Reflection by Rev’d Stewart

(Warning this blog post contains the repeated use of a word that’s may be seen by some as unbecoming of a minister of religion)

It has been an interesting exercise in moving offices in more ways than one. My key learning in the whole process is that churches and the individuals that make up the amazing body of Christ collect and accumulate a whole lot of ‘crap’. Apologies for using this word if you find it offensive, especially used by me, but I can think of no better way than describing what I have seen over the last month or so. I don’t sit in judgement of others either, I acknowledge that I am a major contributor to the accumulation of said crap.

For me personally, I had to move out of my office in the Lakeview building before everyone else started the process so I could make my office available for Anglicare to use during the transition. While I did throw out some obvious things and put some things aside for others to deal with, the main reason I was able to vacate quickly was that I put most things in bags and boxes, loaded up my car, took them home and plonked them in the middle of the floor in my office at home.

Now I have to admit I am not normally known for my tidiness. It is a trait I have inherited from my father. As long as I know where to generally find things, I can coexist with clutter and mess. But I have inherited at least some of my mother’s fastidiousness and tidiness. I can only exist in this state for so long before I have to clear it all up and sort it out.

I have been chipping away at it for the last couple of weeks but have made a more concerted effort this week. Here are just a few examples of the crap that I have discovered which are a combination of my own office and my work office:

  • A box of rubber bands that obviously pre dates my tenure because I have never opened or used them and they have perished to the extent that half the box has lost its elasticity. 
  • A bunch of AA batteries that were replaced from the microphone I use on Sundays that while did not have enough charge for the microphone, may have enough to last a little bit longer in other battery bearing items I have.
  • Numerous data cables of varying length and colour that have come with computer products or had become redundant with WiFi.
  • Piles of old magazines (mostly golf magazines) that I might relook at, at some point in the future.
  • So many pens that I will never ever use (as I am very particular about the type of pen I use – don’t judge me!)

I could go on & on but hopefully you get the picture… I have decided not to list any of the crap we uncovered in other parts of the office and the church as I realise the risk of either embarrassing many of the readers of this blog for hanging on to such crap, or drawing attention to things we have decided are crap that you might have expected us to hold on to… just in case.

I remember some years ago my then Rector’s Warden, Sandra Duke doing a major cull of crap. She would systematically ask: “When was the last time we used this?”. So I didn’t have staff asking me this question I’ve empowered them with a life motto: “if in doubt, throw it out”.

As I echo this statement I can almost feel the ire of both my late grandmothers looking on from Heaven, these 2 ladies were world class hoarders and crap collectors. I understand the need to not be wasteful and much of my reluctance to deal with redundant things in my life comes from my financial background and the knowledge that this crap had, and possibly still has, value.

So is there any purpose in the above parable of the crap?

This experience has caused me to reflect on how much emotional and relational crap we can hold onto that can so easily clutter up and crowd out our capacity to be life giving to others and life realising for ourselves.

Surely one of the principles of forgiveness is that we can let go of such things?

Perhaps the next stage of my clear out should be the review of the emotional and relational crap I have clung onto that has become an unrealised burden to my life, my relationships and my ministry. I wonder if others have similar problems or maybe it’s just me?

I pray your week is not too crappy.


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