Our animal natures are in a constant state of tension between the personal and the communal. We have instincts which drive us to gratify ourselves, to dominate for food, status and mates. And then we have the pull towards the good of the tribe, pack or troop and the protection and support it offers.
Many people like religious as well as political leaders to be clear and decisive, even if they are sometimes wrong. However Christian faith is primarily about love and trust in a living God, rather than the pretence of certainty on all kinds of matters. On issues such as sexuality, where different views are widely held, churches should be open to differences in practice.
Like many other church assemblies around this time, the Church of England General Synod in July 2013 faces several controversial and challenging issues. As Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby recognised, both openness and boldness are needed.