Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The cruellest month

My title today comes with the photo, taken on a hillside above the mouth of Glen Massan: the first violets of the season. Once more my phone has been unable to replicate their particular shade of violet; the white balance is set at "automatic" and I would welcome comment on what to do about it. But yesterday felt quite cruel, mainly because I was at a committee meeting which reminded me how much I dislike meetings.

We've come a long way, have we not, from a society in which we expect meetings to be conducted in code - a code which, I have to say, I associate with predominantly male gatherings. I'm thinking of obfuscation masquerading as politeness, or discretion, or perhaps plain old paternalism. Situations in which nobody questions directly, or admits to not seeing any sense in a course of action, lest they be seen as stupid or troublemakers or both. I don't know anything at all about the world of business, a traditionally male-orientated world where women are now a force to be reckoned with: is there still a tendency for the "don't you worry your pretty little head about that" to creep in?

However, I do know about the church. The Pisky church in particular. Goodness, how we've changed in the 30-odd years since I first served on the now-defunct Provincial Synod. There are still dark glimpses of attitudes which belong to another age - attitudes to women which remain untouched by modern thought - but the joy comes when I realise they are no longer typical. It's when they surface under my nose that I grow fierce. Maybe April is a good month for growth - and not just of violets.


  1. Anonymous6:58 PM

    Your second paragraph is spot on -- articulating something that I've known but not been able to say so clearly. This style of operating was not part of my experience of the world growing up. I first encountered while teaching at a public school in England, and then found it again in my training as a priest. The danger is that one learns to play the game, and thus perpetuates it. The challeng, to refuse to play without being dubbed a trouble maker...

  2. I think you are perpetuating the myth of the code in determining it as a predominantly male 'failing'.

    In my experience, both sexes have the same desire to support/defend their own views and the main difficulty in meetings is not to back those of a different persuasion into a corner where they will oppose anything, as a matter of principle, which conflicts with that.

    I accept that sometimes this need to not alienate others goes to far, but, unless its autocracy you want (and who is the autocrat), what else do we have?

  3. Sorry, should be 'too far' not 'to far' in the last paragraph.