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…
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…
Some of my earliest memories are of Sunday mornings. There
was one which seemed to involve being in a big hall colouring pictures, but I
didn’t much like that, so the memories that have stuck are of sitting outside.
Now, I love outside, it calms me, so pretty much any outdoor activity would
have held some thrall for my turbulent child self. But the family Sunday
activity was football.
When I was very small my Dad played. He was past his glory
days by the time I can remember. The cartilage in his knees had run out before
the rest of his body- and so much of my memory of him was as he “ran the
line”.I’m pretty sure he sometimes did
that in wellies, but its been a long time.
Sunday football was part of our life. We would go to the
game and then mum would join us as we had drinks at the social club next door.
It’s why I drank beer from the age of eight and could snaffle my way through
about a thousand calories of crisps in a sitting.
And then we would go home, have a massive roast and w…