Well the weather is certainly making its presence felt hereabouts. -7C seems quite common at present and snow is forecast. The Blogstead stables are full of the sound of ostlers blowing on their fingernails and all that sort of thing.
One interesting interwoven dimension of Blogstead life is a slight problem with doorbells. At present if you press the doorbell in No 3, it rings in No 2 and vice versa. Hours of harmless Yuletide fun for all the family as this tendency extends to the phones, the flushing of the loos, etc., etc.
I’ve been pondering the issues arising from the Report on Haringey Social Services. The commentators yesterday were suggesting that the failures were typical of a form-filling, box-ticking and back-minding mindset in the public services – which means that people don’t actually see what is in front of them to see. And no doubt that’s true. But my knowledge of Social Services tells a story of pressure to deliver ever more on reducing budgets – and of staff who know that when things go wrong and [genuine] mistakes are made, they will receive little or no support.
Meanwhile I can see the same tendencies creeping into church life – and we seem to import both the worst and the best of practice from the secular world. Appointment processes become difficult. Sometimes because people struggle to come to terms with the need to use the best practice we can. Sometimes people’s view of best practice – imported from a particular sphere of secular life – makes the vocational discernment which is the heart of it almost impossible to achieve. I find myself increasingly cautious about making decisions – and this is often good. Which committee do I need to give its approval? Do I need to consult our Registrar [legal officer]?
Most of that I’m actually happy about. I don’t want the kind of authority which claims absolute freedom of action without accountability. I’ve seen enough of the damage which that does. But. I need to function out of a mindset which is scripturally and spiritually alive – otherwise we cease to be the ones that we say we are. And what use is that?