In days of Old when Knights were bold and they couldn’t get hold of a woman, they’d turn their attentions to the Squire. Well at least according to Richard Bulliet of Columbia University in New York, but differently worded.
I have tremendous respect for Dick. His common sense approach and depth of knowledge concerning the whole region of the middle east and beyond is utterly impressive and his ability to communicate is refreshing.
His line about the relationship between the Knight and his Squire does establish a point though. If History is recorded, then we have the written record to accept or challenge it’s orthodoxy. If it isn’t then we can embellish the ‘story’ and add our own little bit to the story as it is retold. The last verse to Four and Twenty Blackbirds, where I grew up included this odd ending…
“the maid was in the garden, pegging out the clothes when down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose, She went to the doctors to get a wooden nose,she looked in the mirror and dropped down dead.”
Now I don’t want to discuss the problems of religious fundamentalism, but I do want to raise the question of who is writing the history of the Church today. Dick is able to conjecture the sexuality of the Knights of Old and is adding to the narrative. Today, using Social Media, the people are beginning to add to the Nnarrative of the history of the Church in a way that has never been available ‘ in the whole of history’. The social media sites offer a conduit for everyone to vent their angry reactions to bullying and such done ‘in the name of the Church’.
The stories of corruption and misuse of power are beginning to be hinted at and sometimes are being exposed. The light of the people is shining on the Middle East through Social Media and the Arab Spring is one of many surges of influence that is new to this planet.
The people with power are being challenged by the people with mobile phones. The government’s poor record on protecting sealife, here in the U.K. is being challenged by an online campaign called Fish Fight and similar single issue campaigns are developing, something that could never be imagined by clergy thirty years ago.
The dear old Church of England, or more precisely, it’s senior leaders, have a steep hill to climb if they truly believe that they can continue to keep a lid on ‘the scandal of double standards. ‘Homosexuality and Bisexuality amongst ‘Bishops of old’ may be safe from exposure, but the gap between what is said from the pulpit of Church House and the bedroom, the gap between what is eschewed as unloving and unchristian and the portfolio of Church Investment or the manners of prelates will become ever more exposed, albeit in under so many characters.
So we may speculate about the Knights of Old and their Squires, indeed we might know a thing or two about the Bishops of old, but today’s leaders, including those of the Churches, are being scrutinised by far more people than Richard Bulliet of Columbia University in New York. As Robet Lindsay used to say playing Citizen Wolfie Smith… Power to the People!
Maybe our technology will instil some humanity after all…..