Friday, 25 April 2008

Church politics...

Dear Reader,

After another wonderful week of work at the Diocesan Council, the Bishop feels the need to let it all out...

Whilst those who work in business can expect to be at the end of a little office politics from time to time, I wonder if it gets anything like as vicious as Church politics? A few years ago, the Diocesan Council introduced a delightful approach called 'relative appraisal', under which, at the end of the year, the performance of priests, monks, nuns and bishops is assessed against that of their colleagues. The result: a race of 'survival of the fittest' which would shock a piranha! Whilst our Scientologist neighbours across the road have simply to be from public school / Oxbridge and be able to at least pretend to be gay in order to receive a top 'box marking'; and our Calvinist friends who share some of our block have to be able to spell properly (though not, of course, add up or store records correctly - that would never do...), we are required to bullshit for a living.

When, therefore, our flock wonder why our finance department holds its funds at the Northern Rock and invested in an Equitable Life pension fund, our maintained schools seem unable to teach pupils, donations meant to care for the poor so often end up in the hands of the lazy, feckless and/or criminal, and the costs of caring for the sick and elderly in Church hospitals / hospices has risen enormously with little apparent benefit, they need to bear this in mind: we have become so adept at bullshitting that:
  • Many of us believe the bullshit ourselves.
  • Even if we don't believe it, only the foolhardy (here, unfortunately, is the Bishop's problem) dare to point out that it is brown, sticky, comes out of the back end of a cow, and doesn't smell very nice...
  • At which point, the foolhardy are told that they are not acting in a 'collegial' fashion, are simply ignored or are bullied into shutting up (or, in the Bishop's case, a mix of all 3...).
  • And only the BS experts stand any chance of ever making it into the College of Cardinals - hence nearly everyone aims to be a BS expert, rather than focussing on their vocation, be it developing better ways of helping the poor, improving standards of teaching in maintained schools, running the Church's investment portfolio in the best way possible, etc.
  • Thus, the Diocesan Council, which is supposed to be committed to 'diversity', actually only attracts one-dimensional, 'cookie-cutter' 'yes-men' (and 'yes-women'), exacerbating the problem of low stipends which means that the Diocesan Council is disproportionately upper-middle class (or higher), and has no staff (even those from ethnic minority backgrounds) who have any experience of the social problems faced by the poorer members of our flock. This is why their answers to every challenge always involve more control by the Diocese and higher tithes.
  • And those who are genuinely committed to their vocation move to another Diocese, join another Church, or turn to alcohol.
Where will the Bishop end up?

God bless you for listening... Now, where's that nice bottle of communion wine... :)


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