But I wonder too whether the ambivalence about ordained ministry has something to do with the licence that the ordained person has to talk — to instruct, explain, exhort, even control. We have seen how wary the desert teachers could be about professional theologians and thinkers, and there are plenty of stories about the need to avoid both theoretical discussions and over-confidence on theological questions.  The ordained person as professional talker would hardly be likely to commend themselves in such an environment.

Fleeing from speech is presented sometimes as the very climax of all flight, as in a story of Macarius:           

One day, as Abba Macarius was dismissing the gathering, he said to the brothers at Scetis, ‘Flee, brethren’ One of the old men asked him, Where could we flee to that is further away than this desert  Macarius put his finger to his lips and said, ‘Flee that.’ And off he went to his cell, shut the door and sat down.

Silence & Honey Cakes

Rowan Williams ( page 66)

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