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Getting Through 10 March 2017

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Lent, Life.
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As the Lent of blogging rolls on, perhaps today’s theme of ‘challenge’ is more than appropriate. I’m tired. It’s been a long week, and I’ve yet to work tomorrow too as there’s an Applicant Visit Day at University. What do I have to say?

One of the things that keeps my brain spinning every so often (although not, mercifully, when I lie in bed at night or as soon as I awake, thank God) is the challenge of how to communicate what goes on in the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy and how we are a resource for all, irrespective of faith and belief. There’s only so much money we can spend in putting out printed publicity, and much of social media is opt in, requiring people to choose to follow on Facebook and Twitter, and even then just letting people know often isn’t enough. We are bombarded with publicity, about all sorts of things. Instead, the message has to take life somehow, to be invested with value and meaning (one reason why the advertising industry does so well).

Of course, we aren’t the only ones at university struggling to have meaningful engagement. This week the Students’ Union is running the annual elections for a number of posts, including the three sabbatical officer posts (the President and two Vice-Presidents). It’s important stuff, but the turnout is traditionally low: from memory I suspect it’s somewhere between 5% and 10% of the eligible electorate (which makes even the most poorly-contested local or national elections in this country look like a seething hotbed of political activity). This year the SU has been offering a number of incentives to get people to vote, in the form of a reward for the first n people to do so: Monday was a free slice of pizza and half a pint; Tuesday, loyalty points for the shop; Wednesday, a meal voucher; Thursday, an on-campus petting zoo (more like a farm!) for all who could prove they’ve voted, and then later today a barbecue! Is it bribery, or a reward? Or a bit of both? It seems to be working, as a member of the SU staff, having popped in for something else, says we have the highest turnout for a while, currently standing at about 2,000 votes. (You heard it here first folks!)

hear meHow do we get people to engage in a world of distractions and apathy? Experience seems to suggest that it’s the personal touch that makes all the difference. I can look at many of my CDs and remember who it was that introduced me to that artist, for example. Indeed I met my Good Lady Wife through meeting one of her friends (who them got married to one of my friends).

Maybe it’s no surprise that Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God incarnate. Not only for the theological reasoning, of becoming like us, a Second Adam, but something far more practical – the best way to get our attention through all the distractions of life is to walk alongside and communicate the message personally, as a friend!

 

(Credit where it’s due: picture¬†‘borrowed’ from J-J-Bases at deviantart.com)

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