The historic enmity between Syria and Iran is over 1000 years old, and the west gets involved at their own peril. Both islamic ideologies are difficult for the west and indeed for liberal minds to accept. Both are repressive regimes in the minds eye of liberational ideologists and free thinkers alike, however to try to impose liberation and freedom in either ideology, by the west, is fraught with danger and is also ultimately short sighted. What do we do? I don’t know.
Sat in reception and able to hear every word in one of the consulting rooms! Not very reassuring. Hope I get a room down the corridor.
I did and it went well.
Beside the darkness that overcame me and grew day by day,
Beside the fierceness of the terror that he put into my mind and into my being
beside the utter loneliness and abandonment that was mine to taste
there was always God.
As a child aged seven, I was taken from my family and put into a home that was not mine. I was told my mother was facing a serious operation that she might not come out of alive. It was in this chaos that he climbed into my bed daily and daily he threatened me and hurt me to re-enforce his will. In my mind, too young to understand, a confusion grew and when, as a man, I was faced again with terror, I became transfixed by the images that I understood too well.
Now I am fallen and faced with uncertainty and self loathing.
Yet in all of this, even then, there is Jesus, sitting with me, whispering his love for me. and you, my friends are his servants who have joined with Him and spoken love.
None of us deserve the fruits of the sacrifice He made, but all of us are adopted by Him, and, as His children, we are indeed safe.
It is time that I came clean. I have served six moths in prison of a twelve moth sentence for looking at child pornography at a high level of cruelty and as a priest I have lost my job, my purpose and destroyed the life of both my children and my wife.
I am both divorced and and a bankrupt, on the ‘sex offender’s register’ and shunned by my past colleagues and ‘friends’.
I live a pretty isolated life but I do have support from two excellent friends and from my two sisters and my nephews and nieces.
I am faced with a current problem of whether or not to prosecute the uncle who raped me daily for several weeks when I was seven years of age. My mother feels that the possibility of me making a prosecution is wrong, the police who monitor me are sympathetic and supportive, my family are divided between those who are abhorred of my sinfulness and those who want to support me. My sister, two years older than me was raped repeatedly when we were young and today I try to understand the terrible situation I feel that I am in.
I have worked tirelessly as a social worker and a probation officer and as on advisor to Sheffield Diocese as a priest supporting the work to avoid abuse of children.
I am deeply sorry for the wrong that I have done.
I want to tell you my story over time. I wan’t you to know how complex the story of child abuse can be.
I am both a child who was abused and a man who viewed abusive images.
I am also a priest who is now no longer allowed to receive communion in the Church of England.
My ‘de facto’ excommunication, is a pain the cuts deeply even moment. The church was the one place of refuge that I had as a child.
Quite recently I had an opportunity to go to a concert of classical music. I haven’t had the opportunity to do this for quite some time, but a good friend of mine wanted to go along and experience classical music (live) perhaps for the first time. As it was near my birthday he very kindly invited me to accompany him.
I have to tell you that what struck me before the concert began was how very much like most parish church congregations the audience felt like to me. What I mean, more clearly, is that there was a preponderance of grey hair wrinkly hands and spectacles. There was also indeed the usual politeness and it has to be said to some degree the usual fussing about along the “pew”.
I’m not entirely sure what this tells me about anything particularly but I did think that somewhere in this observation there might be a lesson to be learnt. If you can think what that might be then please do comment. For me, as I am getting older and qualify for the over 50′s club, I would like to think that with age comes an appreciation of quality, some greater degree of discernment, a more thoughtful more balanced approach in my judgement, to put it in one word ‘wisdom’.
And yet, banging on about the usual subject that I do, my knowledge of the acts of the old guard wherever they may sit in synod upstairs or downstairs, is that they are as frail as the young are just as prone to misjudgement and just as likely to be unfaithful and untrustworthy.
And so as I sit amongst the patrons who have come to listen to this superb music I may feel that I am amongst the sedate of society but my experience tells me otherwise. And if that is true in the concert hall, it is probably true also in the pew.
Have you suffered from a bad sermon?
made to feel guilty?
bored so much you became unconscious?
couldn’t understand a word?
experienced bad theology?
Got ‘numb bum’ syndrome?
Call Christian Lawyers for you.
Justice for all, No win, No fee
(we specialise in both Evangelical and Catholick Sermons)
When Mr Sentamu becomes Archbishop of Canterbury he intends to impose new Vestments for all Church of England Bishops. This is to emphasise and enhance the male testosterone levels required for the post of Bishop for all new candidates. Advertising Sponsorship will be decided by each diocese. He is also illustrating the look of aggression that he believes is essential for the post.
It has been announced today that any member forgetting their synod pass will suffer ” relational consequences”
I don’t know a lot about hermits, but I suspect that I have something in common with them, at least at times.
From time to time I need to withdraw from society and attempt to be more attuned to the whole world. Driving out the noise of the ‘day to day’ takes practice and it doesn’t mean, for me, being in silence. Daily chores always need doing and noise is part of that, washing, drying, cooking and cleaning, at the very least.
The hermit life that I can enter into is partly about being isolated from social interaction for a while. More importantly it is about being mindful of the wider world, and that usually that entails being open to the suffering in the world.
Being mindful of the wider world, being more attuned to things beyond my little sphere, involves remembering the past, to some degree.
I can’t be everywhere and I can’t really get a sense of the lives of others from the news. I can remember the places and people that I have seen in my life, and suffering has never been far away. I use my memories to remind myself that others are suffering, or indeed laughing, in this world, in all sorts of places.
I have been helped in this exercise by working amongst many people who have had to struggle for survival and for dignity, for equality and for justice. People who have sometimes been unsuccessful. I have been privileged to witness these things both in the UK and in Asia. I have seen laughter in the slums of Asia and tears of sorrow in the eyes of the very wealthy in Europe. To retreat into these memories is to reacquaint myself with the truth of many peoples lives lived today.
In what way I am being a ‘Christian’ in this mode is uncertain. In this mode I am isolated and The Mass doesn’t seem to belong to it. Being part of the church when I am in Hermit mode is difficult for me to be certain of. Being in Hermit mode seems to touch something different in me, something other than my usual experience of engaging with the local parish or the National church.
Being in isolation, being a hermit for a while, is both a blessing, a privilege and, initially at least, seems to be a selfish and remote activity.
In truth, I must be with God, and sometimes that means that I am with Him alone, sort of.
I am blessed with the richness of memory and I am also glad when I am ready to engage once again with society. Having spent this blessed time being attuned to the wider world then my local world seems more vibrant somehow. Being a part time Hermit makes the words that people speak around me and the smiles on the faces of the people I encounter more valuable and more loving, even frowns become more alive.
Lent is a blessed season.