Skip to main content


I can't, late this Sunday night, not mention Paula Radcliffe. In her stopping running six or so hours ago I think I saw something quite profound. I think I saw a humbling lost-ness. When the Ethiopian runner (who incidentally had been cheered on by her husband as she ran..) passed her, and Radcliffe hit fourth place again it was almost like her spirit broke. To be faced with the thought of once agin not making the medals, once more feeling failure seemed to break her. And what we saw was a lost ness.. What do I do now? I am surrounded by people but all alone. I only have somewhere to go in this situation if I am running.. and if I stop then I am out of place here.

In the moment I believe it took more courage to stop.

The realisation that the race could not be won brought pain and hurt to Radcliffe but she stopped and faced that reality.. is there something for us in this? Will we realise that this mad wordlinesss of chase and greed cannot be won. Will we stop?

We face the prospect of feeling out of place. It will hurt. (An elderly Greek couple may try to console us!?) But we will have stopped running a race where no-one can win. We will sit on the pavement and begin to watch the real world, the world outside of the spray painted blue line of best fit. The cheering crowds will come into focus.. dare I suggest a cloud of witnesses, cheering us.. not in this race.. but one of far greater worth.

Will we stop? Do we have the courage to stop?


Popular posts from this blog

NO MORE MAGIC BULLET- or why I have stopped watching the West Wing

I love the West Wing. It still rates as one of the most well informed and influential series of the genre. Its speeches have been stolen by people who have osmosed its hope for a better way of doing politics. When we watch it today it holds a very particular kind of resonance because it demonstrates a civility that has been drowned in a sea of hate. It has positive images of a wrestled out faith, is rich with camaraderie and pith and is just good telly.
But its bad for me. 
It pains me to admit this, but the West Wing makes me think I can change the world in a way that is simply not helpful. 
It holds out the present hope that the world can turn on a single conversation. With the brave statement or right turn of phrase one might change the debate, and in turn might change the world entire. The moment in the Oval where they realise that if they take no credit they can save social security. The moment where Donna remembers to pay welfare payments. The realisation that all the NATO people a…

Oxpresidentgate and a Crisis of Generosity

Its been an interesting start to the year for the third sector. As we all get to grips with GDPR (more later), we have been subject to increased media attention as first we reeled from President’s Club revelations to the far deeper impact of this week’s revelations about Oxfam (and others).
There is much that can be written. Undoubtedly there are some in media and politics who will seek to exploit the 1/3 of us who don’t think aid should be sent overseas to change policy off the back of bad behaviour by some people. We could face a drop in giving to international development, as supporting Oxfam is no longer seen as acceptable (like buying a plastic bag). I suspect this will recover at some point, possibly in different form.
However, there is a deeper moral crisis for third sector organisations and my fear is that Christian charities are not immune.
To explore this let me go back a month. The President’s Club- where charities were set to receive significant amounts of money from an…

A very dull post about what I do with my time...

Each year I take a calendar month and record what I do in it. I break each day into twenty minute chunks and note down what happens in each twenty minute block. I don’t do the same for designated Sabbath time (nor do I note each bit of time outside of the beginning and end of a working day, no-one needs to know how long I clean my teeth for).
I categorise each thing that I do (an imperfect science) with a view to getting a handle on what I do with my time. 
This year I did the audit in November (as clergy I always avoid doing this in Lent, Advent or August). 
So- what did I discover?
I work around 55 hours a week. (thats up one hour from last year) That work is spread over five and a half days. The only sabbath day that was interrupted by work was about processing a painful meeting.  Of 26 working days, I worked 12 evenings.
In terms of what I do:
In November 17% of my time was taken up with prayer, reading and learning. Thats a slightly false read as I had a 48 hour away time in there. Prayer…