|Photo: Jonathan_W flickr|
Readers who have undergone military service will recall that the first lesson to be learnt was to obey orders to avoid having one's head blown off, so different to today with the ever, Why? I remember just one exception which came from a sergeant in the Education Corps who asked why something was believed to be true. "Because you said so sergeant" was not the answer he was looking for. "Take everything you hear with a pinch of salt" was his advice.
I thought of that advice while listening to this morning's homily on Good Shepherd Sunday when the vicar asked how we would know if the voice we heard was of a good shepherd or bad shepherd. My wife and I have listened to most shades of opinion over the years but have never wavered from our understanding of what the Good Shepherd teaches us. Few of the clergy whose ministry we have witnessed have remained true to that understanding of the Gospel which has involved us in upheavals in our worshiping lives and consequent lost friendships. Some of the clergy have reached exalted positions, the 'few' have not. I particularly remember one 'successful' priest who was to reach the highest level of influence telling me that he didn't like the idea of women priests but he had to get on with it. I fully understand the position of these 'converts' but what I cannot accept is the lack of any desire to protect clergy and laity who have remained faithful to their traditional understanding of the Gospel in common with the vast majority of Christians and instead invent interpretations of scripture to justify their positions and expect the rest of us to follow their lead.
Perhaps more unsettling now are the calls not to 'rock the boat' as the next stage in the race for women in the episcopate is run in England and Wales. How can we in conscience remain silent when silence is often taken as consent? Yes we must listen but experience dictates that we must not forget that pinch of salt.