The photograph above is of a tub of nicotiana, also called tobacco plant. It is certainly not one of the most beautiful flowers but it is certainly one of those with the most heavenly scent. That’s why I grow it. Early in the spring I bought a packet of seeds clearly labelled “heavy, sweet scent”. Unfortunately, after planting out the seedlings, various forms of wildlife destroyed the lot, so I was forced to buy plants. The label said “strong scent”. Well, the label was wrong! There is absolutely no scent whatever. Definitely not what it says on the tin. Which seems to be a sadly apt description of the Church in Wales at the moment. Just a rather dull plant that’s lost its reason for growing.
The trouble with the CinW is that it is still trying to persuade us that modern concepts of binary genders and SSM are what the Bible means us to support, if only we read the words aright. Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, is even more outspoken. For one thing he is quite sure that it is only a matter of time before gay marriage and transgender unions will be the norm, on the grounds that Jesus himself challenged many norms of His time.
I’ve only just caught up with this and other views, because they were published, following a Queer Theology Conference (I kid you not), in the Cayman News, which is not something I normally read. The Rt Revd Bishop thinks these views are “daring and rebellious.” What a joke! Doesn’t he know he is merely parroting secular political opinion. There’s nothing remotely daring or rebellious about it; it is frankly old hat. If he were to preach about marriage being between one man and one woman, for life, that would be daring.
Fortunately, there was much today, in Morning Prayer, to cheer me up. From the Canticle, Isaiah 55, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” Thank God for that.
Earlier this month a man called Richard Huckle was given 22 life sentences for unspeakable crimes against children. He claimed to be a Christian and several commentators queried how Christians should cope with this. Thankfully, since I’m not a psychiatrist or the prison governor I don’t have to “cope”, beyond praying for his family and his victims. Today’s Old Testament reading was from Judges 15, and seemed to me to tell a pretty unedifying story about Samson, yet Samson ended up as one of God’s favoured ones. I’m not suggesting that Samson was anything like Huckle, but God can work with some pretty unsavoury characters. In prison, with a chapel on site and a chaplain on hand Huckle has every opportunity to repent and be saved.
Thinking about repentance, I was reminded of Myra Hindley. If you can remember that far back, she and Lord Longford claimed she had become a Christian, repented of her crimes, and should therefore be released from prison. That seemed to me rather odd, because at the same time Ian Brady was quoted as saying that his crimes were so heinous he should never be freed. Surely if Myra Hindley had truly repented she would have wanted to stay in prison, close to a chapel where she could have spent her time in prayer and contemplation, perhaps drawing others to God by her example.
Or is that one of the weird ideas that makes me such a Misfit?