Oh, before I start, a number of people have asked me about the six ewes scanned in lamb with triplets who have their legs crossed and are hanging on waiting for spring and some nice weather before lambing.
As of twenty minutes ago, they have all still got their legs crossed and are still hanging on.
But anyway now I’ve passed on the important news, is there anything else worth talking about?
Well somebody asked me about a joke about the Bishop and the Actress.
Now I was pondering this. One of the joys of the Church of England with its fine tradition of clerical eccentricity is that there are almost certainly bishops who’ve married actresses, and now after the latest round of reforms, give us a while and we’ll have bishops who were actresses.
Well we’ve had bishops who’d been professional Cricketers, David Sheppard, Bishop of Liverpool was. He’s the one who said something along the lines that, “When Saint Paul went anywhere; they stoned him and drove him out of town. When I visit they give me a nice cup of tea. I wonder if I’m doing it right.”
So perhaps bishops are supposed to stir things up and cause trouble? I looked at the salary scale. Effectively if you’re a bishop you’re on a similar salary to a Civil Service Grade Eight (Senior Executive Officer.) This is about two thirds of a MPs salary, and you don’t get their generous expenses. However you get a tied house to live in, but obviously you’ve still got to buy somewhere so you have somewhere to retire to.
The other advantage Bishops have is their background. If you want to find people who’ve done a variety of jobs in the ‘real’ world, you’re probably better off looking in the House of Bishops than in the Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet. And as all Bishops have been ordinary clergy on less than the national average wage they’re probably more in touch with the economics of the average household.
But is the purpose of a Bishop to say things that ensure people stone them? Perhaps it’s a case that they ought to ask the questions that force other people to ask themselves questions? I’d suggest that if they’re under attack by senior politicians and business leaders they’re doing their job properly. Even if the bishop is wrong, they’ve still forced people to think about the question and produce a coherent justification.
But it also occurs to me that it’s up to all of us to ask questions that make people stop and think. Some of the toughest questions are best made without a lot of fuss.
Some of the toughest are,
“Are the methods you want to use doing more damage than the problem you’re attempting to solve?”
“How immoral are you entitled to be to restore morality?”
“At what point will your defence of freedom destroy the freedom you are trying to defend?”
Look, I’m currently a mixture of maternity nurse and lavatory attendant. Others might call me a farmer. When I turn my back on my proper jobs I write a bit.
A book should have a good story, it should make you want to turn the page, you should really enjoy it.
But when you finally put the book down and walk out to meet the day, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if, at the back of your mind, there’s a small voice asking you a big question.