As the Readers’ Digest used to say ..

A final piece of colloquial richness from America. Asked about the experience of being a bishop, someone quoted the late President Lyndon Johnson – who said that the experience of being President was like being ‘a jackass caught in a hailstorm.’ So now you know.

Meanwhile, the world of Scotland is full of interest – particularly the very measured debate on sexuality in the Church of Scotland General Assembly.

But the thing with which I found myself most in sympathy was the piece by Giles Fraser in the Church Times. Having announced his departure from Putney, he reflects, ‘Soon I shall be on a list of vicars past’. And he muses on that permanent dissatisfaction which clergy have about what they achieve – particularly when they measure at the point of departure – and about where the permanent might be found in the midst of the impermanent.

Retreat

It’s been interesting – being with clergy in their first three years of ministry. They seem so much more sensible and balanced than I was at that time. It’s been interesting some of the material which has arisen. These are clergy from Northern Ireland. I’m still pondering Bishop Peter Selby’s article ‘Why war is never a final solution’ It seems to me that a society can move on politically .. and economically .. and in terms of quality of life. But, at the level at which clergy deal with people, it takes a long time, a generation and more, for the cost and the feelings and the trauma of conflict to fade away.

Got the wheels of Bam Bam’s mountain bike onto National Cycle Route No 71. This is the famous C2C – which crosses England at this point. Reminiscent of the lines, ‘Thy Kingdom stretch from sea to sea till all the world be C of E’. Was that Betjeman? Anyway it was uphill at this point.

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