Madam Secretary 2

Readers of Soul Surmise will already know that I love the TV series Madam Secretary. I was particularly taken by an episode and indeed have quoted it in three different talks I have given this week.

A young women has come up with an innovative way to save the endangered black rhino in Africa. Basically her idea is not getting more gamekeepers to catch the poachers but cutting off the reason to that rhinos are killed. If they could educate the Vietnamese that rhino horn is not actually a cure for impotence and the supply would be wiped out. It is warm feelings fiction but it works.

The young lady whose idea it was is very chuffed by the result. When she is told that the government will fund her idea she beams ear to ear and Madam Secretary delivers the preacher’s punch line - "A good idea is meaningless without the courage to act.”

Meanwhile somewhere across America the Dublin band U2 have been touring their 30 year old Joshua Tree record. Every night before the song In God’s Country Bono goes off on a preacher’s spiel about the idea of America, a place where the Statute Of Liberty welcomes the homeless and the refugee.

He has maybe been touring too much to watch Madam Secretary but it would be perfect timing for her line - "A good idea is meaningless without the courage to act.” If, by the time he reaches Dublin on July 23rd he is quoting her, I am claiming the credit!

As I was thinking about the Madam Secretary quotation leading up to last Sunday sermon where my text was Exodus 19 where the new fledgling nation of Children of Israel get in line to receive the Torah and Matthew 9 and 10 where Jesus is sending out a fledgling community of world transformers I was drawn to both Bono and Madam Secretary.

The law of God and the teaching of Jesus is a great idea. It is God’s idea of how we do not have to live the way we are living but can live a whole entirely other way.

It is the idea that:

We should welcome the stranger into our community...

We should leave some produce at the side of the field for the poor...

Where we should seek justice...

Where we should walk humbly...

Where the meek would inherit everything...

Where the last will be first and the first last...

Where we should love our neighbours...

Even more where we should love our enemies...

Where we who have should give to those who have not...


… And many more world changing ideas.


The ideas that Jesus brings are great, fantastic, revolutionary ideas… BUT… they will remain meaningless… until those of us who claim to follow him will have the courage to act! 

Preach it Madam Secretary!


Mervyn Nutley

Brilliant as ever Stocki, Madam Secretary is my new "West Wing", must watch political drama full of pithy wisdom as you have demonstrated!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)