A parish, advertising in the Church Times this week for a new minister, seeks someone who will take a 'middle-of-the-road' approach matched with incisive, biblical preaching. Red rag. Bull. The first sermon. Hmm:
This morning I stand before you not black, nor, of course white, but in my grey alb. I stand firmly, and indeed decisively, in the middle of the road. This is not the place of safety you might imagine it for the centre is the place to be mowed down by travellers proceeding in both directions.
On matters doctrinal I say to you, that my approach will be equally firm and decisive. The fence, the fence. Let us reach for it. Let us assess it and then, and only then, without further hesitation, fear or fancy, let us sit upon it and survey our parish. The fence is where my theses will be nailed.
I will be taking a biblical approach to all ethical matters, as you have asked in your profile. On same-sex relationships I shall say clearly no, and then again yes. On women's headship I shall say over my dead body and will pursue the passing of resolutions A and B for the first six months of each year. All women wishing to discuss vocations should come to me between June and December.
I shall be the bland leading the blind, the shepherd of the sweet and the leader at the back. I shall invoke the power of the Holy Spirit whilst recalling that his (or is it 'her?') gifts were for the apostles alone.
I shall make my stand. My chant shall be to easy-going firmness. My slogan will be 'Here I stand; I can do some other.' I bring love with anger, peace with vengeance and meek power.
I am neither alpha nor omega but the bit in the middle, which is also the place I will light the candle, a device neither for illumination nor symbolism. It will not be on the altar/communion table under any circumstances unless someone moans.
From my soapbox I will scream 'I am a moderate. I am liberangelical. Follow me; I went nowhere.'