Well it’s good to be back. I felt that I went straight from the Oxford high table to the breakfast muffin at Birmingham Airport.
Anyway, I was reading ‘The Starfish and the Spider – the unstoppable power of leaderless organisations’ while I was away. Spiders don’t function if you lop bits off or disable their central brain – starfish don’t have a central system at all. It’s on the reading list for the College for Bishops – I’m doing another week of training in May with the most recent three years of bishops of TEC – as a consumer, I hasten to add.
The suggestion is that organisations which don’t have any central organisation or direction – like Alcoholics Anonymous or Skype – energise people at every level. Efforts to stifle simply make them stronger. Organisations with a centralised structure stifle initiative and flexible response – and can be readily disabled. So that’s the Vatican dealt with for a start! But what of the SEC, one wonders?
Well – we are a church of small government compared with many. We have a fair amount of collegiality and collaboration in our DNA. But I find myself of divided mind. I like nothing better than to be surprised by something that happens at the ‘grass roots’ and we are attempting to create a culture which makes that more rather than less likely. But I suppose that an episcopal church recognises the need for a ‘minding’ function – a bit of protecting, a bit of making safe, a bit of creating a space in which all can be heard and alternative possibilities created. But the distance between that and stifling is very small.