As you know, I’ve never been able to get much beyond Father Ted … tho’ I am attempting to re-read Barchester in its entirety on my Kindle. Clergy as we all know are in equal parts fascinating and repellant. I thought as much this afternoon when, having spent all day discussing important ecclesiastical business in our Synod Office, I found myself having one of those, ‘Are you a priest?’ conversations on the platform at Haymarket with a lady who wanted me to pay her train fare to Stirling.
So I risked a look at Rev who was being upstaged by his new curate. It passed the test of creating discomfort. It was all there – the Mission Action Planning and the rest. And the impossibly personal stuff which gets mixed in: ‘Just because somebody is energetic doesn’t mean they are manic-depressive.’
I suppose the thing it really did get right was one of the tensions which is at the heart of ministry today. We deal with our apparent irrelevance and tendency to shambling amateurism by attempting to be polished, strategically focused and professionally competent. And yet when we do that – and none of it is to be despised – we find that it isn’t about that. Or that in some uncomfortable way, God isn’t about that. Or, if we try too hard at that, God somehow isn’t able to be about whatever he is about.
Ah well ..