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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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42 Responses to 758

  1. Forrest says:

    Taking a different track with a phrase from this than what cartoon intends:
    more important than how you WAS
    is how you ARE

  2. beatthedrum says:

    Superb as ever Jon. We often forget those who serve us even though we are called to serve them as well!.

  3. Sophie says:

    Yep true enough, but then there’s the other extreme where members of a congration think the vicar/minister and family are public property and therefore think it’s OK to ask v personal questions. Tricky to get the balance right.

  4. Wiggy says:

    Sometimes a vicar / pastor’s own actions shuts them away from allowing the church to ask how they are – they might give a sense of ‘all is well’ just like we do.

    Agree that we often forget them but sometimes they dont make it easy either.

  5. Miriworm says:

    Or could it be they don’t ask because they know the vicar is a hyperchondraic. :-)

  6. Robb says:

    Aren’t they all symptoms for some people of doing anything in public?

    “During the best mas speach I had….”

    “During the presentation at work I had…….”

    “During lesson one I had……”

    During my inaugural speach I had…..” Obama.

  7. marcus says:

    during the service I was flogged, beaten, mocked, crucified and buried and then afterwards they expect me to dance round singing hallelujah!

    Every time I preach I die.

  8. Kim says:

    maybe he should read the book by Anne Jackson called MAd Church Disease?

  9. subo says:

    church can really have that effect on one

  10. Forrest says:

    My Dad was a ‘2nd career’ preacher after retiring from Navy, showed this to him and he said “Yep.”

    May I interrupt this topic to bring some very good news?
    Can kinda tie it in via self-doubt and depression themes.

    Judge said yesterday it’s okay to resume contact with my wife via phone calls and e-mail until next court date September 14.
    Talked to Kathy 3 hours last night and boy oh boy was it needed!
    Her best friend Mildred is in rapidly declining health and this week (I think) is pretty much being sent to a nursing home halfway across the country to die.
    And Kathy is having some financial stresses that I am not allowed to help her with right now.
    My wife really needed to hear her husband’s voice.
    I hate it when we both end up crying :-)

    Something that’s good news in a sideways sort of way is that the Psychiatrist has added another diagnoses to my bipolar – a thing called Asperger’s disorder, or syndrome.
    Funny that that had been among things Kathy had said to him she wondered about on a time she went with me to see him.
    And it does explain a lot, quite a lot, that happens:

    And we now return to our regularly scheduled topic.

  11. David Keen says:

    Tricky one. The cartoon really strikes a chord, but there’s also a strong sense for me as a vicar that if I let too much of my own needs surface, that’ll put the focus on me and not on God. So comment 4 is partly right in my case.

  12. Tiggy says:

    Hmm, Forrest there are a lot of key Aspergers things that you clearly don’t have, like ‘lack of demonstrated empathy’ and trouble understanding figurative speech.

    Not everyone fits in their little boxes. When my friend saw a psych he went through every possible diagnostic category trying desperately to fit her into one.

    I’ve found the Enneagram more useful myself.

  13. Tiggy says:

    Thing is if someone had asked above vicar how he was, he’d have said ‘Fine, fine. And how are you?’

  14. Caroline Too says:

    Of course, Tiggy is right… so the questions arises…

    how can we create the time and the quality of relations for some honesty?

    how do we (re)create the pastor/vicar’s role to be a support and company-on-life’s-journey (rather than being a performing seal)

    how do we get more pew-fillers involved in pastoring, teaching and leading… so that the full-time guy is not set up on a pedastal having to protect (usually) his centre (see David’s comment #11)

    and actually, David, why shouldn’t you be the focus every once in a while?

    the answer to all these questions starts but isn’t completed in looking at the ridiculous way we organise the church’s relational activities (often called services)

  15. Tiggy says:

    Ah, but the other side of that has to be a relinquishing of control by the clergy and a lot of them won’t like that. I have heard of churches that aren’t ‘led from the front’, but I think the very shape of most churches goes against that. The First Nations people say that ‘white men can’t make circles’, but boy can we make rows – all lined up neatly like a classroom. We need to start having church ‘in the round’. We need to learn to make circles.

  16. Tiggy says:

    What Paddy’s Wigwam? Yeah symbol of Catholic 1960s theology. Still led from the centre though.

  17. Robb says:

    Sorry to be so obvious:

    “We need to start having church ‘in the round’. We need to learn to make circles.”

    You brought up the theology of the buildings we [well some of us] worship in. It don’t get much more established than Rome.

  18. Tiggy says:

    Yes, but I didn’t really mean a circle with a priest/vicar/pastor in the centre.

  19. Robb says:

    So the front and the centre aren’t good places for leadership? What about the back?

  20. jonbirch says:

    half way back and slightly to the left is clearly the place to lead from. :-D

  21. Tiggy says:

    I have quite a revulsion to being led at all. I’m weary of people’s attempts to indoctrinate me – especially when they are clueless.

  22. Tiggy says:

    And you can stop taking the piss as well Birchy or I’ll pull your woolly hat off!

  23. Tiggy says:

    I could do with a new tea cosy…

  24. Robb says:

    Me too – (indoctrination and leading etc)…..

    But like everything (a school, hospital, shop, country, anything) the ideal of ‘no leaders’ equates to… eeek… I’d hate to think what would have happened in my old school without a head!

    We need to stand up to our church leaders and be part of the body as intended. They lead US [to put the emphasis right]. WE are led…

    The best leaders lead you where you want to go but point out when you don’t want to go there [even if you don’t know it].

  25. Tiggy says:

    I hardly think the school analogy is a fair one! And I wasn’t suggesting hospitals and businesses should have no leaders.

    I don’t really understand the rest of what you said Robb. I don’t want someone telling me where not to go in some paternalistic fashion.

  26. Robb says:

    I think it is a fair one.

    No you weren’t, it was my comparison. Hospitals and schools I think are a good comparison as they also shouldn’t have a profeit margin to achieve. When push comes to shove, people need to book rooms, buy the equipment and…. teach ‘em.

    Fair do’s with the not wanting to be led. Go where you want.

    I know I don’t always know what is best for me and pater knows better. That isn’t a metaphor, I’m talking about the real guy I call dad. I quite like that he does.

  27. Robb says:

    I don’t really understand the rest of what you said Robb.

    If you go to the himalayas you ask a guy who lives there or knows the paths to show you where they have been. They aren’t doing the climb for you but they will tell you where the drop is so tha you don’t stumble off it.


    They will lead you where you want to go and tell you if it is a bad idea to go where you want to go.

  28. Tiggy says:

    Mine doesn’t know better. He’s an ignorant, violent, selfish person who makes Alf Garnett look politically correct. Fortunately I’ll never have to see him again.

    Probably explains our difference in attitude. :-)

  29. Robb says:

    That’s why I said ‘best’. There are plenty of ‘worst’ leaders!

    Do you know that 50% of leaders are blow average!!

  30. Tiggy says:

    I wouldn’t trust anyone exclusively on theological or pastoral matters. These days one goes to a variety of sources for guidance or rather for information so that one can make up one’s own mind. Otherwise you can find yourself led up some very dubious paths.

  31. Tiggy says:

    For example, at my church they try to get me to believe six impossible things before breadfast. The latest one was, ‘In the early church, Christians preaching would have their heads cut off and their heads would still carry on preaching.’

  32. jonbirch says:

    haha! there are many charismatic church leaders who i could well believe that if you severed their heads from their bodies they still wouldn’t shut up! :-D

  33. Tiggy says:

    How true! But then they’re talking out of their arses most of the time. This was one of the leadership team who assured me of this. The funny thing was he then proceeded to mime cutting his wife’s head off – telling I think.

    I thought being a big church I’d get to know lots of people – something of a priority when you know no one in town – but I think they’re deliberately holding me back in a specially supervised small group run by the leaders rather than letting me join one of the bigger ones, just in case I’m a bad influence.

    Think I’ll have to find somewhere else before it harms my soul.

  34. Caroline Too says:

    why does a person have to lead?

    why couldn’t an idea lead us to the next action

    or a suggestion

    or a wish

    so the question becomes

    how do we generate the kinds of conversations that create the space for lots of helpful ideas, suggestions and wishes?

    and I’d respectfully suggest that strong leadership will kill those conversations, infact pretty well any kind of leadership will damage them

    so can we… repeat we facilitate them?

  35. Robb says:

    Tiggy – that is a very wise thing to do.

    BTW – I would assume that if you cut someones head off they would easily be able to keep talking out of their arse…..

    Caroline Too – that is what I was trying to describe with my poor literacy skills.

  36. Tiggy says:

    I used to get really bored in Anglican churches though and need to go to the loo at least twice during the service. I can’t stand all that stand up/sit down/stand up business and reiterating a boring legalistic creed – I don’t mind reciting poetry, not at all. I don’t like line dancing either. I think I’m just too much of an individual for corporate stuff – I have a compulsion to do things differently to other people. I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing, but I can’t see it going away in a hurry.

  37. Robb says:

    It still amuses me that people are only rude to your face if you are an anglican :lol:

  38. Tiggy says:

    That’s cos people know that Anglicans have to be polite back. Catholics and Charismatics may threaten you with hell and damnation; the most an Anglican will threaten you with is too many cups of tea.

  39. Robb says:

    Oh the irony.

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