Wisdom (Teeth) and Troubles...

Spike Posted by Colin Corbridge on Wed, 16 Jul 2008 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

So, we’ve been off for the past few days and instead of some much needed rest and relaxation I spent the time lying on the sofa – dosed up on antibiotics and painkillers because of an abscess in my wisdom tooth…not fun…

However a few days of being pretty much housebound did give me the chance to catch up on a bit of reading and to work my way through most of season seven of The West Wing.

I read Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them on Saturday and it’s a staggering piece of work.

Written by a Nigerian born Jesuit priest it looks at some of the most challenging situations in Africa through the eyes of children. Poverty, prostitution, genocide, human trafficking and religious conflict are all powerfully addressed – without cliche and without pity. I can’t recommend it highly enough – one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years and something that anyone with an interest in Africa should get their hands on.

As for The West Wing – I’m happy to admit that I’m addicted! Second time through and it just gets better and better. For the uninitiated…it’s the picture of politics that we all wish was real…at least American politics…

Season seven follows the campaign of Democrat Matthew Santos (a Latino) as he seeks election as US President and (following the nomination of Barack Obama) it’s a hugely interesting watch.

Without wanting to give anything away there’s a moment about half-way through the season when a huge domestic incident threatens to ruin the campaign of Santos’ Republican opponent, Arnold Vinick. Santos is faced with the option of making public statements that would damage Vinick or of lying low and seeing what happens.

The advice that he is given by his campaign manager is to see “which way the wind blows”.

While watching it I was reminded of the Jim Wallis quote, “Politicians are just people good at knowing which way the wind is blowing…to change a culture, we have to get the wind to shift. We need church leaders who can help change the wind.”

That’s the challenge.

How do we take issues like those that Uwem Akpan raises and make a stand against the prevailing wind?

How do we change its direction rather than allow ourselves to be bowed by it?

It strikes me that somewhere in all of that is what mission is all about – changing the direction of the wind.