> Did you hear the joke about the bin?
> It was rubbish!

But at least the Council took it away…

We recently held interviews for a new caretaker. I did something, and I can’t work out whether it was ethical or not. Perhaps you can help me with my dilemma?

The door to the office where the candidates were being interviewed was right next to a bin. I decided that I would place a big piece of litter near the door, so it was obvious to anyone who came to that door. My purpose was to see who, out of the six candidates we were interviewing, picked up the litter and put it in the bin. So how many of them do you think picked it up? That’s right: None!

Now, I was brought up watching the Wombles, so I don’t know if it was their influence, but I always pick up litter. So was I being ethical in trying to catch those interviewees out? Would Jesus have picked up the litter? The reason I did what I did was all about taking responsibility for our environment, and especially the one the caretaker was going to work in. As the saying goes ‘If it’s your boat, it’s your responsibility!’

Yes, the reason we all need to be responsible for each other, and where we are, is that we are all in the same boat! I love the fact that the roof of a church is built like an upturned boat. And that the word ‘nave’ and the word ‘navy’ both come from the Latin for boat, which is ‘navis’.

But what about the word ‘responsible’? For me, this word has been hijacked by business. Some of our big companies have won awards for being responsible. Of course we celebrate with them, but what about those irresponsible businesses? Being responsible is not an add-on. I sometimes think we have started to accept irresponsibility, but we must continue to challenge it. We must all be good ‘care’ takers.

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