- They treat the church as a private club. They form cliques. They show off. They suck up to people more ‘powerful’ than themselves. They think the more they have the better off they’ll be.
- Everyone thinks he is in charge, so without coordination, nothing gets done.
- They confuse looking miserable and/or pompous with seriousness of purpose.
- They build walls around themselves and their own creations. They are inclosed in their own fat, and their mouth speaketh proud things. ( Psalm 17:10, BCP 1662)
- They think that driving a computer is more important than dealing with real people.
- They are hard-hearted. They are delighted when a rival comes a cropper. They ‘kill’ others by gossip and backbiting because they lack courage to speak face to face.
- They plan too much so become inflexible, they think activity means progress, so they never reflect on what they have done or what the consequences might be of planned action.
Sound familiar? Entitlement. Masonic intrigue. Petty rivalries. PCC meetings. Church processions. Church politics. Mission Action Plans. Fawning to bishops. Church flower rotas. Church choirs—oh Ye Gods, church choirs, may the Lord save us and protect us.
I spent three years of my life dealing with a particular manifestation of such as this. I resolved when I got out of it that I would never again tolerate such self-obsessed behaviour. And I mean it.
Back in the fourth century AD Evagrios the Solitary wrote that the demons that fight us in the front line are those entrusted with the appetites of gluttony, those that suggest avaricious thoughts, and those (worst of all) that incite us to seek the esteem of men.
Nothing has changed. I’m with the Pope.