Faith at Work LXXI

June 2010

I read the following the other day, and it rather appealed to me: “there are only 10 kinds of people in the world – those who understand binary and those who don’t.” The first person to whom I showed this said that it didn’t make sense, so that proves it, doesn’t it! Sample of two – proof positive! There are lots of things that come in twos and they are often opposites: light or dark, male or female, up or down, on or off (one or zero), fact or fiction, awake or asleep, alive or dead; but, when we think about God, things get a bit more tricky. Is he in heaven whilst we are in (as the prayer book says) earth, or does the divine mingle with the human and give us insights about what life is all about? Wouldn’t we be better off working in partnership rather than separately?

There are many other things that come in two halves when I am sure we would be better off finding a way of working together. The Houses of Parliament in Westminster are split in two twice: the Lords and the Commons first of all and then the government and the opposition: the two sides physically face each other, ready for combat. The Scottish Parliament is more co-operative; it’s laid out in an arc with the different parties together but adjacent and they all work through the chair at the front. Their voting procedures, designed to improve the representation of urban and rural areas, tends towards an amalgam of the major parties all seeking to be heard in debate.

The workplace struggles with the demands of us-and-them, shop-floor and management, customer and shareholder. I’m often told as I go round the shop-floor that the job helps to pay the bills. Going round management, they are generally more concerned with maintaining the business and under pressure to make a profit on the one hand and to maintain adequate quality on the other. There are these tensions all over the place and it is worth standing back sometimes to evaluate appropriate ways forward in coming to mutually beneficial conditions.

In our personal lives, we have similar tensions to manage and we all find different ways of holding them in balance. I felt really affirmed the other day when I was reading a book entitled “The Three Marriages” by David Whyte that explores how we relate one to another (especially in marriage), our self to our work and our self to our true Self (or to the divine or whatever we find brings meaning to our lives). He was quite clear that the so-called work-life balance that some people advocate is not really an appropriate goal: far better, he would say, to “find a central conversation that can hold all of these three marriages together”, and so we pray:

Go before us, Lord, in all we do
that in all our works
begun, continued and ended in you,
we may glorify your holy name
through Jesus Christ our Lord

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2010-05-06

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