More often than not, there is something that needs to be got for Sunday morning on Saturday evening. If it was a parish with a secretary and other clergy and a youth worker and all the other ancillary personnel (I know a woman who did a placement with me as a theological student and who now works in England in a parish with a full time staff of twelve), someone else could probably do it, but it isn’t, it’s plain old Church of Ireland and there’s just me.
I don’t mind that though, as I get into my car on a Saturday evening I remember the times when my Granddad left his fireside to go out into wind and rain and mud to care for his animals at all hours of the night. Driving down to the supermarket is pretty much wee buns compared to calving a cow in winter’s darkness.
Driving to the shops at odd times also means I get to see things that I would otherwise miss. Lurking outside the shops were a bunch of what last week’s Irish Times colour supplement would have described as ‘skangers’, (so much for the egalitarian spirit of the newspaper of Vincent Browne and Fintan O’Toole!). They weren’t causing trouble, just loitering with the inevitable hoodies pulled up. The omnipresent security man stood about ten yards away watching them. He seemed of Eastern European origin, was this what he anticipated when he came to our land of opportunity? Standing outside of a supermarket on a Saturday night?
I came out of the supermarket, threw my purchases in through the passenger’s door and then sat in my car and watched, The group stood outside of the off license, some had packs of beer, none of them showed much sign of going anywhere. Then the group broke up and some drifted away. Looking to the right, there were two teenage girls, heavily underdressed for an Irish March evening. They had made it clear that they weren’t hanging around any longer, if the boys wanted their company, the had better move now.
How about that? I thought. We don’t need ASBOs, we need feisty females who will make it clear that they aren’t interested in the silly games of boys.
There is a whole tradition in the Old Testament of women who put things in order when men were useless. Young women like Deborah from the book of Judges would achieve a whole lot more than court orders.