I have just got back from speaking at a conference in Austria over the weekend. They seemed to survive my lousy German and were very generous and kind to us. The conference (Kongress fuer Evangelisation und Gemeindeaufbau – under the auspices of the Evangelische Kirche in Oesterreich) took place in the gorgeous village of Bad Goisern in the Salzkammergut. Just look at the view out of the bedroom window of the hotel!

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Then, back in the office in Croydon this morning, what do I find? My colleague, Colin Slee – Dean of Southwark, is in the papers for questioning the integrity of several bishops including the Bishop of Rochester. Rather than trust the newspaper reports, I went to the original source and read the Annual Report from Southwark Cathedral. It is very long. The bishops bits appear at the beginning.

sleeColin is always full of surprises and is great company. He is also never short of an opinion. Now, that is fine when you know what you are talking about. Speculation can sometimes be funny. But how on earth did he find his way into print on two things he cannot possibly know about?

He begins by describing the Lambeth Conference from July 2008. Yet he wasn’t there. It was for bishops. You can’t make too many judgments from the outside and cannot possibly know the rationale behind the decision of those who did not come. We can speculate; but we cannot make definitive statements about them. To make the judgements Colin makes with such unassailable confidence is just silly (even if he turns out to be right).

Then he goes on to enter the mind of the Bishop of Rochester and reveal to the world the real reason behind the bishop’s decision to resign later this year. Colin appears to know definitively what is going on in the bishop’s mind  – which goes well beyond speculation. How is this possible without prophetic (abusing the word, I know…) superpowers.

What is really funny is that neither of these issues has any place in an annual report for or from Southwark Cathedral as neither are the business of Southwark Cathedral. Are they?

Colin, I want your superpowers! I, too, want to be able to see into the minds of people I know and expose definitively to the world the real contents of their minds and motives. (Or is that God’s business?)