I have got to thinking recently how much we have in common. Not just that we are both CEOs of multi-national conglomerates. We are both bears of relatively small brain burdened with very clever predecessors. And we are both misunderstood.
But there are differences too. I mean, you are saddled (which I most certainly am not!) with the infallibility business. And the problem with infallibility is that (however carefully you define it) it rubs off on everything else. Just look at what’s happening to you at the moment. You have only to be mildly indiscreet to a journalist on the telephone and those on one side or another of the argument are claiming you as their champion. Even your private thoughts have become infallible statements!
So I wanted to share with you something of our Anglican experience – which is all about fallibility.
You see people don’t want their religious leaders to be right. They want them to get things wrong, to make mistakes, to have doubts. Just like themselves. We are not here, you and I, to offer solutions. Our task is to walk with people on their different journeys, and to baptise the solutions they themselves come up with. I mean, look at the scriptures. You never hear Jesus telling people things. He is always the open ear, the empathetic companion.
Our Anglican experience is that doctrine is not given – something handed down from on high. People can’t take that sort of thing any more (if they ever could). Doctrine emerges; it is part of the wonderful continuum of life itself. Remember what Newamn said (probably while he was still an Anglican): ‘To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often’.
Personally I find that very liberating. And I got to thinking that it might help you too. After all, the most any of us can do is to share.
As always, your friend on the journey,