When you ask a vicar how they are, chances are they will reply ‘busy’. I have always tried to avoid answering this question with that word, either by cocking my head to one side and earnestly saying “it’s not about me; how are you?”, by playing to the (always hilarious) joke that I only work one day a week and saying “pretty free til next Sunday actually, it’s an easy life this one”, or by saying “crap actually, can we talk about it” simply because it is a hobby of mine to create awkward silences and hold them for as long as possible. Usually we call it prayer.
However at this time I am actually very busy, what with my co-vicar being on maternity leave and 20,000 hungry parishioners (as opposed to Parisiens) needing souls cured, booklets photocopied and the heating switched on and off according to the whims of Mother Nature. So, because despite my magical (sorry, miraculous) powers I cannot squeeze any more time out of the day, and because I will not sacrifice my family or my sanity on the altar of ‘doing everything’, I have decided there must be cuts.
So here are 7 things I will no longer be doing:
- I will no longer read commentaries whilst preparing sermons. Live text on BBC Sport is finally to be considered a distraction and I will switch it off.
- Updating my Facebook status will no longer be considered a spiritual discipline. If God wants to know what I am up to, he can email me, which I will leave marked as unread until I have time to respond.
- I will no longer keep my office tidy. Jesus came into a messy world to redeem it, so I will wait for him to do the same to my office.
- Whilst I can see the benefit of reading the Bible, there is never anything new in it and it is awfully long. I will stick to whatever Scriptures I can find on bookmarks, posters and other people’s Facebook pages, as they are presumably the most important ones.
- I shall no longer prepare services. It seems a lot of work to do essentially the same thing every week. Following the example of the X-Factor and Strictly, we will use the same script every week, manipulate the odd drama and throw someone out according to votes cast in the offering bags.
- Instead of feeling guilty about not having planned things that are coming up (like Christmas, or tomorrow’s assembly), I will make it a deliberate policy not to plan anything until the day on which it happens. After all, it’s God’s reputation on the line so it’s up to him to step in with last-minute inspiration, and he ought to be able to operate the photocopier by now.
- We will no longer hire out the church hall in an organized way, but simply leave it open as a ‘community space’. This way we don’t have to worry about keys or rent, we just let the Big Society sort it out for themselves. This is called empowering the community. In fact, we will no longer lock away the church tea and coffee. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
With these changes in place, I am hoping that I will no longer find myself scrabbling for euphemisms for the b word, and will be able once again to the play on the Playstation during the day. Sorry, pray station.