Tuesday, 15 March 2011

For Saint Charity

So I was listening to some table-talk at what is more than nominally a Christian institution, and one guy was complaining to the other that their flock kept trying to weasel out of joining in one of these charity benefit activities the management had thought up. It wasn't very much money to participate, and the funds were going to causes like Japanese earthquake relief, and they'd suggested plainly to their flock that reluctance was really a bit rubbish under the circumstances. Yet the reluctance continued. What was that all about, eh?

It would have been shockingly rude to tell them what popped into my head at once, nor am I convinced my diagnosis was correct. But what I felt like saying was,

"Maybe it's about their being young and naïve, and taking what they hear in Chapel too seriously. Might they have got it into their heads that charitable giving ought to be spontaneous, and liberal, and secret? That they thought that paying a set fee, in obedience to authoritative nagging, to an impersonal bundle of causes, for the privilege of effectively spending all day wearing a cool! whacky! clown suit emblazoned with the words I GAVE SOME STUFF TO CHARITY - wasn't something they ought to do at all? What if this isn't a sign that they're worse meaner people than you thought them? Couldn't it just as well be a sign that they're brighter and fairer and better?"

Of course that would be goatlike rather than sheepish behaviour, and far be it from charity to be associated with anything as random as grace! But I like to think that, for some of the hoof-draggers at least, there is wild lightfoot dancing going on in places the herders aren't looking.

I can't honestly leave this post without admitting that - given how I feel about these things - I don't find my own charitable record over the past year very much to congratulate myself about. Meh!

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