Before I start, I just wanted to share this picture - it made me smile (it is from a General Synod gathering)
'Jesus was crucified like this, fool - not tazered on the leg!'
There is much prattle around at the moment surrounding the General Synod elections that loom ominously like the leaden skies above my bonce at this very moment. Read Les's Bog for an amusing take on the campaigns of those who seek election. As she beat me to it, I thought I would address this seriously, so hold on to your toupees!
During the course of this week, I have met with many people in various pastoral encounters. Some were draawing to the end of their life, some wanted me to baptise their children, others were grieving the loss of a loved one, others will shortly be married or their marriage blessed. Some were children. One was a little boy with ants in his pants but a mind like a razor; another was four and new to school; yet another was having a hard time. I met many people by chance wandering through life as I do - and then I wondered what they would all make of the questions that those who seek election to the General Synod place as key to their electioneering.
They wouldn't give a toss, me thinks.
This Synod is rallying polarised interests; do you do or do you don't be-Mitre a woman? do you do or do you don't do Common Tenure (eh?); do you do or do you don't do Anglican Covenant (say what?); do you do or do you don't do gays (excuse me?), and so on. The candidates seem (with a couple of notable exceptions) to be from one of two camps - rabid traditional (in its hijacked form) or rabid evangelical [exc Mark Chapman, my friend, who couldn't do rabid even with shaving foam]. In short - one end or the other in terms of candidate vying on matters to one end or the other.
This is tickety-boo if you are on the inside of the church - and let's face it, in a world of such need for the love of loving people, that really isn't enough of us. Yes, they are all matters that matter and they should all be attended to - but where is the rest of it. I would have been happy if just one candidate stood up and said
'...all I want is to preserve the spiritual interests of little Johnny, old Mrs Miggins and the bloke who comes to church every week but doesn't know why...'
There seems very little 'general' about Synod these days - rather, we see a rallying cry for specifics. The fact is, those who seek to stand on such bodies are arguably the worst people to be on those bodies [I lean on the word 'arguably' as many good people are on the GS]. We are missing whole days, months and years, and when we have ironed out the fine detail, our churches will be emtpy, our faith the sport of eccentrics, and the country not being ministered to by those called by God to do so (in other words, all the baptised) - but hey, all our redundant priests will know their terms of service, and our empty collapsing churches can have whatever bishop they want.