Being the husband of rev.Junior means that every so often I end up in a strangers house eating a nice roast and plum pudding due to some invitation received (and accepted) while _____ was out doing her pastoral visits.
This can be hard to play as you are strangers meeting for the first time and don’t know each other.
And maybe because I feel like I’m living in exile up here in an unfamiliar place I can’t accept as home I was a bit nervous about going.
Which is my way of saying that tonight we ended up for dinner at a nice couples home, feeling nervous but eventually settling into conversation with each other, a glass of wine and the nicest roast I’ve had in a long time.
So far, so good.
But eventually, (and you know its coming because these things always come round when you meet for the first time) the question that I had been dreading came up.
Well, technically we moved on a few steps from that as rev.Junior had mentioned the fact that I was looking for work in her previous conversations so the nice couple knew that I was looking for work and that I was classed as ‘unemployed’ and suddenly in my head it was panic stations, all men to the pumps, try to make it sound like you’re not a bum, justify yourself!
Suddenly I started to feel very uncomfortable.
They asked what I would like to do.
Writing here on cyber space I could give a list of things I would like to do. For instance
a) I would like to write and publish little zines and have people subscribe for a year and make some money that way.
b) I would like to publish a little handmade communal zine/books
c) I would like to serve my local community/neighbour here in Lisburn, Belfast, Ireland,(even the world) by designing and making,
graceful objects that encourage sustainable production over unsustainable consumption and use any profit I made (after I had paid myself a fair wage) to support other people who are on the same wavelength.
d) I would like to grow some of my own food.
Thats amongst other things.
But its not easy to explain when in some stranger’s home, chewing a piece of lamb when asked
‘What would you like to do?’
I think part of the problem is that I would basically quite like to be a prophet, but who employs prophets? You don’t see many vacancies for prophets on http://www.jobcentreonline.com, and certainly not in Belfast?
And could/would a prophet work for certain companies anyway?For instance, the other night in bed I read the first few chapters of Ezekiel.
Here was a man who was once told by God to draw a picture of Jerusalem on a brick, then to make a model of a military siege around this brick (with all the trappings)and to personally lay siege against the brick.
Now we’re talking!Get me a job like that!
Or another time he was told to lay on his left side for 390 days, turn over and lay on his right side for 40 days,then to roll up his sleeve, shake his arm, and preach against Jerusalem.
Behind the smile and friendliness of the B&Q door greeter is someone who might hate every moment of it,
who was probably earning minimum wage but who’s larger purpose in all of it is to encourage customers to spend as much as possible,
to keep like-on-like sales growing,
to hit the sales target (which always got bigger),
to make some type of faceless owner(because who actually owns these operations?)richer.
Oh and to ‘Kill Woodies’ as our GM once said.
Our job was to kill of the competition,to work so that the chain would be the first and only place you would think of coming for to get your BBQ’s, plumbing, paint, tiles, garden supplies etc.
Yet at the heart of Christianity is surely things such as grace,or giving away our lives, in serving the poor and treating them fairly, in the gift economy.
Ezekiel is a man I just can’t imagine working in Dobbies Garden World.
Yet how would Jeremiah, Ezekiel or Daniel get on round Lisburn or Belfast at the moment, in this day and age?
Would they go along with the way the economy is at the moment, take whatever work they could get or would they say ‘No, enough is enough. All this greed and over-consumption has to stop.I can’t be part of it. Get back to things like loving your neighbour and walking humbly before your Lord…’
Would they be on the dole?
They would have bills to pay.
How would Jesus fill out his CV?
What about the gaps, what would he say?
Would he always paint himself in the best possible light, give the employers what they would like to hear?
Would he try to compete with his neighbour to get a job?