Wednesday, November 30, 2005


From my previous posts, it will be obvious that I had a great time at the weekend. Part of that weekend involved singing in an Advent Carol service. Advent has to be my favourite season in the Church year - this terrific sense of expectancy, in the dark of the Celtic winter, where the candle flames are a tiny flicker in the gloom. But was MY enjoyment at the expense of someone else's? There was at least one person present who, apparently, has girned her way through the two days since the service - so obviously not a happy bunny!

This leads me, slightly waywardly, into considering the difficulties of running a voluntary organisation like the church. Enthusiastic people - great, but also difficult. When does one person's enthusiasm become another's bete noir? How do you tell someone that actually their efforts are not helpful - and how do you deal with someone who makes destructive comments? who seems oblivious to hurt caused?
I suspect that traditionally the clergy have soaked up a lot of this stuff. After all, that's what they're paid for, right? (Sarcasm, here) But now that full-time priests are becoming an endangered species, more of us are becoming aware of all this fermenting that goes on beneath the smiling surface - what the poet/priest R.S.Thomas memorably referred to as "the dark filling in their smiling sandwich" ("The Priest") and feeling at a loss how to deal with it. It's easy if you revert to what for some of us are basic instincts - but these are not often helpful. The unreconstructed me would like to savage the girner with all the skill of long practice - but this would probably be A Bad Thing. So I won't.
Blogging as catharsis, eh? Great.


  1. dinahmt6:55 PM

    I just want to point out here that I am not the girner!

  2. At the risk of being too simplistic is life not too short to worry about girners? Enjoy your time and let them enjoy girning!

  3. I think hate-mail or hate-comments on the blog are the first signs of success. People don't like it when the boat is rocked, but when the boat's not moving anywhere you need to do something to make headway.

  4. I know that this is a bit off topic, but I just worked out that you are Ewan's mum. When I met him at SETT he said his mum read blogs. I see that you have now moved over to writing them too. :-)

    As for girners in the church, our old minister used to say that when the devil fell, he landed in the choir stalls! Is it significant that this post is made in the context of a carol service? It does seem that music is a major area of contention in churches. It has probably aye been so. Our current minister likes to talk about the near riots that were caused years ago when the church organ was introduced and the setting up of a choir apparently led to mass walk outs... exactly the same sort of responses you would get today if somebody suggested getting rid of the organ or the choir! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. :-)

  5. Maybe girning in your blog will help without doing anything in the church. As Don says, some people enjoy girning or maybe they know of no other way to lead their short lives. This reminds of a speakers' meeting that Bob went to last week. It was actually a joint Ladies and Gents Speakers meeting. A ex-president of the Ladies Club spoke about the speeches she had given over the years and on reflection she has found that they have helped her to cope with the various crises in her life. Just like your blogging !