Thursday, 13 October 2011
Work Life Balance?
Dilbert comic strip for 10/12/2011 from the official Dilbert comic strips archive.
The temptation to develop a culture of long hours is just as much a temptation for the church as it is for the work place or home (there is always something else which needs doing, as I look at a pile of washing). Scott Adam paints the picture well, the culture for a business is set by the manager of your place of work, they are the first in and the last to leave, commitment to your job is measured in hours (and not effectiveness just look busy), others expect if your target has not been met that you stay until it has been (though if you have spent 8 hours not getting there will another hour or two really work?), then you get the rare breed which understand you have a life outside of work, which means there will be times when a need will arise for late working or an early start but this will be done by negotiating rather than enforcing contract hour directives (most places I have worked have a maximum number of hours to be worked in a month or week and any hours between 7am and 7pm).
The temptation when things are going wrong is to pour more time into the issue, that somehow if we stare at the same screen the figures will miraculously change or by ringing the same 200 people we will get a different response. Work life balance is something which I always hear, in church and at work. At work we are reminded that we need to balance work and home life as both affect each other (just go to work after a row with your nearest and dearest or come home after a bad day at the office) yet in my experience this is largely lip service and I don't think the church at times is any better. As an ordinand (someone training for ordained ministry in the Church of England) the question turns on me, how am I allowing God to form me in his likeness? I can be an an activist frantically rushing to save the world one person at a time, which in reality fulfills a need to be wanted or a messiah complex. Jesus is Lord has been the declaration of the Church down the ages and though Caesar is no longer the competition, I am faced with the same temptation but to place myself as lord.
Bonhoeffer in Cost of Discipleship, points to the call to follow Jesus by saying Yes to God, which if we take Sabbath as part of God's pattern means taking time out from work (even as a priest). Jesus is Lord means not accepting a cheap grace which molds God in our own image but allows God to mold us in to his. I tend towards working longer and harder to get a job done, which means I can so easily circumvent prayer and taking time to read scripture for scriptures sake. If Jesus is Lord then that means that neither work or leisure are God. He is.
Father help me to say yes to you each day
Forgive me for my pride and attempts to make everything revolve around me
Mold me and change me that you may be glorified
Fill me afresh Holy Spirit and empower me to live this life with my true centre
'via Blog this'