Lesley and I were recently given a copy of Richard Coles’ book, Fathomless Riches, and in reading it I came across the following, recounting his experience of confession:
I told him about what had been going on, … and let rip about the foolishness and unkindness of some of the people I had to live with … “Go on” he said, I paused and thought and said: “I am not as kind as I thought I was, I’m not as brave as I thought I was, I’m not as clever as I thought I was, I’m not as honest as I thought I was”. There was a pause and he said: “Oh, that’s good”.
It reminded me of all the times that I forget to let God take the strain; the times that I think I can do it in my own strength; that without me it would all fall to pieces. And, of course, those are the very times that I find myself exhausted, and stressed, and when it feels as though the whole world is on my shoulders (which of course it is, because I have put it there).
Of course we all have our gifts, and should use them in God’s service, but it is when we forget God that things become overwhelming.
I was told a story by a wise old priest, which I still struggle to follow:
When monks are hoeing the cabbages, and there is one cabbage left, and the bell for chapel rings, should they put down the hoe and go to chapel, or hoe the last cabbage and rush to chapel?
Today the Guardian published an article on Uber, suggesting that the culture at Uber was making it difficult of their employees to get jobs elsewhere because of the way they were encouraged to behave at work. This seems to me to fit with my earlier post on valuing everything by money, and seems to be a reaction against that kind of attitude.
I worked in business for nearly 30 years and worked in two very different businesses within the same group. One had adopted Total Quality and believed in the empowerment of the employees; the other had a command and control management structure. The first worked collaboratively, and relied on personal relationships, the second worked antagonistically.
For example, in the first when something bad happened the whole company pulled together to correct it and make sure it didn’t happen again. In the second, when something bad happened all effort went into proving that it wasn’t your departments fault.
In the first, if someone had a good idea they could go an talk to people from other departments about the feasibility, in the second if you wanted to talk to some one in another department you had to talk to your boss to talk to their boss to talk to them.
When the first company was taken over by the second additional accountants were employed to produce all the reporting required to allow people at the top to make decisions.
The links above generally suggest that the first company was the way of the future, and the second the way of the past, and yet zero hours contracts and increasing monitoring of performance against tightly defined metrics (for example delivery drivers speeding to achieve their targets) seem to be increasing at present.
Which of these might be God’s way?
Guildford Diocese have recently been looking at faith in the workplace under the title Transforming Work (the Diocesan Vision is Transforming Church, Transforming Lives) and this video, which was made as part of this initiative, feels more like the first than the second.
What do you think?