We have some important visitors in town next week – present company excepted – of course! The Pope and The Prime Minister…… There is some excitement mixed with a certain element of concern about what the fuss of these important people with their motorcades will do to the traffic system!
Do you ever wonder what it might be like to be someone else? I wonder what it would be like to be the Pope – be careful what you read into this. What I mean is – what does he think and feel and see – heading up that vast system of the Universal Roman Catholic Church? In what way does he feel the burden of responsiblity? And remember the chap is 81 on Tuesday. No retirement in the Christan life. OK – you try it – imagine what it would be like to be someone else for ten minutes …… don’t go too far – your family will suspect strange goings on and the doctor might be called.
I think that we are quite hard on leaders. I see in the newspaper that they are full of interest in Mr and Mrs Bush’s tax returns. They are even printed for us all to see – is anyone interested? Clearly yes! And if we have some small measure of sympathy then check out the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘worry’ list – try that one for a day or so. How would you hold the Anglican Communion together with such diverse expressions of church as here in the States or in the growing churches of Africa ? What possibility will there ever be of being able to sit at table with those who are in such bitter disagreement? What kind of leadership is required for such times as this? Is expecting too much better than expecting too little?
Yesterday someone asked me who was the greatest of the post second world war British Prime Ministers. It was a bit of a closed discussion because they indicated that Mrs Thatcher was one of their heroines of world politics. I decided to be circumspect and wonder aloud about the criteria of judgement. I don’ think my American friend was too impressed! When it comes to the Presidential election how will people decide? Republican because that is what has always been the vote – on policy or personality? What kind of leaders do we want? Sometimes it is good just to have some one to take a pot shot at – leaders are there to be complained about. They act as a useful focus for our opposition or anger or frustration. And very often these displaced feelings let us off the hook for taking responsibility. All of us need to work to become part of the solution at every level of life – solutions that move beyond the asking or posing of the problem.
Leaders are not helped by those who follow blindly – and the pedestal is designed for those who are place upon it to fall off. Idealisation and worship of those in charge does nobody any good. I wonder how the Pope will cope with all that this week? Now back to my book and trying to sort out a ticket to go and wave at the leader (the Pope) who is not my leader – it might be my only chance to see and worship……
And as for Gordon – well lets see what kind of treatment the Washington Post give him this week. I will keep you posted. Now listen up – smile for the camera.