Here at the Eco-Bishops Conference, we are coming to the end of our time together. We are all professional talkers and conference goers. So the question of whether we might together engage in some symbolic action – something which has power beyond words – begins to float into the conversation.
I’ve always believed in the power of symbolic action. I learned early on in Northern Ireland the negative power of symbols – most obviously flags and emblems. I learned that you can sometimes negotiate the substance of things. But symbolic stuff is directly connected to the feelings and the gut – and tends therefore to be non-negotiable.
But this is South Africa. And deep in the communal memory here are symbolic actions which had positive and creative power – which crossed barriers and were transformative in that they helped people to see things in a new way, The ‘Invictus’ example – Mandela putting on the Springbok Rugby Jersey is only the most potent,
So in the midst of the talking, we’ve been searching for a symbolic action which of itself wouldn’t change anything – but which might catch attention and encourage people to think in a new way about Climate Change issues.
Maybe – let’s see ..