Sunday, 30 July 2017

Shepherds and Salespeople

Interesting article from Angela Tilby on the difference between the popular priests of fiction - in "Broken" and "Rev"  - as opposed to the missional model currently being promoted by the HTB style of bishop. I'm being a bit shorthandy and imprecise here, I realise, but I'm a busy archdruid and we've the entrails of a frozen chicken to inspect at Filling up of Beakers, so I'm not going to qualify everything I just wrote. Just assume I'm being a bit broad brush on the "HTB" and we'll be fine.
Rev Timothy Farthing of "Dad's Army"
No longer a suitable candidate

Mind you, so is Angela Tilby. Maybe the reason the vicars in those programmes are so attractive is because that's what the writers want to make attractive. That's what fiction writers do. They write from a position, with an angle. They aren't presenting the world as it necessarily is. If the cafe church people are a bit queasy-making: is that what cafe church people are? Or is that simply because the writer wants us to feel sorry for Smallbone, in his vulnerability and general uselessness? And bear in mind that non-churchgoers tend to meet ministers in counselling / wedding / funeral situations, not when they're in a thought shower blue-sky-ing the latest missionary strategy.

Another recent Church Times article suggests that for churches to grow, you need leaders (if I can use that broad-brush term) who are risk-takers, strategists, and collaborative thinkers.

So if I were to be particularly vague and provocative - and why not, it's a social media world, after all - it appears the Church selects people who are introverted feelers; trains them in a way suitable for introverted thinkers; gets best results from extroverted thinkers; while Angela Tilby and today's TV viewers would like them to be a vulnerable mess with a strong suit in approachability and counselling.

Religious Ministers. Failing to be what people want since 30AD.

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