The Situation

The wheel-within-a-wheel of EzekielSince tomorrow begins July, Margaret and I are at an inflection point in our dealing with our uncertain future. We had hoped to get a job in the Oxford area — I’d make a smashing college chaplain, but any clergy job with housing, perhaps house-for-duty, would solve many problems for us. I’m agreeable to being an assistant or part time. Sadly, none of this has materialised.

I’m assuming that anyone reading here knows about me at least moderately well: I’m a priest of the Church of England, have been teaching in theological higher education for more than thirty years, have written or edited ten or a dozen books, active participant in discussions around technology, media, and education (involvement with digital technology beginning from my undergraduate years in the late 70s), having held congregation-facing responsibilities in a half dozen or so parish or cathedral settings, a pretty good preacher (de gustibus, of course, but I have receipts), and have been engaged in pastoral support of undergraduates (and older adults) for closing in on forty years. I’ve organised multi-author book projects, education workshops, and academic conference sections.

But at this point, after having been looking for a next post for more than a year, nothing has worked out. We have to move out from our current address in September. Housing costs in Oxford are among the highest in the UK, but we’ve lived here ten years, longer than we’ve lived any other single place in our lives together, and if we can stay here we won’t need to start over making new friends, getting to know the place, becoming known to others. On the other hand, housing costs in Oxford are brutal, and our pension resources are modest. We can, of course, move out from Oxford if there’s an opportunity that would give us a good reason.

So here we are (and won’t be much longer). Neither of us has a valid driver’s licence, and I’d really rather not start up with cars again: the idea of having to pay for a car, petrol, upkeep, and insurance just in order to have a job — in 2023, in the middle of an energy crisis and catastrophic climate change — seems ludicrous.

If you’re aware of a position that might address some of our needs for the future, we’d love to know about it. I can’t promise that we’ll take up what you propose, cos we’re balancing a zillion divergent considerations, but after more than a year of applying, it would be great to just settle somewhere and do our work.

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