Today’s Church Times announces that the good old C of E is thinking about using human resources managerial strategy to train people for high office. Nothing has quite spoiled my Friday morning as much as this has – not even the prospect of a politically correct Christingle for a non-church and significantly Muslim school later in the day.
I know from selection conferences when I was an Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands that people, even at that very early stage, are labelled as potential high fliers. This is woeful enough in an institution that claims to be about service. But to institutionalize it is shameful.
The problem about wearing the clothes of other creatures is that one picks up their parasites, and in this case the parasites that come with the coats of corporate managerialism will at best disable and at worst consume the host. This is the sort of policy that drives me towards the former ‘flying’ bishops for a vision of the church that accords with what has been handed down to us.
I suppose the people that come up with this are so struck with guilt about what they have allowed to happen to the church – or rather, they should be – that they now flail about like headless chickens. ‘Something must be done’ they say. Maybe, but Ye Gods not this.
It’s like medical education. You qualify as a doctor (it’s a conveyor belt – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – there’s no intellectual content, it’s all memory), then you train in obs & gynae, GP, physician, surgeon etc. Then you get 8-10 years under your belt and find yourself approaching divorce, middle age etc. And you are BORED. You have done 5 gall bladders a day every day. You have looked up the orifices of 7 zillion people and you are NUMB. So then you take to the bottle, or whatever, and start to attend meetings (with expenses of course) at the Royal Colleges where you sit around in panelled rooms on committees that interfere in things that don’t need interfering with. You impose your ‘new’ ideas and force reorganizations and generally foul things up even more. But at least you are not bored any more, and you can wait in line for your gong.
Now put all that in the context of the church. I’m long enough in the tooth to say to Church apparatchiks that I shall go on as I am. By the time they get round to disciplining me for not going along with unimaginative fads I shall be either dead or retired. But I pity the poor souls who are at the beginning of their ministry.