Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Special and General Theories of Spiritual Gifting

It's occurred to me that there are wider applications to what might be called "Erika's Theorem" - that is, that the people who should be Sunday School teachers are, ideally, women - or alternatively teachers - or best of all, women teachers. So I'm going to call this the "Special theory of Spiritual Gifting". And point out that Erika didn't say 'should', I did.

This allows me to define a "General Theory of Spiritual Gifting", which states that "you should employ people to do church jobs that their day jobs show they're obviously suited for."

So - Sunday School Teachers should be women, teachers or ideally women teachers. (I'm defining "woman" as a day job here with satirical intent. It's not really a job - it's more of a calling.)

Assuming that the efficacy of sacraments, however a church defines them, depends upon the grace of God and not the officiant - I'm going to suggest that we divide ordained ministers up into "managerial, "pastoral" and "preaching", and lump them in with the lay roles that are similar.

So: Preaching ministers, Local/Lay Preachers/Readers - should be recruited from headmasters, Marketing executives and Advertisers.

Pastorally-minded ministers, Pastoral Assistants, Home visitors - clearly we're looking for nurses, social workers and psychotherapists.

Managerial ministers, Chairs of committees, Circuit Stewards - Company Chief executives or, failing that, middle-managers and councillors.

Stewards, Sidesmen/women/people/beings - that's gotta be G4S security guards.

Treasurers - we're looking at accountants. Maybe actuaries as well but, let's face it, Church Committee meetings are bad enough without the lurking thought the treasurer is calculating how many people might survive each one.

Cleaners, tea-makers, washer-uppers - following this dangerous route to its limit, that's going to be housewives and (should it not really be the empty set) - house-husbands. Or, in these days of radical diversity and multiple lifestyle options - let's just say "the one who always ends up hoovering at home".

Electoral Roll / Membership officers - local government officials.

Church Wardens - Bouncers or jobbing builders.

Tea-servers - bar staff

Jumble sale executives - people who work in supermarkets.

Flower-arrangers - gardeners or florists.

I'm sure you'll all think of many more examples. It strikes me, looking at the list now, that if we did use this method - as if anyone would - we'd be doing damage to the concept of "Sabbath". But then it also strikes me that, if we really did take "Sabbath" seriously, the Sunday Club would probably cease to exist.

One other problem, of course. We'd never be able to get hold of any sidespeople.


  1. Another advantage is that you could close down all the ministry training centres/courses as the secular world would already be providing all the necessary training. All the discernment programmes would be redundant as well as all the gifting would already have been discerned by their selection for their real life jobs.

    So it would save a fortune.

    Real blue sky out of the box thinking here Archdruid.

  2. Having a whole theorem named after me will go to my head, you know, I shall be unbearable from now on. Even more so.

    The one problem with this theory is what we do in parishes with an average attendance of 6people.
    Will there be enough former women teachers who have taken up flower arranging in their retirement?
    Will we find enough accountants who have had bar or waitress experience in their student days?

  3. I just wonder if the church needs a theorem such as this?

    They are so certain that the gifts will be forthcoming that they demand them, rather than ask for them. The prime example is 'gifts and oblations' from the BCP. But I've just received a demand for next years parish share. Discussion not needed, that's what you're paying so there!!

    I now have to break the demand down to 5 churches and tell them what their share of the overall total is going to be. 5 Treasurers quite upset from me. I say don't shoot the messenger, but they don't hear. I'm the agent of doom as Benefice Treasurer.

    What gifts do I need for this role. A Thick skin, a brain like a calculator, and a spreadsheet. Well, I've got the thick skin and spreadsheet, I just need the brain to go with them.

    The theorem for this role was that in the Army I was a Paymaster. So, when the Vicar was looking for someone to stitch up, he remembered my past, despite my efforts to hide it and did his sidling, vicar thingie, and before I knew it, I was railroaded.

    Four years later, when I suggest someone else might meet the theorem for this job, he shrugs and points out "what a good job that I'm doing, that it would be hard to find someone with the time and gifts to do it, if I could just hang on for a few months, he'll get back to me".

    I actually enjoy the role, but would love to be doing something else, which isn't a busman's holiday from the job that I retired from. Hopefully I'll lose my theorem soon.

  4. My hubby does the hoovering, I suspect because the noisy upright Panasonic machine appeals to his macho side. I wouldn't trust him with the washing up, though!

    love Mags B x


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