Thursday, 15 August 2013


At the moment I tend to drive to work - it has been the M25, and is currently the M1. There is something that really frustrates me while I drive up and down, and I think there is a parallel in this.

The problem is with people who insist on driving in the outside lane, too slowly, leaving a large gap in front of them. While there are other behind who want to pass. And yes, I often mean those who are driving at exactly the speed limit, when I want to drive faster.

I realise there are some who will say "well, drive at the limit youreself, and leave plenty of room. Be a good boy." However, I am not one who particularly likes sticking to the rules. In any area of life. I do not drive stupidly, or recklessly, but I often drive too fast. I see people around me driving far more insanely than I ever would. And this is not about "obeying the law", but about behaving respectably to others.

Oh, and if everyone were to drive within the limit, and with a large gap, the road system would collapse, because the capacity of the road network would be significantly reduced. Bear in mind, I am talking about peak times, when the network is at its busiest, and is already cracking under the strain. What is more, expecting people to be perfect, when they are traveling to or from work, is too much - people are tired, low-sugar, low-caffeine, and not really wanting to be there. Expecting people to be better than their best when they are at a low is to abuse them.

The real problem is that people who drive this way are often advocating that they are trying to be "safe" by driving in this way. That is admirable, but untrue, because the effects of driving like this is to frustrate people behind them, and often force them to pass on the inside - a perfectly legal but risky manoeuvre, that I do occasionally do. When I do it, I should point out, there needs to be plenty of room,  meaning that there is easily enough space for the person to have pulled into the inner lane.

I have no problems with people who want to drive slowly, or with large gaps. I have a problem with people who drive in the wrong lane, and cause problems for other people. It is just about politeness, because the polite thing to do is to let other people pass, if it is safe to do so.

There seems to be a parallel here with the way the church so often behaves. They are also very often slow and cautious, and argue that this is for the sake of safety. "We have to take this carefully, and consider all of the implications" we hear. "We need to find some solution that satisfied everyone" they say. And I think of the people driving slowly, safely, cautiously in the outside lane, and wish they would move over to where they are more suited.

If the church wants to be in the fast lane of society, the place that most people under the age of 40 live, then they need to take a few risks, be less cautious, push a little. The debacle in the Church of England over women bishops - the continued impression that the church gives of valuing the positions of those who oppose women gaining equality over the rights of women - puts them in the slow lane of the motorway. I prefer the fast lane, and will stay there passing the church on the inside if necessary. I would rather they admitted that they are no longer fast-lane players, and let those who are get on with it.

Otherwise they will just irritate people. Even more.

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