Taking Comfort From Theresa image

Taking Comfort From Theresa

Sometimes I think I am surrounded by imbeciles. Despite my best efforts, constant complaining and hectoring, the ‘serving’ teams at Ring of Bright Water seem incapable of turning on a microphone without feedback, putting up song words without a typo or taking up the offering without dropping something. Last Sunday I even had a prankster interrupt my sermon (“Fresh Vision for Bright Water – Lessons from Ecclesiastes 10:18") with a demand for my resignation while the deacons stood passively by looking embarrassed.

It’s not even as if this is only a problem at Bright Water. On my extensive speaking engagements around the nation, and globally, I experience the same pattern of mishaps. Even as I head out to headline the Divergence Conference in Tuscaloosa I fear my ministry will be blighted by the incompetence of others, or an unexpected fur-ball. It’s a good programme. Jack Steer will be speaking on preaching loudly enough for people to hear you, I’ll be looking at humility (natch), Max Handler will speak on the power of the cheque book, Frankie Wan is considering how to lead a sceptical church into Eukarysmatic life, and Sim Sturms will be framing the conference in the context of liturgical music and dance. There will also be panels, seminars, Q&As, and of course times of corporate worship. But a good programme isn’t enough for a good conference. What we need is reliable PA, typo-free song words, and a security detail switched on enough to offer me the close personal protection I so often seem to require. My hopes are not high.

So it was with a certain ironic sympathy that I watched Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference on Wednesday. After the coughing fits and the security breech, Amber Rudd’s panicked cajoling of her front-bench colleagues into manic applause and Boris’s bemused visage, as that ‘F’ fell off the slogan on the platform I vowed never to complain again about the normal Ring of Bright Water technical failings. Come what may as I stand on the platform at Divergence next week – if my powerpoint slides go up in the wrong order, if the mic keeps turning on and off, if hecklers interrupt – I will plough on. After all, if it can happen to the Prime Minister, it can happen to anyone.


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