This is a picture of me (top right-hand corner) from when I was an oyster-fisherman with my father; he is seventh generation and I was eighth.
I was my father’s apprentice. He taught me and continues to teach me about life.
I came across this quote from my Dad,
‘In a world of instant results, oysters swim against that tide and are cultivated through patience, care and attention.’
Little did I know that as an oyster-fisherman I was being trained in theology. What my dad taught me on the water, and what he says here, is a lesson in theology, a prophetic, political and profound lesson for the Western church.
Here in the UK the institutional church is in decay and dying. It has too often succumbed to managerial models of leadership, dehumanised people through an obsession with numbers, growth and money, and lost sight of who we are called to be. We have desired the instantaneous and sacrificed relationship.
I say let the institutional church die. In death resurrection can take place.
As an oysterman I quickly realised the tide was out of my control, so I had to learn to pay attention and work with the tide. In the same way the Wind of the Spirit will blow where She pleases. The church must learn to love and live ‘out of control’, paying attention where the Spirit blows and how to work with Her in Her creative energy.
What my dad teaches us here is to be a people who cultivate relationship, who are a patient people, a people who care, a people who pay attention, attention to one another and to the Wind of the Spirit, to what God is saying through the silence.
Perhaps then something will emerge of real depth that speaks a better word than what we have been speaking. Perhaps then we will discover a pearl of great price.