Skip to main content

What's Next?

Those of you who are avid West Wing watchers will get the reference. The Josiah Bartlett approach to leadership: make the call, do the thing, what's next?

My life feels a little like that just now. Take the last couple of days: Stay up most of Tuesday night, cook breakfast Wednesday morning, go to school, teach three lessons, mark some essays, prep another lesson, start to sort out cover, leave school, what's next? go to work team meeting, leave team meeting, catch up on other work, make calls, keep an eye on the news, what's next? read people's blogs, go to cinema, watch great film (Before Sunset- for another post), what's next? Pick up CD, go to pub, talk politics, drop friend off, what's next, sleep. Get up, read emails, think about Lollards, have bath, prep teaching, drive to town, what's next? buy food, prep teaching, meet interns, do teaching, what's next, drive to Thurrock, whats next, do meeting, what's next? have lunch catch ups, what's next? talk boiler, more meetings, let God speak, pray some, more meetings, what's next? drive home, plan prayer room, meet fish, watch West Wing, pack school bag, what's next? Think prayer room, sleep, think meetings, email directions, teach lessons... ooh no.. haven't gotten there yet.

In the West Wing we are led to believe that this is a good way to live- that it gets things done and all that. I think a lot of us think its a good way to live. But the thing is that it misses so much out. Without space to reflect we can get to a point where tings are not appreciated as much as they should be: sitting in my classroom with twenty minutes before a lesson I am getting the chance to reflect just a little bit.

You see, in the midst of all my craziness there were some beautiful things:
  • the telling of stories and seeing how God has made some beautiful connections, weaving the plot lines of different people's lives into one another.
  • a wonderful conversation (do go see Before Sunset, its beautiful)
  • some first time conversations
  • laughter
  • a lovely moment around chip and pin with the lady in Iceland
  • some penny dropping moments as I taught (for me as well as the tutees)
  • praise
  • the word of God, proclaimed and spoken
  • encouragement
  • love
  • wisdom


The list could go on and on: and yet I nearly missed it. I'm really looking forward to slowing down, to be able to truly suck the marrow out of life, to reflect.

But for now: what's next?


Comments

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…