The title of this blog entry was a favorite saying, many years back of a guy called Chris, an I.T. friend. There’s some truth in it. As a programmer, I have spent endless time sitting through interminable meetings, thrashing things out in front of the coffee machine or over a fag. Eventually, our minds would clear and we could throw ourselves into the code. There was nothing like the hit you got when everything finally came together.
Yesterday, I had two objectives: One was to pay Hazel’s hospital bill for the year (giving us a 10% discount off the cost) and the other was to collect a laptop which a friend had brought over from the U.K. for use in Hazel’s work at the Cottolengo. I thought it would be good to take a friend from Córdoba with me for the ride. Whilst I achieved my objectives not everything went to plan.
Despite having phoned my bank the night before advising them that I was going to make a large-ish transaction, my card was still blocked at the point of payment so I had to phone them (twice) to sort it out and then re-join the every growing payment queue in the hospital for the second time!
Then I went to my friends house. He had developed a severe ear infection to the extent that I did not wish to be on his left side. So, we had a little diversion via the local chemist to pick up various treatments and then to the hospital to have one of the said treatments firmly planted into his posterior. He developed an interesting limp and facial expression as a result.
Finally we set off for Villa Giardino to get the laptop stopping at La Falda for coffee and Lemon pie. (The Lemon pie is particularly good there). Whilst enjoying our refreshments I incurred a multa (fine) for parting in the wrong place. I was totally unaware that I could not park here. I had parked there before but things had changed! In fact, I’m sure all the other cars were equally unaware as well – it was not particularly clear. On top of that, there were no instructions on the form as to how I pay it or for how much it was. Merely an instruction to present myself at the Municipalidad within the next five days to make my defense. So we had another diversion around La Falda trying to find the Municipalidad. It was closed when we finally found it.
So we went on to get the laptop. This passed without incident!
However, we did have plenty of time to talk. His partner, a recent convert and pretty sharp too, has been having a few issues with the church. Last time they went there were four or five collections for tithes and offerings and the preacher took a swipe at the catholic church – the church in which she had been raised and which had taught her, in conjunction with her parents, her values. We talked about other issues too – issues we have visited many times. I asked what they were currently studying in the Bible. “We’ve just started out on 1 Corinthians!” came the response.
Finally, when we got back to Córdoba, we chatted over coffee.
“You do realize that all the problems we’ve discussed can be found in the Corinthian Church” I said. Her eyes lit up. I took just a few minutes showing them issues in the church that can be found there. “All this is not new. The majority of problems we find today in the church can be found back then as well. So we do have teaching covering these things” I added.
It was a quick impromptu study, 5-10 minutes, held standing between the hall and the bedroom. However, it gave credence to her frustrations. It was a surprise too because the approach here to bible study can be very egocentric. That is to say that everything has a direct application to all of us, be it a criticism, blessing, instruction or whatever. A little theology is applied to the worst cases of judgment that we find in the bible so that they can be ruled out.
So, we have now agreed to meet up every 2-3 weeks to go over their recent readings together. If I had done nothing more yesterday than that 10 minute bible study I would have been happy with it as a good days work. However, it could not have happened without all the faffing around with hospitals, municipalidades, English banks etc.
I think my friend was right. 90% of the work is done in 10% of the time.