Of course I know, really I know, that the slow process of changing minds and warming hearts cannot be hurried. It is a matter of example and quiet words and funny stories. Sometimes, however, the bossy little girl who still lives within me gets the upper hand – and she finds the warming hearts and telling funny stories unbearably slow. So, just for her, and based on this week’s news and eves-droppings, public and private, are some useful rules for living.
Never fear asking the idiot question. Others may be unsure of what is going on too. They may be afraid to ask. You will do everybody a favour by being the one prepared to look an idiot.
Never ever be afraid to stop a meeting by pointing out just what it is doing. Stay polite to individuals, but point out in graphic detail just where they are going and what hurt they are causing. There are worse things than a whole room full of people looking at you in disgust. Yes, honestly, there are.
Justice and truth always matter more than pleasing people. There is no real comfort without them.
You do not need everybody to like you.
Never sign a joint report without knowing what is in the rest of it. There may be a can you are unwilling to carry.
There are always ways of avoiding being a party to joint responsibility for evil actions. They may be painful, but there you go.
Dear readers, follow these rules, and you will never, ever find yourself in the position the current members of the English House of Bishops finds itself today (all bar one member, we are led to understand).
That position is the most painful I can imagine, and I am more glad than I can tell you that I have no part of it on my conscience.