Pastor's Blog

Pushing the wrong button

I’ve had a Buttongate incident recently. Preparing a casserole for our Saturday evening meal, I turned the oven on to pre warm it while getting things ready.  Some 20 minutes later, concentrating closely as I’m wielding sharp instruments to prep some vegetables (with my record you never know), I open the oven door. It isn’t empty.

There’s a few (empty) baking trays, drying out after earlier washing. But there’re not alone. There’s a nice wooden chopping board in there, which is now a very hot nice chopping board in danger of spontaneous combustion. It’s slightly charred at the edges, smoking in the middle. I can’t hide the evidence as I have opened the oven door when Christine is in the kitchen. “Oh Stephen!” just about covers it. Well, it did steam a bit in the sink and one or two cracks have appeared ….offers to replace it with a plank out of the shed fell on deaf ears.

As attempts to get out of cooking go it’s way up the list but, with necessity being the mother of invention, I’m now allowed back. No chances have been taken: when left alone yesterday to prepare lunch, I discovered a handwritten note sellotaped to the oven door “Don’t turn on – birthday cake inside.”

Don’t worry, it’s safe, Sarah ate some a couple of days ago. It was still, noticeably, a yellow hued lemon sponge cake.

The events at home might appear to be a storm in a teacup for some but they are clearly a full blown “Doris” for others. However, it does make me think: what if some other individuals with their fingers on VIB’s (Very Important Buttons) were to press the wrong one?

The Church of England General Synod has recently discussed a report on human sexuality, produced by its Bishops. Although the overall vote was comfortably in favour of accepting the proposals, the voting system, which meant separate votes for the “Houses” of Laity, Clergy and Bishops, meant that the motion failed. It was the Clergy who provided the kick to Bishop Brennan’s posterior: after some sustained lobbying from various quarters, and an alliance involving some very unlikely bedfellows, they rejected the proposals by a very narrow margin.

The most bizarre thing, for me, was the discovery that one Bishop had voted against his own side in somewhat unusual circumstances. The Bishop of Coventry (for it was he) later admitted that, in the confusion, he’d pressed the wrong button on his little box and that he’d really meant to side with the rest of the Bishops all along.

Ok, I admit it. I’ve pressed a few wrong buttons in my time. That includes some interpersonal interactions (aka conversations) I wish I hadn’t had and some behaviours on various sporting fields I seriously regret with the passing of years. The one good thing is that I’ve been able to learn some serious lessons from this – something I hope the good bishop of Coventry also appreciates.

Theresa and Don take note: make sure it’s the right button you press. Some actions have far reaching consequences - the mistakes made by heads of state have a much greater impact than when we forget to seperate the recycling.  Remember: only press the red button when you're certain that you want to reset the heating not to eliminate all human life on earth: it’s the smaller of the two.

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