Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Loving life, living lent....

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Yesterday I blogged how the Church of England had joined the Twitterati in order to suggest ways to mark Lent with "simple acts of generosity and thoughtfulness in the real world". So of course it was with great anticipation that I logged on to Twitter this morning for their first suggestion. Here we go:
"Hi and welcome to our first Lent tweet. Give up your place in a queue to someone else."
Now I don't know who they've employed to dream these tips up each day, but when you start considering the practicalities this begins to resemble an unfunny Christian version of a Viz Top Tip. Contrary to popular belief, we heathens are all for acts of kindness, but how exactly is this one supposed to work?

Let's start by joining a queue in, for example, the post office. I've joined the queue at the back, so no point giving up my place just yet. But now someone's joined it behind me. So I give up my place to them, meaning I'm now 17th in the queue and that person's 16th. And now here's another person joining the queue. Do I now give my penultimate position to them? Or is one "act of kindness" quite enough for one day? Anyone joining the queue after my initial act can just deal with it and queue behind me. I was here first, that's my line, and I'm sticking to it. Except for that first time, when I gave up my place because the Church of England said I should on Twitter, because it's Lent...

Confusing stuff, isn't it? Silly little gestures dreamed up because the C of E wanted to get in on the Twitter craze and definitely doesn't have any jokes to tell. It looks even sillier when you see that on the same day the archbishops of Canterbury and York have launched an appeal for Zimbabwe and jointly condemned Mugabe in a piece in The Times to coincide with the start of Lent. Now that's something we can all support, and the Church would look a lot more credible if it stuck to things like that.

7 comments:

foolfodder said...

What happens if two people who are doing this join a cue at once?

AT said...

Lent covers a lot. Small acts of kindness, fasting, Mugabe.

Brook said...

@foolfodder: It's a bit like if you butter a cat's back and drop it.

Andrew said...

When it comes to small acts of kindness, I'm more of an opportunist. It makes the whole thing more personal, and less contrived and creepy. How many people would genuinely be happy that the stranger in front of them halfway down a queue let them skip one place ahead? That just makes it easier for them to stare at you.

Neil said...

Fool fodder asks what happens if two people ...

First they stand for several minutes saying "after you", "no no I insist after you".

Then, when everyone else has walked past them, they each try with increasing vehemence to forgive the other for making them miss whatever it was they were Q ing 4

George said...

Quite right - there isn't much point in giving up your last place in the queue to the person who joins after you and then ignoring everyone after that. What you're supposed to do is stand in a queue for half an hour until you're number 3 in a line of about 18 people and then give up your place to the next person that turns up, thereby selflessly sacrificing your half hour wait and giving them a 15 person jump on everyone else! Now that's worth doing!

In addition - if you manage to get away before the hair starts to fly your next act of kindness will be to bring them flowers and fruit in hospital.

Helen said...

Lent time again. Yes, I can see what you are saying here.
Lent should be a time of reflection, not just giving something up but what you can do to promote a little act of kindness or giving.
I can see why the church should want to be on twitter and be seen to be up there with everybody else in our technologial age.I don't blame themfor wanting this.