After 15 years of volunteering and working within Christians Charities (including being a church Pastor for the previous 4 years), I have taken a big career move and become a Corporate Man (#CorporateSteve). 4 months since I started working for Oracle I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts on the experience and how being a salesman in a big blue chip company is basically the same as being a pastor in a local church.
In no particular order…
(1) There is always an underlying culture – this hit me immediately when started at Oracle. From the way you dress (whether Monday-Thursday or on ‘dress-down Fridays’), behave, talk, drink, work or network there are lots of assumed values and standards that are spread across the business and without thinking about it you start to conform to that culture. Much of the culture comes down from “the leadership” – whether Larry Ellison (who is some of the inspiration behind the character Iron Man) or the local directors and VPs. However local church is no different. Just as I had never worked in a big multi-national, so many people have never come into a church gathering/community and when they do they’ll feel the difference in culture and the more they stay and belong, the more they’ll feel a pressure to “fit in” and much of that will come from the way the leaders look, dress, act and talk (read 1 Corinthians or the book of James for the New Testament examples).
(2) Oracle is a place of many nations – I sit opposite French, Italian & Portuguese people everyday and interact with at least 20 nationalities a week, just from my sales floor alone. Oracle is a place where the nations of the world have gathered together under one cause. So the church in heaven, and therefore the church on earth, is a place where all the nations have gathered together, to set aside their differences in order to serve and adore our creator and saviour, Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 2-3 & Revelation 7).
(3) You drink lots of Coffee – I am currently cutting down my coffee intake to “one a day” as when there is free cappuccino’s on tap it can be lethal. A lot of coffee gets drunk every day at Oracle. However the church is no different (except the standard of coffee is usually less good!!!) and when you are a church pastor you can easily drink 10 coffees a day and come away wired.
(4) The job of a salesman is basically the job of a pastor – I was chatting to my Sales Director about this last week when he asked me how, given my background, I was settling into my new job. I told him that the heart of being a church pastor is to listen to people, find common ground, ask insightful questions, understand their pains and problems and then “sell” them a solution…Jesus! So in modern sales, you spend 80% of the time listening, building rapport, asking insightful questions that unearth business pains and then you sell them a solution which will solve all their problems…Oracle Fusion CRM.
(5) Humility will go along way – As I outline in my previous post, the humble person will actually go the furthest, not just in the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 5 & James 4) but also in business.
(6) There is always a pressure to deliver - Sales is all about hitting “your number” – that is what defines you, governs you, gets you paid and sees you progress. If you hit your targets you’re fine. If you miss them, then you’ll feel the pressure. However there are lots of pressures that a pastor can feel – there is still the pressure to “perform” or live up to people’s expectations. I guess underneath it all is a heart that finds it’s value in personal performance rather than Jesus’ performance on our behalf (see Philippians 3).
(7) The importance of of money – You cannot do church activities, mission, social action or community-formation without money (nor have a job as a full-time pastor). So in business, there is no business where there is no money. However the quantity of money is where the difference is seen. Coming from a local church background where budgets are rather small it is crazy the amount of money that is flying around in a modern IT business. Whether that be the salaries, the sales, the expenses or the products. I was talking to a customer the other day about a $1,000,000+ sale. That is silly money in the church but normal money in business. Interestingly Jesus spoke more about money than heaven and hell as he recognised it as one of the greatest snares that stopped people entering the kingdom of God (Luke 8.14 & 18.18-30). This leads me onto my next point.
(8) Motivation is everything - 0n my second day when I didn’t even know what “CRM” meant I met one of the Sales VPs, for Application Sales. He was also new to Oracle VP so was meeting the team and finding out who was who. He asked us about our background. My Co-worker Fiona had come from a retail background so he got all enthusiastic about how we needed to tap into her abilities and knowledge to sell our product. He then turned to me and said “And what about you…what did you do before this?” I told him that I had worked as a church pastor and charity worker. First his face went rather blank. Second he paused. Third he said “Oh”. Fourthly, once he had gathered himself, he said “so you have gone from what is essentially about doing good to the world to what is essentially about making money!” I think I fumbled some comment about the need for business’s to engage with CSR and then he moved on. What has been interesting is that I repeatedly hear from those up top, that what should motivate us is money, career and status – that is the carrot that is dangled before us to ensure we work hard. One of the senior managers even said “I am unashamedly money hungry” which was rather surprising to me, though I appreciate his honesty.
Now whilst I do not despise money, career or status, this is a very striking part of the new culture (point 1) that I am experiencing and do not want to be conformed to. The bible is clear that we are to work (a) for Jesus first and foremost (Colossians 3) (b) for the good of mankind and the flourishing of the city (Jeremiah 29) and (c) so we can earn a living (see book of proverbs and the scathing remarks to the sluggard!). The issue of motivation however is central to the Gospel. I know in my own heart that being in Christian ministry can very easily become about my own status and glory…so maybe the only difference is that at Oracle it is blatant where-as in the church it is secret (which is probably more dangerous!!!). God clearly says that our heart and motivation are the determining factor in any work we do, even our good works (see 1 Corinthians 13). (Picture = Oracle HQ)
I am sure there are more similarities, but there are 8 I can think of. Do let me know if you think of any more.
I remember 7 years ago reading Jim Collins’ famous books Good to Great and Built to Last and they have been very foundational to the way I think about charity, church or business growth. Collins and a team spend 5+ years studying why 11 corporations move from being good to being great. In one of the chapter Collins talks about the kind of person it takes to lead such an organisation, and he lists 2 qualities,
Quality 1 was no surprise = an incredibly strong will. However the second quality was more interesting = humility. He says these driven leader are self-effacing and modest. They consistently pointed to the contribution of others and didn’t like drawing attention to themselves. “The good-to-great leaders never wanted to become larger-than-life heroes…they never aspire to be put on a pedestal or become an unreachable icon. They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results.”
Just the other week, I came across the same idea from a LinkedIn article with regards to hiring new people at Google. The author says
“When interviewing product managers at Google, we ranked candidates on four metrics: technical ability, communication skills, intellect and Googliness. A Googley person embodies the values of the company – a willingness to help others, an upbeat attitude, a passion for the company, and the most important, humility.”
He goes on to saying
Disruptive companies reinvent. They don’t copy and execute someone else’s playbook. To be disruptive, a startup’s team must cast aside preconceived notions and assumptions about doing things the “right way” and start inventing new ways.
The more time I spend in venture capital working with startups, the better I understand that there are no templates or stencils or best practices. Each startup team faces a unique market opportunity with distinct market dynamics, sales processes, competitive forces, assets and challenges.
In such circumstances, the best expeditionary force keeps open minds about the way forward. They learn from each other and the market. The first step to learning is accepting we don’t know everything.
Again, we see humility as an important quality in business. If you read ancient literature, humility only became a virtue from the time of Jesus. Before that the Romans put humility on a par with cowardice and fear – To be great was to strive for glory, not to be humble. However Jesus, in his life and death (most famously expressed in Philippians 2) turned humility into a positive quality. And from his leadership, we can see that the servant leader is the one who has the greatest impact. He has inspired millions down the centuries and has has more followers around the globe today than any person in history (quite a leader!). Philippians 2 says he’ll one day be revealed as the one with the highest rank in the universe..
So whether you’re in the church or business, humility is a great quality to possess!
We’re coming up to 6 months in Dublin so I wanted to update you on how this new adventure of ours is going – you can read about the start of the journey here
On a personal note Leanne and I have found coming to Dublin a huge thrill. We love the city, the people, the sea, the culture, the potato bread (farls), the Guinness, the Aviva stadium and so much more. We enjoy the city and are glad to call it our new home. Additionally the kids have settled in well and are starting to make friends. We feel very excited to be here and are looking forward to being here for the long-term.
In terms of work, moving from a full-time job in the church/charity sector into business, software and sales has been eye-opening, and again a HUGE thrill. My next post will actually be on the comparisons of the two lines of work (and rather surprisingly there will be lots of similarities). But overall I have really enjoyed my first 3 months at Oracle and look forward to continuing to discover how “faith and business” intersect (and hopefully hitting my targets!!).
In terms of church, whilst only at the beginning of what we are doing, we feel very aware of the need. One of the reasons we came to Dublin was that it seems to be a time in Irish history where new expressions of church are needed to engage the younger (18-35s) generation, and that is certainly what we have found. From talking to people at work, down the pub, in the shops or playgroups we have often spoken to people who haven’t necessarily given up on God but aren’t connecting with the church of their childhood.
A recent article in the Irish times revealed that only 17% of 18-34-year-olds attend weekly mass but 87% of them did believe in God. Whilst a hunger for God exists, many people no longer pursue a journey into knowing God through the church. Our prayer is that people’s search for God will once again lead them into life-giving Christian Community.
We currently gather every week in our home for food, games, sung worship, bible study and prayer and can see the start of the church that we have always dreamed of.
As our website says, we are seeking to bring spiritual, cultural and social renewal to the city of Dublin and want our church to be defined by mission, discipleship, community and movement.
Anyway, now that I am settling into my job, I hope (?) to start blogging again. I hope!
I still remember the first lecture I had with Steve Timmis, he was in a raging argument on Luther’s view of the law with a man called Marcus after about 15 minutes of us starting our year on what was then Northern Cornhill.
Ever since then I have always admired Steve’s desire to hold tightly to the gospel being the centre of everything in, what is now called, Porterbrook Seminary. Anyway, Steve is coming to Dublin to do a conference with Matt Chandler on “church planting” this weekend and I had the pleasure of interviewing him recently on that topic.
(1) Hi Steve who you, what do you do & your most favourite thing about Dublin?
I am a 55 year old minister of the gospel. I became a Christian when I was 10 years old, and attempted my first plant at the tender age of 22. I am married to Janet, my childhood sweetheart, and we have four grown children and 5 grand-kids with another on the way. I am an elder in The Crowded House, Sheffield, and Director of Acts29 Europe. When in Dublin I’m bound to enjoy a pint of Guinness, but my favourite thing has to be the Irish brogue!
(2) Who have been your inspirations growing up, who do you enjoying reading and what do you do on a day off?
My inspirations growing up have to include Matt Busby, Bobby Charlton & George Best, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, (“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” has to be one of the best songs of all time), James Brown & Martin Luther King. When I became a Christian, movers and shakers of the faith like Luther, Calvin, Lord Radstock, the Moravians, the Anabaptists, Wesley, Carey, Spurgeon, Gladys Aylward and Aida Skripnikova. On a day off I enjoy spending time with my wife, seeing my kids, playing with my grand-kids, cycling in the Yorkshire countryside – basically enjoying the life and community that God has so graciously given me. I also enjoy keeping up with all the latest Apple products.
It came about through connections which The Crowded House began building up with like-minded churches in the USA, leading to partnership with A29 as an organisation. It was clear that we shared a vision for multiplying gospel-centred churches, and the desire of A29 to branch out into Europe led to the need for someone ‘on the ground’ in Europe to head up that growth. The experience I’ve had in church planting, our shared vision for multiplying Word-based gospel churches and, being European, my understanding of European culture led to my position as the A29 European Director. With almost 30 church planters and twice that in the assessment process, it is exciting to see God building his church in a very dark continent.
(4) The Crowded House which you co-founded is (traditionally) famous for being a network of small house-churches with a huge emphasis on community, mission and discipleship in the everyday. A29 is famous for it’s larger sunday-focussed attractional model of church? How did you come to be the director and does this create any tensions for you?
Ignoring the caricature, in both of these models, the driving force is proclaiming the gospel of King Jesus through planting gospel-centred churches which will grow to plant more churches. That’s the big picture strategy which we need to bear in mind. Our emphasis in TCH on community, mission and discipleship in small Gospel Communities remains the cutting edge of what we do, but we have utilise a large weekly gathering as a means of both encouraging our own people and as an open door for non-believers. A29 churches also have an understanding of the importance of day-to-day community for a gospel-centred church. Living and loving one another in the everyday stuff of life, in order to share the gospel, is simply Biblical. So Biblical churches will understand that and be working towards building that kind of mission through community into their co-orporate life. So, no, I haven’t experienced that particular tension. Our cutting edge is smaller community groups; for other churches, its the attractional meeting on a Sunday – whether by one or the other, Christ is being faithfully proclaimed and growing his church. I just want to argue that every church has to find a way of doing life-on-life together on mission in the everyday.
(5) Tell us some of the values and characteristics that you feel need to mark churches in major cities.
I think that if churches are going to be effective in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus in our major cities, we need to be living the radical lives Jesus calls us to. The early Christians living in Rome were distinct not because they bowed to Roman culture and tried to fit in, but because they went about actively loving one another and their neighbours in the name of Jesus. They were the people who looked after the outcasts of society. They were the ones rescuing the unwanted baby girls, taking care of the sick, opening their households to one another and giving dignity and value to human life. By their lives and words they showed their society another, better, way of living. If our churches today simply try to fit in with the culture in order to be liked and not make waves, what do we have to offer a lost and lonely world? It is as we stand as followers of King Jesus, proclaiming Kingdom values and living for his glory, that the darkness around us will see the light of the gospel in our lives.
There are quite a few key issues facing the church today, including thinking biblically about gender issues & sexuality, which I think are the two defining issues of our culture….In a society where church is increasingly marginalised, we must re-think how we engage with our society and proclaim the message of Christianity. Theologically, we must retain a distinctive and historic evangelicalism. It is all too easy to begin depending on other things: emotional response, our own efforts, great music, community, trendy words and phrases. Even as the Reformers broke ground in our understanding of justification by faith, believers today need to cling to that reformed doctrine in the face of our natural desire to save ourselves – whether by planting churches, writing the best new praise song, being active in our communities or experiencing new highs of spiritual experience. When we are steered by a core foundation of Biblical, doctrinal truth, we’ll be able to work out a biblical ecclesiology and missiology appropriate for the context we’re in.
(7) How can people follow you and what you do?
I’m an active tweeter, so you can follow me personally via @STimmis on Twitter.
You can find out more about Acts29Europe at http://acts29we.org
More about The Crowded House at: http://www.thecrowdedhouse.org. There is a page specifically about TCH’s connection with A29E at: http://www.thecrowdedhouse.org/plant/acts-29-western-europe.
—-For the conference this Saturday in Dublin see https://twitter.com/Acts29Europe/status/301616972599283713/photo/1
A few months ago I wrote about how Martin Luther had exhorted one of his students to drink heartily in order to fight off the devil. This week I came across this blog where Luther exhorts a friend to enjoy sex to fight off the devil…I like Luther the more and more I read!!
In a letter to his friend George Spalatin (often removed by later publishers for how embarrassing it was seen to be) he said,
“When you sleep with your wife Catherine and embrace her, you should think: ‘This child of man, this wonderful creature of God has been given to me by my Christ. May he be praised and glorified.’ On the evening of the day on which, according to my calculations, you will receive this, I shall make love to my Catherine [von Bora] while you make love to yours, and thus we will be united in love.”
One of Luther’s most significant gains for the evangelical cause was his championing of the virtues of marriage and of sex. “Whoever is ashamed of marriage”, says Luther, “is ashamed of being human”. Suggestions that marriage, and therefore, sex are somehow unspiritual is a slander and an attack of the Devil. Luther discarded the medieval notion that reason is “high” and the physical is “low” or base. The sex drive was, for Luther, a divine force, part of God’s vital presence in man since man’s physicality is part of his being made in the image of God. Faith, for Luther, is lived out in a physical experience…
Luther believed all of life was spiritual. Sexual desire and fulfilment are healthy and God-given. Thus, in his Against the so-called Spiritual Estate (1522) Luther explains
A young woman, if the high and rare grace of virginity has not been bestowed upon her, can do without a man as little as without food, drink, sleep and other natural needs. And on the other hand, a man, too, cannot be without a woman. The reason is the following; begetting children is as deeply rooted in nature as eating and drinking. That is why God provided the body with limbs, arteries, ejaculation, and everything that goes with them. Now if someone wants to stop this and not permit what nature wants and must do, what is he doing but preventing nature from being nature, fire from burning, water from being wet, and man from either drinking, eating or sleeping.
Luther was also passionate about work and the “priesthood of all believers” as the blog goes on to say
In the Reformation Luther redeemed for us much of what had been lost in medieval Christianity. This was not just true theologically but practically also. He restored dignity to manual labour and the world of work, rejecting the notion that the “clergy” (what a horrible and unbiblical word!) are somehow more spiritual than the laity. His Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520) still stands as one of the foundational building blocks of evangelical thought today in re-establishing the Biblical principle of the priesthood of all believers. As far as marriage and sex are concerned, he took them from the “unholy” and the “dark hours of the night” and elevated them to a whole new level. He led by example, of course, marrying Catherine von Bora in 1525 “in defiance of the Devil” (probably not the first reason any of us would give for marrying). A former monk marrying a former nun was, at the time truly scandalous. The birth of their first child was awaited with a degree of fear and trepidation as popular superstition held that a two headed monster would be the product of such a sacrilegious union. Within a few years, however, Luther was boasting “I have legitimate children which no papal theologian has!” Let’s be people who, like Luther, celebrate work, marriage, sex, family life and everything else God has provided. As physical beings God has given us physical things for our enjoyment.
Next he’ll complete the “money-sex-power” trio and tell me to get rich and powerful to fight off the devil!!
A few months ago I started a series called “why boys never become men” looking at the issue or pornography and video-games and just yesterday I read on TheJournal.ie a (mostly) helpful article by a sex therapist looking at the effects porn has on (real) sex and relationships. Most of it is quoted below and comes from a journalist called Eithne Bacuzzi
PORN IS NOW at our fingertips, and one click makes it immediately accessible.
The result of this can be multifaceted, depending on the viewer. The question is, are we really aware of the consequences of this availability?
Patrick Carnes PhD writes in Facing the Shadow that:Cybersex is transforming our sexuality. It is now the number one profit centre on the Internet, having passed sales in computer and software. Most sex education occurs on the web.
While internet porn has replaced the old information sources such as Playboy and Penthouse, people now access information in ways that are more comfortable and helpful. The powerful result of this is that users can be lulled into thinking that no one is watching and it is safe. The anonymity is an attraction.
This easy availability comes with a health warning. As a sex therapist I suggest consensual viewing of soft porn by partners is absolutely acceptable and can be fun. It can add to the enjoyment of a fulfilling creative sexual relationship.
On the whole I thought the article was helpful but this was the section I least agreed with.
Firstly, I wasn’t sure the words “comfortable” and “helpful” are words I’d want to associate with viewing porn. We shouldn’t be comfortable when viewing porn and, in my opinion, it is never helpful to view porn. And this is revealed by the issue of anonymity she mentions. If porn really isn’t a big deal (it can be helpful, it isn’t something we think is wrong etc), then why do we want “anonymity?” Why do we want to hide? What are we ashamed about?
Secondly, I had major hesitations about viewing porn together. Here are just 2 reasons. (1) Viewing soft-porn together is a slippery slope to addiction and one partner accessing harder forms of porn. (2) I’m against viewing porn in general as the porn industry is a brutal industry that objectifies and demeans people by its very nature and trivialises sex. Men and women are treated as objects for our selfish gratification and sex becomes very cheap. BOTH of these things go against God’s intention for us (a) to treat one another with respect and dignity, as people made in the image of God and (b) to hold sex in the highest regard as one of God’s greatest gifts to us.
Anyway Bacuzzi feels the pressure of the slippery slope so tries to qualify and set boundaries on viewing porn by saying,
When it is NOT okay is when one partner (mainly the female) feels coerced into performing sexual acts to please the other. This need to please can originate in the dynamic of their relationship and plays out both inside and out of the bedroom. Too often the porn script is: sex is better outside of loving relationships. Porn is always depicted as being devoid of warmth, affection, embrace, cuddling, laughter, flirtation and playfulness. It is portrayed as a clinical exercise in order to attain maximum sexual pleasure. It is goal focused and result driven.
Let me say here, that I believe and have witnessed some catastrophic consequences where internet porn becomes a feature in a couple’s relationship. In the extreme its constant solo use can go to the very soul of the relationship. It penetrates the closeness, intimacy and warmth, which are the fundamental ingredients of a healthy, working relationship. The frequency of use is very often lied about and if discovered, becomes a very contentious issue. I call it “the elephant in the room”.
Partners of frequent users who have chosen porn over relationship sex often report body and self esteem issues. Their initial reaction in an effort to understand their partner’s preoccupation can be around self blame. Frequent users also report feeling stressed, isolated and very alone. It’s a “lose-lose” situation. The piece they both long for is intimacy and feeling desired and loved. This is the most difficult part of any relationship to achieve, as it requires trust, vulnerability and love. The distance in the relationship happens slowly. Getting caught up in viewing internet porn doesn’t happen overnight.
She then goes on to talk about addition. Again, I wouldn’t want to concede as much ground as she already has, but what she says is still worth listening to.
So when is it an addiction? When it replaces the relationship. When desire and arousal is present only while viewing these images. When it’s used as an escape mechanism, to avoid feeling lonely, hurt and stressed. When it interferes with one’s normal life and where there is disengagement from a close partner. Self delusion can take over and secrets become the norm. Fear of discovery becomes a constant burden and one feels powerless and ashamed.
The replacement relationship is now with a mood altering experience. The addict’s new norm is with airbrushed images that promote perfection. Perfect bodies, perfect sex, perfect timing, perfect orgasms, usually in unison. The real stuff of relationships is not quite like that.
So what about the effect of the wide availability of porn on vulnerable, inexperienced young people? Of course there is a parental responsibility piece here and it is entirely up to the individual adult person to monitor this viewing. There are many ways of doing this. The distorted view of sexual encounters can objectify females and promote the message that females are for the provision of pleasure. The sexually explicit material is exciting, titillating and normalised.
She then goes on to talk about the issue of young people today, which is going to be a massive issue
Concerns arise around young people’s emotional and intellectual development and there understanding of intimacy. We know that adolescents can experience emotional and physical pressure in early dating relationships. Suffice it is to say at this point, that in my own work as a therapist some, and I emphasise some, early exposure to explicit porn can reverberate in later relationships. It is seen as a major contributory factor to some sexual difficulties later. Impaired sexual desire, erectile issues, confidence issues are some of these.
She concludes her piece by saying
On a very positive note, with cognitive restructuring, sexual information and education in adult life, it IS possible to undo some sexual core beliefs and expectations. We therapists are often presented with difficulties around results-driven and goal-orientated sex. The introduction of the idea that the sensual, slowing down aspect is the first step and with the elimination of pressure on sexual performance, this works extremely well. It’s what our work in sex therapy is all about.
The key message is: clinical, functional sex is never as rewarding as the feelings involved in making love.
A thought provoking article wouldn’t you say?
Now I have settled into my job I hope to return to my series on why boys never become men. Watch this Space.
Around 3/4pm this Christmas Eve I learnt from my brother in Law that it has become a little tradition for Bono & Glen Hansard and a few other celebrities to get together on one of the main shopping/busking streets of Dublin, Grafton Street, to busk amidst the last minute shoppers in order to raise money for homeless charities.
Around 4.30pm I learned on Twitter that Glen Hansard, Sinead O’Connor & Lisa Hannighan were already drawing quite a crowd…but no-one had yet seen Bono! Being a lifelong U2/Bono fan I thought I’d forever regret it if he did turn up and I wasn’t there to see it, so Jacob and I jumped on the Luas and headed in to try our luck and, at at the very least, soak up the atmosphere.
When we turned up (around 5pm) Sinead O’Connor was sitting on someone’s shoulders singing her famous anthem “Nothing Compares” but we were quite a distance away. Then the group of buskers decided to move up to St Stephens Green (I presume to accommodate for the growing crowd and in expectation for Bono to join). And then suddenly (around 5.30pm) there was a rush of noise, people, excitement, shouts of “there he is” & “Bono” and before I knew it there he was stood next to me in the crowd as we listened to Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannighan singing Christmas Carols. Here are 2 videos of him waiting to get on, including him cracking a joke (sorry for wonky camera angles…my left arm was getting very tired from holding Jacob who for the whole episode was more interested in the trams than Bono…good lad!).
*Waiting to Get on
*Cracking a Joke
As I later tweeted
“For a grief moment of my life I was standing next to Bono watching Glen Hansard sing Christmas Carols on Grafton Street…surreal!”
So Jacob and I had a prime spot just behind where he was performing. The police managed to get a lot of the crowd to sit down and he sang 3 songs; Christmas (please come home), Silent Night & Desire. I have always had an affection for Desire as it consists of only 3 chords and was the first song I ever learnt to play on the guitar.
(1) Christmas (please come home)
(2) Silent Night
Anyway, holding Jacob in my left arm I took as many photos and videos as I could, uploaded them to YouTube and then started to tweet them to anyone who wanted. To my surprise I was contacted by a journalist and my 20 second video ended up being on the front page of TheJournal.ie (around 7.40pm) which is “Ireland’s fastest growing news and entertainment website.” Last time I looked it had been viewed over 40 000. I also got a mention on one of U2′s top fan websites – @U2. Anyway, it made for a memorable 3-4 hours and a first Christmas in Dublin. However Bono did leave without saying goodbye to my boy Jacob which I felt was poor Christmas Spirit!
*Poor Christmas Spirit
A Couple of things struck me about the whole episode.
- Stuff like this would never have happened in the UK.
- Twitter is incredibly instant (no-one was tweeting 2-3 hours later but it went like wildfire for 1-2 hours)
- This tells you something about Bono and his desire to get amongst it with his home people.
- The mix of views on Bono is amazing – some Irish people love him, some hate him (just look at the 100+ comments below the TheJournal.ie article above). Some think he is full of hypocrisy and doing nothing to help his own country in a time of recession, others think he is the best thing to ever come out of Ireland.
- The biggest star to ever enter history did not get this amount of excitement or create any kind of hype – he was left alone with a few shepherds and wise men. By the end of his life, some hated him and others thought he was the best thing to ever appear on planet earth.
- Nicky Gumbel had tweeted (and subsequently retweeted around 250 times) a day earlier what Bono himself thought of the Christmas event
I believe in the poetic genius of a Creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in straw poverty (Bono)
Amen to that. I think Bono is a legend. What are you thoughts?
P.S Here are two of the songs that Glen, Sinead & Lisa sang before Bono turned up and stole the show (the first is actually my favourite)
*O Holy Night
*Take a Load off Annie