"Recently, a senior church statesman candidly told me that to even suggest it, is like 'whistling in the wind'. Perhaps it would admit there are those within their own systems who engage in such activities," M V Tronson surmised.
Nonetheless, he believes that this is too important a subject to be ignored and young seminarians (theological students) should at least be given the rudiments of protecting themselves as part of their training. To illustrate the devious nature of any damaging politics, he cites none other than Winston Churchill.
The ABC Summer Radio National's James Carlton interviewed the retiring Clerk of the Senate Ian Harris (21 December 2009) who told the story of a fresh 'House of Commons' parliamentarian in the 1930's who seated himself beside the seasoned Winston Churchill. This young man said to Churchill that he couldn't wait to get into 'the enemy, those opposite' (The Parliamentary Opposition).
Churchill's response was, "Dear boy, they are not your enemy, it is those sitting beside you."
With this in mind, he cites the following example with permission. The Reverend Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes A.C. MLA in his book 'Leaving a Legacy' reveals how a fellow Uniting Church Minister laid a charge against him and how, in effect, to defend himself within the 'structures' he had to 'philosophically' do triple mid air somersaults and a tap dance, to protect his name and ministry.
Gordon Moyes is the highest profile Evangelical and Non-Conformist Christian Minister in Australia and at the time of this incident, he was Superintendent of Wesley Mission in Sydney. Unfortunately, there was no love lost between the 'theological positions' of Dr Moyes and the Uniting Church hierarchy.
Mark Tronson, a Baptist Minister and Australian cricket chaplain has been honoured to be mentored for over 30 years by Dr Moyes. He is now in a position to return some of that consideration, and has suggested to Gordon Moyes that he might consider assisting by becoming an occasional 'Visiting Fellow' on 'Church Politics' to Australian Theological Seminaries.
M V Tronson has been published widely on this subject and in his view, his experience of 'church politics' served to strengthen him, which sometimes is the effect of those in similar situations.
These last ten years in Christian Ministry he says have been his 'most productive to date'. The Lord has seen fit to further honour and show remarkable blessing to his and his wife Delma's ministry. Strange as it may be, this too is often the situation in Christian ministry.
"For some years now, I've been keen to see those theological students with 'rose coloured glasses' gain some insights as to what they may need to confront in their own future ministries," M V Tronson explained
Seminary students should be advised of the importance of seeking counsel when they feel overwhelmed by events out of their control, or simply weary of helping cope with the problems of others. 'Caring for the carers' is provided by people such as the Reverend Dr Rowland Croucher from John Mark Ministries based in Melbourne, who ministers to wounded ministers and pastors, and sadly on the most part 'after the event'.
M V Tronson further explained. "One suggestion is an annual seminar on this subject.
There are those in each denomination who have come through the mill of church politics who may well be ideal to serve as consultants in this area of church life."
A very helpful web site in dealing with church politics is the video series by US Presbyterian minister the Reverend Stephen Brown on his Pooped Pastors web site.