As a matter of course, TRS staff meet daily at 11AM to drink coffee and have a natter. Here’s a flavour of what’s been discussed by the Coffee Collective this week …
Members are perplexed by the continued use of certain kinds of bathroom accessories: the existence of mats shaped to fit round the toilet and plastic-doll loo-roll holders cause particular disquiet. There is, however, as yet, no consensus concerning the bearing this has on the discipline or any of the research specialisms represented.
Celebration ensued after Ben Fulford’s new book — Divine Eloquence and Human Transformation: Rethinking Scripture and History through Gregory of Nazianzus and Hans Frei, Minneapolis: Fortress Press (2013) — arrived in the post. Huzzah! *mug chinks all-round* (without spillage — see rule 4, below).
Eleven members of staff are off to Baltimore, MD next week to give papers at the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, and therefore spirits have been high. And so have stress levels — especially as some members foolishly agreed to do more than one paper (2013 department record = 2.5). However, despite this low-level panic (anyone would think there hadn’t been more than six months’ preparation time), the most pressing concern, at least for some, has proved to be whether or not it will be possible to watch Doctor Who as it goes out next Saturday (or soon thereafter), and if so, how the logistics will be managed.
As the Hollybank roof continues to leak (staff based on the upstairs corridor were recently heard to cry: “It’s raining again, in my office”), there was agreement that members are not getting tired of ‘jokes’ about the ark. Honestly.
A significant ruling was passed: buying books on-line and downloading articles is not procrastination. It does count as research. Even if you don’t actually get round to reading said items. Members were pleased by this outcome.
It was also noted that coffee consumption seems to be oddly high of late. Is it being pilfered from the kitchen? Or perhaps the frequency and length of ‘meetings’ has simply increased as the daylight has reduced.
As this is the first glimpse behind the veil, it is worth noting that there are very strict rules governing participation in staff coffee, as dictated by Dr Middleton (whose office hosts the Collective):
1. Coffee is at 11AM (unless, for some reason, it isn’t).
2. You cannot come, take coffee and leave: you must stay for at least 20 min.*
3. You may not enter more than 20 min. after coffee has begun.*
4. No spillage. Of any liquid. Ever.
5. The coffee pot must be poured slowly, to avoid spillage (see rule 4).
6. You must provide entertaining conversation (interpreted generously).
7. Coffee is over when Dr Middleton gets bored.
(* NB. these rules can occasionally be bent for reasons relating to teaching)
Almighty God, who didst send thy servant Herod to slay the infants, grant that we may sit in coffee shops and on trains and planes free from the distracting wails of fractious children, so that we, like those who rest in thy bosom, might ever meditate in stillness and tranquility. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Answers on a postcard (or in the comments if that’s easier for you).