My phone has recently updated its software. (There’s a sentence that even five years ago I would not have thought I would ever type). It is not just a little tweak, it has changed the style and format of the user interface (how I access the stuff on it for the non-jargon literate). There are new icons where there were previously no icons. It has upgraded the maps software so I now have a groovy satellite navigation system for almost anywhere in the world. There are extra ways of accessing people’s addresses quickly. It has improved the way that I can access my calendar / diary. It links much more easily and successfully with my computer in order to synchronise songs, pictures, messages and much more.
It confused me considerably when alarm alerts started coming in. It used to be a simple matter of turning them off by pressing a button, but when I tried doing that with the new buttons nothing happened. It was embarrassing at last night’s Church Meeting when the alarm kept going off to tell me that the Church Meeting was happening and I could not stop it. In the end the phone had to be switched off completely. (I have since discovered that to turn off alarm alerts when they happen I have to do a lovely slide of my finger along the button on the screen rather than just tap it. D’oh!)
And it even makes and receives phone calls!
One of the things that has changed is that the touch screen process is improved. It’s not an iphone (my phone service provider doesn’t have them) but it still has a lovely touch screen that enables me to get grubby fingermarks all over the screen in a clumsy attempt to get different functions to happen (see comment above about alarm alerts). But now, with the new software installed, the touch screen functions are more sensitive and smoother. It recognises different movements across the screen. Clever or what?!
Perhaps God needs to install new software into me to make me more sensitive to his touch and guidance. Ah yes. That’s what the Holy Spirit is doing in us… upgrading our software regularly (if we let him) to help us become more sensitive and attuned to God. You may even see his fingerprints on me!
Frank wanted to get his beautiful wife, Betty, something nice for their first wedding anniversary. So he decided to buy her a mobile telephone. Betty was excited, she loved her phone. Frank showed her how it worked and explained to her all the different and varied features on the phone.
On Monday Betty went shopping in the local supermarket. Her phone rang. It was Frank:
‘Hi ya, Betty,’ he said, ‘how do you like your new phone?’
Betty replied, ‘I just love it, it’s so small and light and your voice is clear as a bell, but there’s one feature that I really don’t understand though.’
‘What’s that, Betty?’ asked the husband.
‘How did you know that I was at Tesco?’
Having just moved into his new office in Whitehall, pompous, newly promoted Lieutenant Commander Rodney Grant [Royal Navy] was sitting at his desk when Leading Seaman Jones knocked on his door. Particularly aware of his new position, the commander quickly picked up the phone, told the seaman to enter, then said into the phone, ‘Yes, Admiral, I’ll be seeing him this afternoon and I’ll pass along your message. In the meantime, thank you for your good wishes, sir.’
Feeling as though he had sufficiently impressed young Jones man, he asked, ‘What do you want?’
‘Nothing important, sir,’ Jones replied without batting an eyelid, ‘I’m just here to connect up your new telephone.’
Bureaucracy is a necessary fact of life. We need people who organise things for us – those who design bus and train timetables, people who manage the benefits system, the organisational structure in the background behind important services like hospitals and the police. On the whole bureaucrats get a bad press. If you are in that line of work and someone asks you at a party what you do for a living you are more likely to say ‘Administrator’ or ‘Civil Servant’ than ‘Bureaucrat’. The word just sounds so… bureaucratic.
We all notice when bureaucracy goes wrong. I am waiting for a date for a hospital appointment and phone calls to the admissions office have been met with sympathetic resignation from the bureaucrats (I think they should reclaim the name) at the other end of the line. They are not in charge of deciding when my appointment will be and are very sorry. At the same time this week I have been chased by another bureaucrat: calling twice to offer me appointments I don’t need. It’s a shame I can’t merge the two systems!
I always try to be sympathetic to these people when I speak with them. I believe that they are trying their hardest to be helpful and often are as exasperated with the system as we are. It’s almost always not their fault that they can’t supply the appointment we want or the answer we need.
So, I would like to declare tomorrow ‘Bless a Bureaucrat Day’. If you are on the phone or speaking face to face with someone who is a bureaucrat tomorrow (even if they will not admit it) say something encouraging to them. Assure them that you are not angry with them. Ask them how their day is going. And if they have not hung up on you or gone to see their supervisor because it has never happened before and don’t know how to cope you can bless them further with some bureaucratic one liners:
A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered desk drawer.
If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.
I don’t have a solution, but I do admire the problem.
Jesus is coming! Look Busy.
I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.
A Committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing, but as a group decide that nothing can be done.
Meetings: the practical alternative to work.