I’ve been reading Hans Kung’s letter. It remarkable to see him still plugging away after all these years … Consistency and stamina are remarkable things.
Those who have travelled with me through Holy Week will know that I get particularly upset about Pontius Pilate. I see in him the person who could have acted but chose not to – who had leadership authority invested in him but failed to exercise it. Why chose that issue? Because I lived most of my life in a society whose leaders lacked the moral courage to address deep-seated issues. And people died.
So that’s why my eye is caught by Kung’s repeated charge, ‘Missed .. the opportunity … for rapprochement .. for reconciliation .. for help’
There is a side to leadership which is about recognising the signs of the times, seeing the opportunity or the unavoidable necessity of taking action. I believe that the toughest leadership of all – but that which is most worthwhile – comes when the leader challenges his or her own people. Strangely, leaders who miss opportunities are seldom criticised because people don’t see what isn’t there. So life moves on in a spurious calm. Yet it is the role of a leader to see, to call, to challenge.
The time will come.