The privileges of service



Years ago whilst an undergraduate and followed by successfully finding out a degree was not for me, I stood for the elected Student Union role of Social Secretary.  It wasn’t a considered decision.  It was a response to the arrogance and complacency of the incumbent who would be “elected” again (because no-one else was standing).

Our campaign strategy?

Three days before the election (and whilst the incumbent was enjoying a weekend-off), three of us showered the campus with a bunch of homemade posters.  I can’t remember what they said – we were just having fun!  It was protesting against AND  believing in better.  Like not giving away freebies to my mates and (newly found mates).  Like planning events properly.  Like taking the whole thing seriously.  Like listening to what the campus wanted.  Like leading from the front at 3.00am after a long night.  Like being one of the team.  Like all of us think we will.

We won by a landslide and against expectations!

It wasn’t the reason for me failing the academic side of student life.  But it was a damn sight more fun …

We booked U2 just before U2 went global.   I had never heard of them and when I did I didn’t like them.  But it’s not about me.  And on the night I thought Bonio (why call yourself a dog biscuit?) was naked on stage.  Turned out it was a nude-coloured-onsie which is even weirder!  But it’s not about me.  And the evening was so successful we were never allowed to do anything like that again – the college authorities had a fit!

Turned out the fire-limit was 300 people less than came along! 

Who knew … ?



This UK election I find myself having no idea which way to vote.  Politicians here and the world over are disconnected.  Electorates the world over are jaded.  It is all so  transactional with one massive “small-print” … whoever I vote for has no intention of delivering whatever they promise.

There is an embedded arrogance and complacency.

The electorate is Big Data to be analysed, trawled, mined and drilled-down.  The message I get may (or may not) be the same as someone just like me twenty miles away.  But Big Data is not relationship.  Big Data is resource.  Numbers count and I am (or perhaps not).  The political-class live and breathe calculated-machinations and cynical-manipulations of power-seeking and power-taking.

Just as reality television has storyboard executives (how is that “reality”?) – so too political parties (except we call them spin-doctors).



Recently I took part in a church teaching about the sin of envy and pride.  An example highlighted was “the privileges of service” – i.e. any elected/non-elected role of church leadership and/or ministry.  I had never heard the phrase before.  It seemed then – and still does – contradictory.  Because the privileges that cause envy or pride are the same as in any political arena/hierarchy.

Perks I call them …

Queue jumping.  Getting my people to talk to your people.  My time is more valuable than yours.  I am more important than you but not really.  I work for you in a bubble that you do not.  I work with people you look up to.  And it’s all necessary to motivate millions of you believers the world over: to keep on spreading our The Word – to keep on printing the our authorised bible – how else do we control that many people (one believer told me).  So no envy please because I have no pride in my perks.  That’s a sin!



I really believe Church has a role today and every day.

Except when it looks up to and emulates the society and culture in which it is embedded.

The political and commercial structures around it … the legal and administrative strictures necessary to comply with charitable status and public performance … the media messages and ingrained expectation it has a right to survival because the bible says so (not entirely sure where) … It is a church that preaches and teaches it is in this world but not of this world – but seems to be both.

There is a wealth of political parties – and an even greater wealth of churches –

So, I wonder, which one would Jesus would vote for today?

Rather than against.




2 thoughts on “The privileges of service

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.