Those who are of Riper Years….. and LGBT’s


El-Greco

St James the Lesser (after El Greco) MrC

I’m sorry but I can’t find my copy of the old book of Common Prayer, but I remember bits pretty well and it is still canonical.

In it I recall a wedding service variation for ‘those who are of riper years’.  [No I don't... See Richard's comment below(many thanks)]  This was a service for older people getting married who wouldn’t expect to have children born within the marriage. I’m quite fed up with hearing the rhetoric of those who bang on about Marriage being about procreation. It is not, where that is not possible.

Therefore the Anglican Communion has long ago recognised the marriage of one person to another where children are not going to be an outcome of their comfort towards one another.

Waiting to die or to be raised? From Good Friday to Easter to Good Friday.


Waiting to die or to be raised?

"The Good Samaritan"

“The Good Samaritan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Living in isolation, more or less, is particularly hard if memories of a previous time of abundant social contact, and happy contact often, become a constant reminder of the contrast in what was and what is.  The attempt to take an interest in other things, study, creative activity (painting, writing, reading) is difficult without any ‘end product’ being discernable.

I am made acutely aware of the situation that so many people endure in societies globally and in particular here in England, and I am especially mindful of the isolation that older people experience.    This ‘loneliness’ is perhaps harder to bear if one is living on a low income and more so if one is suffering from chronic depression.  I think it is reasonable to suggest that such isolation may contribute to increased depression if not become the actual cause of depression for many.

The desire for social interaction (and maybe the simple reason that I am writing this) is strong, but one can easily become ambivalent about the prospect of social contact.  Whether there is any real opportunity for being with others is another thing.  The needs of the socially isolated are complex and become more involved as time goes on.  The desire to be with others is opposed by the fear of being unable to successfully interact with others.  One feels out of practice, and even unworthy, though this may be more to do with my own particular case.

The failure to develop regular and meaningful relationships leaves the isolated person without the normal support that we might take for granted.  Simple activities, paying bills, dealing with authorities and even what to eat, are never shared; the only advice one has is ones own.  Easter is indeed a time for rejoicing and the resurrection from death of Jesus is a great fact that fills us with gladness and thanksgiving.   For the isolated person, though, it may also sharpen the contrast of how sparse ones existence truly is.

The Church is a vehicle for hope and it has been given a wonderful task, to declare The Resurrection of Jesus Christ anew to every generation.  One issue that today’s Church of England, and others in the Anglican Community share, is the proclamation of that Resurrection to today’s world and today’s people.

The Samaritan, the leper and the prostitute were welcomed and blessed by Jesus.  Today, we have the task of declaring welcome, on equal terms, to women, to all sexual orientations and to those whom society vilifies perpetually.

How will the Church declare the Gospel?  To whom will it speak?  Will it be able to do God’s work? Will it speak to everyone?  If it does then how will it enact that Gospel?  How will it welcome the isolated?  Will it be generous and give the isolated bread, or will it keep it tightly locked up in the tabernacle, in its exclusive rites and laws, in its fear of popular villification?  Do we hear the cock crow thrice still?

MrC

Hypocrisy in the House of Bishops


Firstly there is the ‘supposedly’ single bishop, who speaks out against ordaining gay people. Yet he himself is gay and is active on the gay internet scene, meeting men online to have affairs and ‘liaisons’ with.  He has hardly ever had a long term relationship, but has had numerous one night stands. As a parish priest he would not have countenanced marrying a couple who lived together before getting married and as a bishop speaks about the ideal of being celibate if not married.  Apparently he does not see his own behaviour as promiscuity because it is with men and not women.  He is known to sometimes resort to a little persuasion (some might say blackmail) if someone threatens to expose him and his behaviour. He is powerful and influential…
Then, there is the retired married bisexual bishop.  During his time as a suffragan and a diocesan bishop (and no doubt throughout his ministry) he had affairs with men… some of whom, his wife knew about.  Other senior clergy rallied round to protect him and colluded with his behaviour, including the ‘paying off’ of difficult ex boyfriends – no doubt from diocesan funds!   This bishop however, told his clergy they were not to ask him about blessing civil partnerships or gay relationships… and he let it be known through his chaplain that he would be most unhappy if any clergy raised the matter with him.  Come the clergy conference and other semi public events though he had no such hesitation about being ‘drapped’ across male clergy…
Finally, there is the bishop who promises the earth to PCCs, clergy and laity in his diocese alike. When it appears that he can’t deliver on these promises he blames others – the archdeacons, the diocesan staff, even his own family.  He claims expenses in a way that some may find suspicious and uses his bishop’s discretion fund with no sense of a transparent criteria.  He likes the finer things in life and is known to make extravagant demands as he travels the diocese. He preaches about honesty and holiness, being humble and self sacrificing…
Are these characters real you ask. Surely not, or there would be some evidence. People would speak out against this sort of behaviour.  Well, consider the bullying that goes on, the confidentiality clauses (gagging clauses) that are written into compromise agreements with staff, the old boys network of the House of Bishops, the threats, the intimidation, the manipulation… Are you so sure now, that these characters don’t really exist?

The Church needs to Change


god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

If the church is to survive as a purposeful and positive factor in people’s lives then it is going to have to change radically.  The superstition and sectarianism that it has depended upon for generations must come to an end if it is to offer modern society a Gospel that is relevant and believable in a new age.  Essential truths about the nature of God must be decided upon with a new approach and old interpretations that are harmful, and in many scholarly places discredited, must be rooted out.

It is true that the church has moved away from much that it once taught and it no longer gives credibility to blatant discrimination of Government and economic policies; slavery, serfdom, fear and arrogance have been rejected at last.  Though not in every case, not for everyone.  We still promote traditions that are anti-gay and the church remains an establishment that holds secrets and shuns openness and truthfulness in its dealings with finance and morality.  It is flawed and often behaves in a way that Christ would condemn.

More fundamentally the attempt to include within itself a range of extreme values that are mutually opposed has resulted in a deeply divided house,  It needs to define what it holds as true and make those values known.  The church needs to be freed from the ill-conceived idea of unity and position itself clearly with the values that Christ taught.  It is time to reject the individualistic theories and interpretations that  those who are at its extreme ends hold as ‘essential to salvation’.

The church needs to be honest and admit when it is unsure, be humble and admit that it has, and continues to get things wrong.  The Church needs to confess its sinfulness and seek forgiveness, for example; when it is harsh and when it obscures the nature of God   from the eyes and ears of the people it is called to serve, when it presents instead a vision of God that lacks compassion and accessibility.

To hold on to a God, indeed a Gospel that is excluding of many and irrelevant to most is foolish and cannot be sustained, nor should it be.  To believe that access to God is reserved to itself alone is against the word of God and extremists who promote such a view are heretical and wrong.

Holding on to privilege and establishment is contrary to the way that Christ taught us and rejecting that which it believes is embarrassing or it believes is damaging to its own survival is to also reject the God who scandalised His own people by hanging on a cross, rejected and despised.

Maybe it is time for all Christians to review what the Gospel tells us about the nature of God in our world.  Perhaps it is a time for all denominations to be humbled by the story of Christ and revisit their thinking and divest themselves of fondly held beliefs that are unhelpful and contradictory.

Re thinking the Gospel is not a novel idea, it has always been part of what we are as Church and history testifies to this, as do the writings of the New Testament themselves.  Change can be threatening but seeking a true understanding of the nature of God may demand change from each and every one of us.

I am tired of hearing the pomposity of fundamentalists in the church and the certitude of so many clerics, especially the most senior of our church.  There are those who twitter without thinking and I guess they live their lives in much the same way, but feel themselves right and justified by habitually adopting narrow thinking and by holding onto personal creeds that are far from what Christ taught us.

Somewhere in the Church of England there has to be a renaissance.  It is time for change and an abandonment of the shackles of tradition.  It is time for good people to  speak out and be heard, it is time to be open to new thinking and looking at Christ with new eyes.  It is time to cast off the bonds of slavery to the past and look seriously at what is relevant to God’s relationship with His people.

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Moving on……


Moving Day (film)

Moving Day (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Faithful followers of this blog know that MrC has poked fun at a lot of people and occasionally pointed out some really bad behaviour by others.  I am not without sin either and it is not a perfect blog by any means.

Still, defending those who are oppressed by others, exposing bullying by senior clerics, these are things we are all required to do, sinners or not, and each and everyone of us will, if we submit to to following Christ and walking the way of the Cross, offering ourselves for the betterment of others, we will all be redeemed, even Bishops and Archbishops.

We are all equal, we are all created by God and we will all be judged by Him.  How far we come to know Him here on earth and live according to His will, as best we can; indeed how far we are able to forgive, may be the deciding factor in how far we are able to live with Him in heaven.

MrC

 

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Kerron has a huge cross to bear, Mr sentamu!


Mr Catolick’s blog has made  Kerron Cross (Mr Sentamu’s Publicity spin doctor) to find out a bit about him go here.

I am surprised that a one time socialist should be offended by MrC’s jesting and support for women and LGBT folk.  He clearly doesn’t attend General Synod nor is he aware of the shenanigans that has gone on at CNC meetings and Mr Sentamu’s widely reported vote rigging in the urinals of Lambeth Palace, but I’m sure he is an otherwise good guy.  He also was a supporter of Gordon Brown.  Hmmmmm

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Do you live here too?


 

Wagon with poster "We're a GAY and HAPPY ...

Image via Wikipedia

I do wonder about clergy and the gay issue.  I was discussing the sexual orientation of a cool cat with a priest the other day and said that I have no problem one way or the other.  Setting aside the glaringly obvious curiosity about why I was having such a conversation in the first place, I am puzzled by the priest’s reaction.

If I’m truthful, I was hoping that the priest would join in with me and say that he did not have a problem either.  He said nothing.  He was quite silent and quite still.  He too is a cool cat, but I didn’t hear one hint of a purr.  The subject changed and the morning carried on.

It is odd and maybe relevant to me in a particular way because of my age and the culture I grew up in, but I do feel the need to say that I’m okay with people being gay.  It is perhaps more of a comment on me really.  I mean why do we have to make any kind of issue of it in the first place, surely it is quite silly, and maybe rude, to make something of it.  After all I don’t go around saying, I’m okay with heterosexuality.

Then I remember Jeffrey John, the gay priest: who Rowan and Mr Sentimoo are so eager to prevent being a Bishop because he is gay and that would divide the Anglican Communion, and this has happened elsewhere so they are trying to impose a set of rules to prevent it happening elsewhere without relational consequences: and I come to my senses.

I know it has all been said before, but every now and then I get a kick up the backside and remember how truly reactionary some parts of the Church are, and how interpretation of scripture, and tradition whilst were at it, can exclude and twist the human soul.  But on this occasion, the priest and I got on, as I said, with the day.

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