It’s about Pirates – I knows, came as a surprise to me as well!
The book looks at the history of piracy. The only real difference between the merchant navy and the original pirates was in whose name things were done. The merchant navy had the authority of which ever country they were from – when they kidnapped men from the street and put them to work on the ships, it was in the name of the king; when they kidnapped Africans and made them slaves, it was in the name of the king; when they destroyed other ships working for another country it was in the name of the king.
Pirates, formed of men who had been forced into this lifestyle – either as sailors or as slaves, did the same thing but in their own name. They did it for themselves. When they robbed they shared the plunder between them.
When you think of pirates you may think of the pirate with the eye patch, the hook, the wooden leg… because pirates supported disability. In the merchant navy if you lost a limb, if you became sick, they left you at the nearest port. There was no point in adapting the ship to help you do you job, no point paying for medical treatment when they could just ‘recruit’ someone new.
The profits the merchant navy made went back to the crown. The ordinary sailor gained nothing. They had no say in where they went or what they did. Any defiance led to punishment.
The book is not about how good pirates and piracy is. What it is about is seeing piracy as a legitimate response to inequalities and injustices.
When Jesus saw the inequalities and injustices in his situation his actions were a legitimate response. When he fed the hungry and healed the sick, when he turned over the tables in the temple, when he preached love and forgiveness, when he spoke for the poor, the sick, the prisoners, when he spoke about freedom.
Those who follow Jesus should be responding to inequalities and injustices. We should be pirates – working outside of the authorities, working against the authorities, standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, helping the poor and the marginalised.
I get upset when people who claim to serve a loving God help to create inequalities. Those who claim to serve the God who created everything, speaking as if God made mistakes when he created people. People who pray for God’s will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven, who support laws which hurt people.
God made no mistakes. We are all his children. We all deserve love.
There will be equality in the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God is within us.