Passing the Buck

I had a thought (of course in the bath when I can't write it down).

"Passing the buck" is an American expression that I'm not sure carries over, but you'll know what mentality I'm referring to. It's a way of shirking responsibility (very common). It's where a person refuses to take responsibility and passes the matter to someone else to deal with it.

Example: when the Southern Visayas Presbytery (SVP) skipped all due process and kicked Joshua and myself out of the church (without even a single formal charge), a couple ministers mentioned that we can appeal the decision to the General Assembly (GA). They mentioned it so many times (even personally, after it was over) that it was awkward. It's almost like they knew what they were doing was wrong. A body that had confidence in its decision wouldn't encourage an attempt to overturn it, so much.

What happened? They shirked their responsibility. They didn't do their due diligence. They didn't follow procedure. They didn't function as a presbytery. They just cut corners to get rid of a perceived problem (at the behest of certain Korean missionaries). In their stead, they suggest we appeal to GA, so that body can deal with it. SVP didn't want to deal with it, so just pass it along to GA.

"Buck passing" is endemic. Pass it along the chain. You don't do your job. You're lazy, apathetic, incompetent, or corrupt (likely a combination). And you console yourself in your neglect of your duty by saying that the next person up the chain can take care of it.

NOW, here's the new insight I had into this. The individual (or body) that does this is presuming that the next person (or body) up the line will not do what they just did! "I don't feel like doing my duty. I'll pass it along, and that person will do it. He won't do what I just did." Really? So when the SVP shirked responsibility and salved their consciences with the proposition of appealing to GA, they were presuming that GA would take responsibility, unlike them. Or not. Maybe they don't think that. I don't know.

In any case, passing the buck implies that the next person will take responsibility. And I'm thinking, what an ungenerous assumption. You are trusting that someone else, who now has to deal with your problem, will take responsibility when you would not? I have to think longer about what sin that is, exactly. It sounds like presumption. At least it is presumptuous. But this was an epiphany: the man who just glides through life, always shirking responsibility, is daily dependent on other people who take responsibility. How manipulative. How unfair. How unloving.

Of course, it's unlikely that there will only be one, or very few, irresponsible people. It seems like a culture in itself. Now what happens in that context, where everyone's mindset is to pass the buck? Nothing gets done. Duty is neglected. You first neglect your duty. Then you force your duty on someone else, compounding the sin. And over and over it goes. And God is not pleased.

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