"then wilt thou not be loath to leave this Paradise, but shalt possess a paradise within thee, happier far. Let us descend now therefore from this top of speculation; for the hour precise exacts our parting hence" Paradise Lost, Book XII, lines585-590

Saturday, July 7, 2012

At the office

One of the perks of my new position is that I am provided with a very nice office.  Actually, it's too big to be an office, it's more of a study which is not the same as a library (that's across the hall).  As you can see from the picture, I don't own anything like enough books to make the shelves look anything but bare.  I have air conditioning, internet access, a printer, I even bought a Keurig coffee maker - I really have no reason to leave.

But that's kind of what bothers me.  I worry that I'll be too tempted to hole up in here and not go out into the world where I'm supposed to be - sharing the Good News and making visible the invisible hand of God.  I've only been here a week, so I can't speak knowledgeably about the parish or my predecessors, but I have to wonder at what effect the introduction of large rector's offices has been on the church?  Mind you, the walls that aren't bookshelves are concrete block, but when this building was built in 1955, the priest must have thought this office was paradise compared to the likely space he must have occupied in the former small brick church which had been bought from the Methodists 20 years earlier when they needed a bigger space.

Having an office feels alot like settling in and settling down.  This is hardly an original thought, but Christianity like the Judaism from which it sprang, seems its most authentic self when it is on the move, on a pilgrimage.  The Israelites were promised a land of milk and honey - but both of those are things you get on the hoof and not things you get by making permanent camps; they're the food of nomads and not of farmers. Jesus himself said that the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.  If the church is truly the body of Christ, shouldn't we be at least a little concerned that we have nice comfy pillows in big fluffy beds on which to lay our heads?

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