Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol just now on the breakfast show. The subjects in paragraph four are all stories from today's show:

Let me tell you the best way to hit a target. Find a wall with a bit of give in the plaster. Throw a dart at it. Now take a marker pen and draw a target around the point of impact. Bingo. Bulls-eye.

I've been doing ready, fire aim most of my life. It's a plausible approach as long as you are good at inventing a reason for that thing you just did.

In Christian ministry people are always looking for a way to count success. Which was more important - the 40 or so people who came to church on Sunday morning or the seven young people who came to a small discipleship group for teenagers later that day? If I miss a Christmas party for 100 homeless because I'm called to the bedside of one sick parishioner who might die, how will that look?

So what should we count to see how life in Bristol is going? We want that education, health and care plan figure to go up. It sounds like it's the only way it could go. We want more pianos in public spaces - well I do anyway. Pianos bring me joy. We want violence to go down and trees to grow up.

I've never scrutinised the purpose driven ministry of Jesus against his goals but it seems to me he kept planning to go to Jerusalem and was constantly distracted by people needing food, healing and advice. His ministry development review would probably have been disappointing. Jesus of Nazareth - stick to your mission action plan.

So here's a prayer for statisticians everywhere. At election time we need you to tell us how we are doing. And if we've improved. But that isn't everything.

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