Yes it’s bonus time in the Scottish Episcopal Church. And as in the world of banking, so in the church – everybody wins. We work on a complicated measurement of prayers said, e mails sent, Vestries chaired, visits done, funerals conducted, sermons preached …. But whatever the measurement, we expect to get our bonuses.
It’s easy to take potshots at bankers at the moment. Some will protest that they have met their targets – their bit of the bank is profitable – so why should they not receive their due? But they disregard the fact that they are part of a corporate whole which has been bailed out by the taxpayer. I know that many of the people who receive bonuses – not the mega-millions – rely on that as part of their pay just to deal with the mortgage or the car loan. I am mindful too of bank staff who have been rewarded with bank shares which are now almost worthless. There have been many losers – within the banks as well as without
And yet I have long believed that some choices carry us into the realm of something close to spirituality – even tho’ they are not identifiably religious choices. The victim – victim of violence or wronged spouse or whatever – is entitled to anger and revenge but chooses to set that aside. That brave choosing becomes the start of the painful path towards the forgiveness and healing which will ultimately set all parties free. And the choice about bonuses is a bit like that. ‘Entitled’ is a big word – it may have moral or contractual dimensions. The question is whether it is ‘right’ for those, who have already benefitted beyond the dreams of many, to set aside that to which they feel that they are ‘entitled’. Because down that road might lie the birth of a more communitarian, less acquisitive and less envious culture.