Liam finished his exams last week, and so he and I have taken the opportunity to retreat to Devon for a boy’s weekend midweek. Some beer has been drunk, some good bonding has taken place: hey we walked up and then climbed Haytor yesterday:
WE prayed together at the stunning Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Buckfast Abbey
and crawled around the Back Beach pubs of Teignmouth.
In the offline times I have been reading a fascinating book which on the face of it does not appear very theological and yet touches the very heart of what Christian Ministry is about. Recommended by Dr Tim Ling (a proper theologian!) it is called “Why should anyone be led by YOU”
It is a general management book, and speaks of the need for authenticity in leadership: something which Christian Ministry should have in spades but which is often faked. Someone only said to me last week “With you, Father, what you see is what you get – you never put a mask on” and I thought that was quite a compliment, as I think that I can only care for people from a position of honesty, and a recognition of my failings and weaknesses. Of course, some are disappointed by that as they do expect a quite unreasonable combination of Alan Sugar and St Francis of Assisi, but you didn’t get either of them as your parish priest: you got me. Authentic leadership inspires, drives, leads by example and is open about its own shortcomings; it builds up those around them and has vision. If more priests started to read this book, maybe some more Christ-like leadership (and I keep seeing Jesus as the archetypal best-leader-ever in the pages of this book) might be forthcoming.