Monday, September 17, 2018

Keeping the main thing the main thing?

So far being bishop-elect is very interesting (many different aspects of ministry leadership being met for the first time) and very demanding (lots of things to attend to). I am rapidly learning new skills in time management!

I am already conscious that in a sea of details I could get lost.

What is the main episcopal thing which I need to keep the main thing? (Your comments appreciated).

I am not without ideas about what the main episcopal thing is - in simple terms, it is leadership through teaching and pastoring, with a special emphasis on raising up leaders to share this common task of care for God's church (i.e. discerning people for ministry leadership and appointing leaders of ministry such as vicars).

But I can see that to keep that main thing the main thing will be a challenge.

Fortunately yesterday evening's OT reading is helpful (Exodus 18:13-26).
But as I said to someone yesterday, I am finding that even when tasks are delegated, new tasks come in which need new delegations :)

19 comments:

Bryden Black said...

Delightfully Kierkegaardian Peter! Tho he termed it "the one thing". And I'll let you discover his own answer ...

Anonymous said...

Dear Peter
Re your question about priorities - it seems to me that the only clergy left who have any kind of public profile are our Bishops. Bearing this in mind, Bishops are the right people to lead at least two parish missions a year, bringing with them a team of varied talents.
Regards Phys

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; I would recommend that you avoid first world social justice. It ignores developing world needs (eg food and shelter for the poor) in favour of whipping cream for privileged minorities du jour. Sorry Fr Ron.
Nick

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Nick
My doctor does not seem to thinking whipping cream is good for my health, otherwise I am all in favour of it :)

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Rhys
Excellent idea!

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, surveying today's internet gems (something you may no longer have the time to do), I came across this pericope from the Jesuit 3-minute retreat site:

"Loving God, your gift of faith is precious to me. Grant me the grace to live my life in such a way that others may recognize Jesus in me."

Our bishops are (should be) the sign of faith to the outside world, but also beloved pastors to those committed to their charge.

I met a retired diocesan bishop in the supermarket yesterday and we acknowledged our continuing existence is due to the God we do our very best to continue to serve - by our attention to the things that make for justice and peace. Ave!

Concerning Nick's comment, I recognise his own bishops are having a bit of a crisis at the moment. However, with Pope Francis (Friend of the Poor) in charge, the RC Church will emerge leaner and better.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter, The main thing for the Church is Jesus Christ, Her LORD; and the teaching of the POWER of HIS CROSS. "Take up your CROSS and follow Me to Calvary. Crucify the 'old man' and allow the 'new man' to be raised up in RIGHTEOUSNESS to be the 'beautiful and pure BRIDE'. From this flows all the secondary issues.

Father Ron Smith said...

Glen, Jesus did NOT say "Take up your Cross and follow me to Calvary". He, himself has already been there, done that. We cannot replicate the saving, redeeming action of Christ!.

What Jesus DID SAY was: Take up YOUR Cross and follow me - in essence, carry the burden you are called to bear in Christ's name. No-one goes to the grave sinless - all the perfecting will be accomplished by God's Self, in God's way and in God's perfect time.

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

I was not stating that Jesus said to follow him to Calvary; but simply bringing together the whole message of the Scriptures into a simple and clear statement, as did Bonhoeffer and C.S.Lewis. Nor was I saying that we can replicate Christ's REDEEMING DEATH.

However, taking up OUR cross requires something of us; "laying down the old man", including those aspects of our human nature we consider to be "innate".
I really can not be bothered to draw the ACANZP back to the truth; but on Sunday was part of the group who had made it possible for the West Hamilton Community Church to acquire and refurbish a new building as it's Church. How wonderful, to see a Church going from strength to strength in Christ and being able to trust in Him and serve Him.

Jean said...

To live out the calling to be a shepherd; personal guide, public protector, and feeder of the sheep (usually quite obstinate and often in need of that crook you will get to carry). As for the dilemma’s of modern day demands I have no solution aside from pray for your P.A. ...to be daily 😉

P.S. it appears honey is the new whipped cream in the land of milk and honey; a luxury for those with liquidity

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, Bishop-Elect for the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch,

I beg you, tap into this amazing video of Fr. Jean Vanier, now 90 years of age, giving his advice on how to become more human. You will remember that he gave talks to the last Lambeth Conference in the U.K. and was pronounced a spiritual guru. He is well-worth watching - by anyone who values their own spiritual progression:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtyX_nXbTx4?rel=0

Liturgy said...

An importantly correction to the previous comment: Jean Vanier is not ordained.

Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Bosco. Another of my myths exploded. I had just assumed Jean Vanier was a Roman Catholc priest. The discovery that he is a lay person makes him doubly interesting - to me at any rate.This may explain why he is so up to date in his assessment of humanity.

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,
\
Is your last blog suggesting that us lay people are more up to date in 'our assessment of humanity'; than the 'ordained?

Father Ron Smith said...

Yes, Glen. Sometimes we clergy are so 'heavenly minded we may be of little earthly use' (Imagine a smile mojo)

Glen Young said...


Hi Ron,

Sounds very much like the temple to me. That,s why I follow a sandal wearing
carpenter and not a bunch of elitist academics.

Father Ron Smith said...

I do understand your point, Glen, but my own priestly call came from my membership of SSF as a lay person - so, perhaps I have a foot in both camps. St. Francis of Assisi also wore sandals (as did I before plantar fasciitis took its toll). Blessed Francis never became a priest, but had a wisdom-witness arising from his close identification with the Passion of Christ when he bore the Sacred Stigmata. He never claimed to be an academic - nor was he a priest - but was obviously a lover of souls for Christ. Jesus himself did once say "I bless you Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and clever, and revealing them to mere children - for that is what it pleased you to do"

Tim Chesterton said...

Peter: At a dark time in my own life I believe the Lord guided me to the following priorities: (a) pray, (b) love people, and (c) spread the gospel. Later, (d) make and nurture disciples was added.

Maybe this will be relevant to you, too, brother.

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you everyone for comments to date and the most recent one, Tim, (a) pray, is especially pertinent, I am finding!