The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - FEATURES -

The con­gre­ga­tion was choos­ing a new min­is­ter. He led the ser­vice, then the con­gre­ga­tion voted in a se­cret bal­lot. They all said yes, con­gre­ga­tion and min­is­ter both con­clud­ing that this is a “call­ing”.

The process in the Church of Scot­land is a mix of mys­ti­cism and prag­mati­cism. The Kirk gave up on bish­ops long ago and a kind of one-per­son-one-vote man­age­ment model ex­ists. It’s not per­fect but what sys­tem is?

Chris­tians wor­ship a benev­o­lent tyrant (God doesn’t share power, un­less you want to ex­plore com­plex Trini­tar­ian the­ol­ogy!) but in day-to-day church life Kirk con­gre­ga­tions op­er­ate a gen­tle, plod­ding democ­racy.

Is democ­racy the best model we have come up with, to run things ef­fi­ciently, fairly and ac­count­ably? Democ­racy can de­liver nump­ties and nas­ties – Amer­ica and South Africa, to name but two, are proof of that. If it is the best sys­tem it de­serves our re­spect and pro­tec­tion.

But when it comes to man­age­ment mod­els, I still ad­mire the “God way” re­vealed by the prophet Ezekiel. “I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stub­born heart of stone and give you an obe­di­ent heart. I will put my spirit in you . . .”

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