I met two members of my congregation yesterday. Each time when I started to speak, they told me not to. Nobody actually said “Shut up” but it is clear I am not sounding at my best. It made me think about the privilege that ministers have in being able to hold forth in the pulpit on a Sunday morning. It is so unlike other forms of communication, and whenever I have tried a more interactive approach most people feel uncomfortable at joining in. There is an obvious discomfiture if I come out of the box and pick up the walkabout microphone. It is as if they are thinking Oh no – she's at it again!
It is not like that in politics or TV. You only have to watch Question Time or the comments thrown at MPs to realise that. I guess that church congregations are either well behaved, or, they hold to the idea that a so-called professional knows more than they do.