Bravely facing Mrs MurgatroydAug 2nd, 2006 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Ministry
There is a whiteboard on the kitchen wall here. It reminds that there are bills to be paid and appointments to be kept.
I had a whiteboard once. It was going to give order and direction to my work and keep my eyes on strategic objectives.
Except I didn’t really need a whiteboard to remind me that I had to see old Mrs Murgatroyd in the nursing home and, however pleased I was after getting away from her unscathed and however much delight I took in wiping her name off the board, I didn’t feel I was fulfilling any strategic objectives.
We have taken the language of the military and tried to inject mundane activities like business and parish work with significance that they do not possess. No matter what language it is couched in, business is about making money, it is not about serving great and noble causes. No matter what way it is described, visiting a cross old lady was about visiting a cross old lady – if the grace of God was somehow imparted, it was more by accident than design.
Perhaps we need to pretend that we are part of something big, that there is a big cause out there, that we are part of a big picture that gives actions significance – most times, I think that what we do is no more than what we do, and that even God would have trouble recognizing some of the stuff the Church does as having anything to do with him.
Reading about the deaths of three young men in Afghanistan and another in Iraq, men involved in a real big picture, perhaps it’s a relief that I don’t have a whiteboard and that the biggest danger I ever faced was Mrs Murgatroyd on a bad day.