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…
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
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…