchy, there must be rules which leads to a chain of command and destroys relationships rather than protects them. Relationships are the important things in life, not who has control over others. A person who gains control soon becomes independent rather than in a circle of relationship, and that person looks to take care of himself. But Mack isn't convinced about the problem of hierarchy. He tells Papa that all these rules protect people. Papa points out to him that they also hurt people. Any of us can see that this is true just by looking at Hitler. But even more sad, we see it every day in countries around the world, including our own. Decisions are independently made and executed in order to benefit specific groups rather than for the good of all. The more independent we become, the less we care about how things will affect others, as long as we gain in some way ourselves.

Can we get away from this control of hierarchy and independence? I doubt it. However, we can work to control it. One of the beautiful things concerning the government in the United States is that even though they have a "person in charge" in the President, there are controls over this person through Congress and the powers they have over the President, through states in the form of Senators and Representatives, and right down to each person in the form of elections. Unfortunately, over the past few years, the controls have been limited by the President himself, the Congress by not using their powers, by lobbyists who work for individual organizations using bribery to get what they want, and pork barrel passages put into important bills. The good thing is that the people in the United States are beginning to see how these powers are beginning to hurt the entire country and are screaming for changes. This can be seen by the way elections came out in this year of 2008. Now we can hope that the power of the people as a circle of relationships will help to fix the power of the government.

Another area that I feel choosing independence over relationships has become a danger is in health care. I know that there are many people who fight against having any kind of program that works to give all people health insurance. They are afraid that controls will be put on them as to the insurance they want, the Dr.'s they want to see and the quality of care they will get. I had one person tell me that the government would gain control, taxes would rise and they would be paying for everyone's insurance. I'm not sure that this is true. Right now there are millions of people who have no insurance at all. Because they don't have insurance and Dr.'s won't accept them as patients unless they are paid immediately, people put off getting health care they need. So then what happens? They really get ill and end up in an emergency room of a hospital. That hospital takes care of them for a condition that could have been controlled in a Dr.'s office before it became so expensive, and ends up taking a loss. So where do they make up this difference? They bill insurance companies more for their services, and the insurance company bills their clients more on their premiums. So, who is paying for those uninsured people? You, the insured, are. If every person in the United States had insurance at an affordable price, I think many of the insured people would find their own insurance premiums to be less because there would be more people to contribute to the health care system. As for controls on Dr.'s and hospitals that you can use, that doesn't have to happen. Actually, it exists right now through our insurance companies. Some of them have lists of Dr.'s and hospitals that can be used, and if there is an emergency, they expect you to contact them for approval. If you don't, chances are they will refuse to pay. Then there is also the problem of insurance companies refusing to insure people or putting riders on the policies. If you have had cancer in the past, they put a rider stating they will not cover cancer. This is probably the service the insured person needs the most. People who develop problems soon find their insurance premiums rising. They can't change policies because no other company will take them, so they are now stuck with extremely high premiums or no insurance at all.

This is probably long enough for today. Later I will expand further on this subject and talk about prejudice, war and possibly controls over individual persons.

Happy blogging.

1 comment:

Aunt Dinah said...

Interesting thoughts, and I agree with everything you said, so I don't have much to add. Thanks for doing such a good job summarizing ideas and concepts from the Shack for those of us who don't have time to read it or had trouble getting into it.