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Friday, 17 November 2017

Talents

Getting my thoughts together on the Parable of the Talents.

And the often-excellent Roots on the Web site is focusing on the ideas of risk-taking. What is it worth risking, what is the reward? The question we all ask ourselves all the time - albeit quite often with very poor analysis. Take voting "Yes" to Brexit. The risk - is - trashing the economy and upsetting all our natural allies, leaving ourselves friendless in a world that increasingly is dominated by big players like the US, China, India. The reward was sticking fingers up to all the career politicians running the country, and all the establishment businesses - thus seeing us run by a different bunch of career politicians, while the establishment businesses head abroad taking jobs and taxes with them. You can see why it was attractive.

But then we do it in other areas. We know that driving is more dangerous than staying at home. But think the reward of getting to work is greater than that of starving to death. Statistically, cycling everywhere is safer than driving everywhere. But we think about the danger of an "accident*" and get in the Prius.

And in Church?

There's always a safe option. Get those talents nice and safe. Stick to what we do. Maybe tweak what we do, better to accommodate those who already do what we do. Clean the monuments, buff up the woodwork. Keep everything tidy, ready for when the church is ready to be just visited as if it were a museum, looked after by a trust and never open on Sunday. Nice and safe. But it's the route to death.

The alternatives can be - alternative. Maybe you need to do what you do, but better? Though you might upset those who always liked it as it was. Not too challenging. Not too much change. Excellence is awful.

Or maybe the right thing to do would be completely to change. Get rid of the Latin Mass and replace it with Messy Church. Or vice-versa. Depends on the locale, dunnit? Chuck out, or bring in, the electric guitars. Introduce long, disturbing times of silence. May  not attract the crowds- but maybe some people will be closer to God than they were when it was all words, words, words.

Or have an art exhibition, a drop-in centre, a food bank, a place where people can just sit about. They may bring their problems. They may fail - some things do. But you're offering a place of connection. A hope. A use of your talents, whatever they may be.

Or maybe just throw it all up in the air and go and tell people what Jesus means to you. That, regardless of what smug positivists (who were debunked by the people who invented their stupid philosophy) may say, there's reality in God. That you can touch the divine if you take the time and set aside the space and just bloody look for something beyond the mundane. That if you get past everything reductionist, there's something that embraces the universe waiting for you.

They're high risk strategies. But I'd compare them to cycling. Statistically, cycling improves your life expectancy. Sure, if you take a chance, you run the risk of getting run over. But then what's the alternative? Sit there. Sit there safe. Don't do anything too much. And let yourself run gently down. Run gently down. Run gently down.

And die.



* act of stupidity by a motorist



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