One of the church’s foundation texts is “And the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). It refers of course to the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Words have long been the speciality of English Christian writers from Miles Coverdale and Thomas Cranmer to G.K. Chesterton and T.S. Eliot. But something called the Church of England Media Centre has just published a press release about the appointment of Christine Hewitt-Dyer as the church’s “Director of People.” This communication fails to communicate – at least with me. Can anyone tell me what it means, please? Here it is:
“Christine joins us from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government – where, as Director for People Capability & Change, she delivered a people plan encompassing initiatives on workforce strategy, reward, leadership and talent management, diversity, recruitment and people engagement. She also led MHCLG’s HR operations and oversaw their move to a new HR self-service system.
“Prior to the MHCLG, Christine was the People & Business Services Director at the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (part of the Ministry of Defence). Christine’s career has also involved a range of economic policy and HR roles in central government including the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Acas. She is also a trustee of HCT plc, a leading social enterprise.
“Gareth Mostyn, Chief Finance and Operations Officer said: ‘I’m delighted that Christine is joining us in this key strategic role. As Director of People, Christine will be responsible for providing leadership on people matters, including the development of our people strategy and the delivery of high calibre HR operations. Christine will also lead key people programmes across the NCIs and help us to ensure we are best placed to support the mission and ministries of the Church.’
“Christine said: ‘I am very excited to be joining the NCIs. It will be such a privilege to work alongside the faith community that has been part of my life since childhood, and which continues to play an important role in our national and local community life. My first few months will involve lots of listening and learning, whilst hopefully bringing some new perspectives based on my years in a wide range of policy and HR posts within government.’
“Christine takes over from Interim Director of People, Carole Harden, in January 2019. Commenting upon Carole’s time with the NCIs, Gareth Mostyn said: ‘Carole has led the NCIs’ HR team since February 2018 and we are hugely appreciative of her contribution. She leaves with our best wishes for the future’.”
I exaggerate: this incommunicative communication does not produce in me total bafflement. I can understand that Gareth is “delighted” and Christine is “excited.”
(I’ve long noticed in these announcements about jobs in the church that those making the appointment are invariably “delighted” and those appointed are always “excited.” And I wonder, with all that floating about in ecstatic states, whether any work actually gets done?)
But what does the rest of it mean? What will Christine actually do? How will she even be able to start work in her new office which, as we can see, is knee-deep in such filthy jargon?
By God the Word was made flesh. By hell the Church of England has turned it to gobbledegook and drivel.
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What a shame all those words were used to either criticise or, it seems, show how much more wise the contributors are. When the Word became flesh it was an expression of love. Little of that in the comments here.
The C of E’s Media Centre doesn’t say if Christine was appointed after a ‘robust’ interview, but we must suppose that this is the case, since all these managerial appointments seem to be take place after such robustness.
If Shakespeare was right that nothing will come of nothing then the grandiose ‘job’ title Christine possesses must surely result in much ado of something. Though it’s more likely that its pomposity is a necessary anodyne to Christianity’s almost complete irrelevance in 21st century Britain: the more Christianity becomes just a residue, the grander the job titles.
This remote managerialism has certainly spread to a parish church that I know in London, where a group has been set up to ‘develop strategies to ensure that Jesus Christ is still relevant to future generations in the local area.’ I felt like asking the group leader if a strategy hadn’t already been developed, one called the Gospel.
Dear Dr Mullen,
We live under the reign of Antichrist. In the space of a mere 120 years, Antichrist has gradually infiltrated all art, all music, all literature and all architecture, so it’s not surprising that he/she/it has infiltrated language too. You ask what the C of E’s press release means? The meaning of the C of E’s press release is that Antichrist’s work is almost complete. To analyse it further would be to risk falling into sin by accepting the pseudo-logical premisses of the infidels. Vade retro, C of E press release!
I find it almost impossible to believe in the Risen Christ, but I find it even more impossible to believe in the Risen Christine, who “will be responsible for providing leadership on people matters”. “I am the way, the truth and the life,” says Christine, but I prefer Christ, who was never recorded saying how “excited” he was on learning how big his salary was to be.
Or perhaps it’s just a manifestation of the huge increase in non-jobs and leisure time.
For most of human history, work was essential in order to survive. There was no need to hold seminars about how to secure food, shelter, safety from enemies i.e. basic needs. The reason for jobs, e.g. blacksmiths, farriers, cobblers, farmers, was obvious. No need for MBA’s.
The Industrial Revolution led to huge surpluses and a consumer society. Basic needs having been met, people are now having to find reasons to work, but the reasons are increasingly hard to justify. The tenuous basis for so many “jobs” has a commensurate impact on the language used to describe these “occupations”. Why do we need “diversity co-ordinators”, and why isn’t diversity a choice, not a compulsory requirement?
Fortunately, there are still enough people doing real jobs who have a good command of the English language. Brain surgeons like Mr. Henry Marsh don’t need management-speak to excise brain tumours. They just do it. Unfortunately, he and his colleagues are constantly being badgered by scientifically unqualified, sub-literate manager types lecturing specialists, leaders in their field, about the need for diversity and inclusion and compliance with EU Direktivs (whoops sorry, Directives).
We are witnessing a civilization in terminal decline.
Real jobs, such as working for charities which support e.g. those afflicted by MS, or ex-soldiers with PTSD, don’t need long indecipherable job descriptions.
So many organisations prattle on about the value of communication and then blithely employ a language of barbarous nonsense that communicates nothing. It must be another example of ‘cognitive dissonance’ – the ability to believe two contradictory things at the same time.
YES! Excellent observation.
Having worked for one of the organisations which Christine H-D previously worked for, I am distressingly familiar with this kind of language, and with the unstoppable repeated promotion of people who use it. As has been said before, English should be a language of astonishing clarity, if what you read or hear is unclear, particularly if it is spoken or written by some overpaid person in authority, one can be sure that they, or the organisation they work for, do not wish you to understand the message, or that the message is not meant for you, but for their peers of bosses. That this ghastly, strangulated. language infects both the corporate and political world is distressing, that it has moved into the very Church which gave us the Book of Common Prayer, and The King James’s Bible is deeply horrible. How can we fight these people?
Brilliant. These are my thoughts exactly.
As an autochthonous inhabitant of europe, and therefore a sub-human to the eyes of the socialist elite I do not fully comprehend their manner of speech but I do find it funny. If I may be so bold to convey my deduction (I ask for permission because I do want to be labelled as a “hater” if I speak freely) but in sub-human language I think they are saying Christine will be bossing people around and be stuck in meetings all day.
Awesome comment, Mick. Unfortunately, your use of “autochthonous” is enough to be accused of hate speech – the socialist elite will quickly brand you as a “nativist” and knuckle-dragging “xenophobe” (oh, and “far right”). Far better to be an allochthonous inhabitant of Europe. Then you will be glorified and deified by them and can do no wrong in their ideology (i.e. relentless campaigning for no borders and mass migration).
Christine sounds like the personification of a civilization in terminal decline. But at least these managerial types constantly provide a good source of entertainment for us in the form of Buzzword Bingo. How to Play: before a bonding session meeting or diversity committee seminar starts, pass round pencils and “bingo” cards, each of the squares (keep them to nine max to raise the probabilities of a “win”) filled out with a common management-speak buzzword or phrase (“ballpark”, “reach out”, “silo(-ed)”, “swing by” – pick your own favorites!). The first to join up a vertical, horizontal or diagonal shouts out “Bingo!”. Multiple “winners” OK – in fact, the more the merrier!
The most fun part of the game is watching the expressions of complete bafflement on the faces of the invariably sub-literate, humorless panelists.
In order to understand this strange language one needs to have been reared, from an early age, on a diet of Teen Vogue, Vogue and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Feminists continue to bemoan the “Patriarchy” without realising Britain is now a low IQ Matriarchy. Needless to say, we won’t survive this century unless the chaps take charge again.
Why so surprised? This is how the managerial class communicate. By using such language they convey the impression that their work is complex and difficult, requiring special expertise and years of experience. This expertise and exeperience must, of course, be rewarded with a fat salary and other benefits. Naturally, as a new appointee, Christine will be in a “key strategic role” – (aren’t they always).
The language used exposes the underlying managerial style that now afflicts all our major institutions. The Church of England’s own managerial class, always keen to appear modern and relevant, simply mimic that style. The repeated use of the word “strategy” along with the use of terms such as “high calibre HR operations” and “key people programmes” show a managerial class filled with a sense of its own importance.
It seems that the more trivial a position or office, or entity is, the grander and more pompous the title and accoutrements of the office become. Somewhat like the uniform of a South American general.
“MD, CEO, CFO, etc.” all neatly describe powerful and responsible positions. What does the “Director for People Capability & Change” do? Well, they tell us this lady; “delivered a people plan encompassing initiatives on workforce strategy, reward, leadership and talent management, diversity, recruitment and people engagement.”
That is good to know. More like “bullshit baffles brains”.
It is hard to think of an organization less relevant to the England of today than The Church of England. A pillar of the Establishment that has completely and irrevocably betrayed its congregation. It did not have to be so, the CoE could have been a force for the interests of the English people, but instead sided with cynical or naïve elements to destroy its own society.
I had the opportunity to work with a large Synagogue here in Florida in upgrading their electrical power and lighting installations. The whole Synagogue entity comprised the House of Worship, a banquet/meeting hall with catering facilities and a kindergarten/pre-school center. Part of this process required extensive interfacing with the executive of the Synagogue, I was able to talk in detail about their mission and to their facility staff about their day to day operations. I was very impressed. Their whole agenda was the protection of the Jewish identity, preservation of the Jewish community and strict observation of the rites and rituals of the Jewish faith. In the pre-school even the non-Jewish children had to learn Hebrew and take lessons on the history of Israel and the Jewish people. In a strange sense, God was almost peripheral, but also central, to the mission.
Contrast that with the Church of England: They welcomed the invaders, they enthusiastically collaborated in the destruction of the native culture of England by their incredibly stupid embrace of the idea of “multi-culturalism”, they attacked and slandered those who objected to the invasion. In doing all this they have reduced themselves to complete irrelevance.
Surely it’s obvious that this is a key strategic role? What with “providing leadership on people matters, including the development of our people strategy and the delivery of high calibre HR operations” Christine (yes, we’re on first name terms already) will (one hopes) be able to take time out from being tremendously excited to doing useful and amazing things for the entire community (when she finds out what they are).
Perhaps Christine would benefit more from being given a compulsory course in the writings of Kierkegaard, just to remind her what Christianity is about. But perhaps this wouldn’t be as exciting or delighting or key or strategic as the delivery of high calibre HR operations.