Seeing red is a turn on for male primates according to a recent survey. The survey suggests that men are more turned on by women in red and that although men like to think that they respond to women “in a thoughtful and sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive”. Well!

Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza playfully argues in Discipleship of Equals that if all the bishops are going to be men, all the cardinals should be women. What would happen to the bishops if they were seeing red? Fiorenza quotes from an article by Congo, Goodwin and Smith called “We Are Catholics and We Are Feminists”:

Perhaps we should wear red. red to acknowledge courage. Red to acknowledge that we are angry. Red to acknowledge that we are passionate. Red to acknowledge that we are sexual and like our sisters of herstory are still officially barred from the sanctuary because we menstruate. red to acknowledge the blood that flows from us with each birth, with each abortion, with each battering and with each assault …

For now, we pray for the election of a Pope who can build leadership which is holy and humble of heart so that bridges can be built and mended. Our Daily Prayer today contains this prayer as response to Psalm 79:

When faith is scorned
and love grows cold,
then, God of hosts, rebuild your Church
on lives of thankfulness and patient prayer;
through Jesus Christ your eternal Son.

>I bean a-countin’

>I have been guilty of disparaging accountancy. (For example, see here). I know I am not alone! Ever since Monty Python we have suspected that accountants all need a humerus implant. But, not so. Leicester accountants, Mark J Rees, have their own accountantjokesite with jokes such as:

The doctor comes to see his heart transplant patient. “There is good news. It is very unusual but we have two donors to choose form for your new heart.” The patient is pleased. He asks, “What were their jobs?” “One was a teacher and the other was an accountant.”
“I’ll take the accountant’s heart,” says the patient. “I want one that hasn’t been used.”

I’ve been reminded by Dee Hock this morning that accountancy is an old and honourable profession. In ‘Birth of the Chaordic Age‘ Hock traces the phenomenon of accounting to the tribal storyteller whose role was to accurately portray “their tribe as it was, as it is, as it might become, and as it ought to be”. Unfortunately, the primary language used for accounting for present day community is the language of mathematics and number. Consequently, the story is made up of measurements of what was, what is, and what might happen. The really important issues of what we ought to be is beyond the reach of accountancy speaking only the language of numbers.

Hock quotes H. Thomas Johnson, an economic historian, CPA, and former president of the Academy of Accounting Historians: 

“The language of financial accounting merely asserts answers, it does not invite inquiry. In particular it leaves unchallenged the worldview that underlies the way organisations operate. Thus, management accounting has serbved as a barrier to genuine organisational learning… Never again should management accounting be seen as a tool to drive people with measures. Its purpose must be to promote inquiry into the relationships, patterns and processes that give rise to accounting measures.”

Sorry accountants.

>Humorous non-sense

> Funny business dealing with people with no apparent sense of humour. I am sure that 100% of people admit to having a sense of humour – and I defend those who are said to have none. Everyone has a funny bone. We just need to get close enough to tickle them – and there’s the problem. How to break through the barriers. Is it a problem of taking our? Is it about letting ourselves go? Is it a case of use it or lose it?

Thank God for comedy. If humour is about being ticklably close to people it becomes understandable how comedy and compassion so often come together. Look at Comic Relief.

Sr Maria Burke talks about the spirituality of humour and refers to the film Amadeus and the tragic Saleri.

Humour takes us outside ourselves; comedy is truth telling; laughter is a form of self detachment. For example, the wonderful film Amadeus can be viewed as the story of the vocation of Antonio Selieri, court composer to Joseph II of Austria. Selieri could not understand how God could gift Mozart with such talent when he did nothing to merit it and very little to nurture it. Seleri ends by attempting suicide and is placed in a mental institution. In the final scene he confesses his jealousy of Mozart and his anger at God; then he is rolled through the halls of the institute which are lined with other inmates in tragic states of mental breakdown. Selieri draws himself up as if he were the Pope being borne on the sedea gestitore, and blesses the people he passes, saying, “Mediocrities of the world, I absolve you.”

>Postman Chris

>Editing our parish magazine is a job I could do without – I’m not the sort of person who likes to devote hours to any one task. To make the job more satisfying I introduce a bit of impishness like copying this photo of some grave humour taken by Scott P Richert.

Part of the impishness was to inaugurate the monthly Editor’s Award. Past winners have included Tarvin Environment Group (“best new group” and “group with most promise”, to Jenny Wardle for capturing the essence of prayer in a bouquet, and a collective award for all those who are dis-regarded in their communities in spite of the integrity and service (“our communities would be much the porrer without them”)

This month’s award is for “cheerfulness” and is awarded to our village postman, Chris. I stopped him so I could take a photo of him and explained the reason. He was seriously (and cheerfully) overwhelmed – and shocked! I wonder why. Is it because he doesn’t regard himself as any different to anyone else? Is it because we rarely show appreciation? Is it because we are not used to prizing such qualities?