Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

This is mad.

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This was an invitation to members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario to attend an inclusiveness training session in Canada back in the summer. I would like to think it was a joke but I doubt it. Have you noticed how totally lacking in humour activists of any sort are?

The acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Genderqueer, Bisexual, Demisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Twospirit, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Asexual, Allies, Pansexual and Polyamorous.

About the only thing that is clear from this is that these people are certainly into sex!

The ad makes the claim that “only 1% of members of the ETFO are open with their identities.” In addition, there is this extraordinary statement. “Some surveys suggest as much as half the public secretly identifies as LGBT …..”

That really is mad.

This is bad.

Christians should pray for Prince George to be gay, says senior Scottish reverend –  headline in the Independent newspaper.

I wasn’t surprised when I learned who the “senior Scottish reverend” was. (I’ve commented before on this particular Rev on my blogs “How to Get Your Knickers in a Twist” Jan 17th and “Shame” Jan 23rd, 2017

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The Very Revd Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, and a campaigner for LGBT rights in the Church suggested in a blog that ‘the fastest way to make the C of E more inclusive [is] to pray for Prince George to be blessed one day with the love of a fine young gentleman’.

Is this Very Reverend gentleman seriously suggesting that we should pray that a four year old boy will grow up gay in order to make churches more inclusive! Clearly our Kelvin isn’t a parent. We pray a lot for our children but mainly along the lines of keeping them fit and healthy and happy. Perhaps we’ll add an occasional request that they are also tolerant, generous and kind.

Surely there can’t be parents who pray that their children will be somewhere—anywhere—on the LGBDTTTIQQAAPP spectrum.

Churches already have a far higher proportion of the LGBT+ brigade in their ranks than the general community so if they’re not inclusive whose fault is that?

I presume that the Rt Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, must be already so deep into his pre-Christmas Retreat that he hasn’t had time, away from his prayers and meditations, to notice this. If he were aware he should be yelling from his pulpit “This will not do!” Given the way his church just voted on Same Sex Marriage I suppose he thinks it will do very well. It won’t. It’s really very bad.

This is Dangerous.

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Everything about this advert is awful. 

This is promoting something so dangerous that I thought the Archbishop of Canterbury should sack the All Saints clergy immediately, and close the building until it has been fumigated or re-sanctified, or whatever is done to a church in which heresy and blasphemy have occurred.

My concern and outrage had nothing to do with Islam. What was worrying me was the appalling lack of understanding of the most basic tenets of Christianity that a service like this reveals.

However, although All Saints was built in 1120 AD I’m not sure how much of the atmosphere of a sacred space it still retains. Here is a page from the church website.

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Start of the church website

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Reviews for All Saints, Kingston

Have you noticed how often, just as you think it couldn’t get any worse—it does. These little birthday parties, for the Prophet Mohammed and a chap called Jesus, are the creation of the Church of England Liturgical Commission.

I used to bemoan the falling congregations in the church. Now I thank God that so many more Christians are turning away from all the mad, bad and dangerous absurdities that are being spouted in once sacred spaces.

 

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“It Beggars Belief!”

That, at least, is what my builder said a month or so ago, after he’d spent a week trying to buy three square metres of Welsh slate for a hearth. He could get Brazilian or Spanish slate delivered in a week, but not Welsh slate. Not only could he not get a delivery date for Welsh slate—“depends how long it takes us to dig it up” he was told—but he couldn’t even get a price for it, beyond the information that Welsh slate would cost about twice as much.

Given that I live a mere 21 miles from Blaenau Ffestiniog I could understand his frustration.

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Blaenau Ffestiniog – The nearer ‘hills’ are actually great heaps of slate

When this photo was taken, in the 19th century, Blaenau’s proud boast was that this was the town that roofed the world. They still use slate today, but mainly to make little kitsch items for visitors’ souvenirs, which in a way sums up this century, so far. Twee and trendy coasters. Nothing like the old slates that have been providing solid floors, impervious to the mud and muck of farmer’s boots, for over 200 years.

Not that the people of Blaenau aren’t trying hard to move into the 21st Tourist century. It’s not just mountains and castles up here.  All the old world is still here but transformed into places of amusement, information and, frequently, thrills. The Ffestiniog Railway offers steam engine tours, in retro railway cars, through the Snowdonia National Park, all the way down to Porthmadog.

In the Llechwedd Slate Caverns you can now experience life in a rock quarry and visit workshops and history exhibits. If that’s not exciting enough a trip to the Deep Mine takes you down the steepest (1:1.8) passenger railway in Britain. There’s also the world’s largest underground trampoline and a zip wire.

Surf Snowdonia’s wave machine provides superb surfing waves every few minutes in what was once an Aluminium works.

And then there are zip wires on a mega scale.

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This zip wire will take you for a mile over the Penrhyn Quarry.

However, to get back to my slate hearth. Nigel is nothing if not persistent and he finally found Richard, in Blaenau, who said he could supply enough Welsh slate, cheaper than the Brazilian quote, and within a week.

‘Yfory’ is Welsh for ‘tomorrow’ — it’s a word we hear frequently. Finally, more than two weeks later, the slate arrived. It was the right slate, but the slabs were far too small. ‘It’s what people want these days,’ Richard said. ‘Not my client,’ Nigel told him.

Finally, big, thick, second hand slates were delivered and have been installed. They’re obviously from Blaenau originally; how do we know? slates from different quarries are different colours.

Apart from being persistent, Nigel is an old fashioned craftsman, highly skilled, knowledgeable, shrewd and with the true craftsman’s appreciation of other fine workmanship.

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I used to use this old range as a sort of “hostess” trolley but my grandchildren all thought of it as part of a scary witch’s kitchen

After he and Mark, his mate, had removed the old kitchen range (c. 1875 and therefore a ‘modern’ addition) he called me to inspect the result. It was clear that, in order to install their new range, the then owners of the farmhouse had had to dig down about 18 inches below the original hearth. This left walls—if you could call them walls—and floor of rubble, soil and clay, apart from one large rock which must have been too big to move.

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To give them their due the people who did this work were probably sheep farmers rather than builders doing their best at a bit of DIY.

Then Nigel drew me into the inglenook to look up the chimney. Above me, arching up 20 feet or more, was the most beautifully shaped and pointed stonework.

“Awesome,” said Nigel. “As good as anything in Caernarfon  Castle.”

This house may not be built on solid rock, there’s quite a bit of rubble and clay underneath it, but those old farmers were faithful chapel goers. At least they knew not to build their home on sand.

As for the slate quarries—I’m glad they are making a new life out of the old, but surely, if there is still a need for slate, and there must be if it is worth importing it more than 5,000 miles across the ocean, why on earth can’t they still do what they used to be best at?

 

 

Hypocrisy and Humbug

When I took a break from blogging in the summer, I hoped, over the holidays, to be able to update my blog page. I wanted to add all sorts of whistles and bells and links and side bars and . . . . Well, as you know (“May You Live in Interesting Times” —blog Oct 2nd)  things didn’t work out quite like that. I haven’t even been producing my more pedestrian blog very often, either, but please don’t think I have succumbed to the sin of sloth. It’s just that life has become different and, at times, rather more complex, with some very odd problems.

Apart from visually brightening up my blog I had also intended to widen its scope and broaden its horizon. since I was thoroughly fed up with the mediocre shower making up so much of the Moronarchy which is the Church in Wales.

Now, a whole avalanche of news has proved a spur. Much of it makes me think surely this can’t be true? I don’t know how much is ‘fake’ news, but I do believe quite a lot is sensationalised into ‘news’ by the media, especially if it involves Sex, or the C of E, or both—which it so often does.

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Danny La Rue

Archbishop Welby says boys should be allowed to wear tiaras to help stop bullying. (No, sorry. I must have misread that! Since when was cross dressing news worthy!)

In Shakespeare’s day all the girls parts were played by boys. One of the best Lady Macbeth’s I ever saw was a strapping six-foot lad who made no effort to feminise himself. No high voice. No mincing walk. No pretty gestures. He was just so completely in the part that he was totally convincing. I don’t know what has happened to him but I doubt he’s on hormones to give him boobs.

 

 

I was fortunate enough to go to an all girls’ school so when we did Shakespeare we got to play all the male parts. My best friend Judy was a particularly convincing Shylock although I don’t remember any mention of sex or gender.

 

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Glenda Jackson as Lear

Another subject I’ve found jaw-dropping concerns Church maintained schools. Why do they still exist? What on earth is the point of them? One in Birmingham has 80% Muslim children—surely that makes it more of a Madrassa—so why is the C of E maintaining it? They are, of course, exceptionally good schools, which is why so many parents lie and cheat to get their children into them. Presumably Muslim parents and children are deemed ‘Christian’ enough to qualify because they acknowledge Jesus as a prophet. What seems to me ironic and pathetic is that those parents who attend a church in order to “prove” their children are suitable for admission to a C of E school are rarely converted to Christianity by their church-going experiences! I suspect that once they get their child safely “in” no church will hear of them again. But, if a Christian Group is found to be teaching shocking subjects like sin and forgiveness, then the bullying starts, the headmaster sacks the Christian group and the Bishop nods her/his mitre in agreement.

There is always something going on in the Church in Wales to depress one’s spirits still further. It’s gone quiet in the church down south in Llandaff and St David’s but there are things going on up here in St Asaph that reveal how deeply unpleasant “church” people—both clerical and lay—can be. The sheer nastiness occurring in some of the Mission Areas beggars belief. They display all the most notable aspects of the Pharisees. Perhaps that’s why the Bishop of St Asaph has been finding forums away from home.

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Members of the Anglican Oriental–Orthodox International Commission with local Fathers and the Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland in St Maximus and St Domatius Coptic Church in Drumcondra.

The man in red is the Rt Revd Bishop Gregory. The other men include representatives from the following churches: the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church,  the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

+Gregory was Chairman of this Commission which met in Dublin last month. It has been struggling for years to reach agreement on some obscure bit of deep theology. What puzzles me is what is Gregory doing there. The other men all belong to churches which do not admit women as priests. Yet the St Asaph bishop has spent the last few years supporting women bishops, homosexuals, priests in civil partnerships, “proud to be gay” films, innumerable lectures and meetings with speakers like Jayne Osanne and “open tables” dedicated to LGBT+ activities and people. Talk about hypocrisy and humbug!  At least, I hope he left his LGBTQUIA+ chaplain at home.

This month, further demonstrating the breadth of his ecumenism, +Gregory attended a service in the Roman Catholic cathedral in Cardiff to commemorate Luther and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Here he was observed turning to face the altar so that he could take a Selfie with the congregation.

Most of the people I meet now on an almost daily basis—medics and paramedics—display the Christian virtues of sympathy, tolerance, generosity and a quite amazing compassion. They laugh at me when I comment on this. “You couldn’t do this job if you didn’t care about people,” they say.

That attitude contrasts starkly with many of the clergy in the Anglican Church, all the way up to the Bishops, who seem perfectly happy to collect their stipends, wear the robes and strut the strut, without giving a second thought to all those of us who still believe in the Bible. We are totally ignored, if we’re lucky; labelled and excoriated if we speak out.

 

 

 

 

But Who are the Bullies?

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This is Milly-Molly-Mandy. Don’t be misled. She’d be a terrible bully if I let her get away with it.

Male maths teachers are like gold dust; an increasingly rare breed; practically an endangered species. Lose them at your peril.
Mathematicians know—and teach—right from wrong. No way can you plump for “good disagreement” with a maths equation.
So what on earth did this particular teacher do that required immediate suspension?
He noticed two pupils working particularly well in his class.
He wanted to encourage such endeavour.
He said, “Well done, girls.”

Are you following me so far?

It looks like a good day in a well organised school with a highly trained teacher, a graduate of Exeter University, imparting solid knowledge to his pupils. But this is Britain in 2017; a State school in Oxfordshire to be precise.
Unfortunately, one of the girls thinks she is a boy.
Even more unfortunately, the teacher, Joshua Sutcliffe, is not just teaching a subject where fudging the truth won’t do. He is also a Christian—he respects Truth. Normally, he gets round the problem of saying ‘he’ and ‘him’ about a ‘she’ and ‘her’ by using the child’s name but that isn’t approved of. On this occasion, no doubt in a relaxed and friendly manner, he made the remark that may well cost him his job.
The family of the girl who thinks she is a boy complained and Mr Sutcliffe has been suspended. Is this an example of bullying? Absolutely. But it is the mathematically trained teacher of truth and exactness and rigorous attention who is the bullied one.
The child’s parents, the headmaster and the people who advocate these policies, against truth and reason, are the true bullies.

 

Two Weasel Words — Clarification and Obfuscation

 

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This is Milly. Full name Milly Molly Mandy – a long name for a long dog. She is a sausage dog but she is NOT for slicing.

Since the beginning of July, when my one and only husband almost popped his clogs, my life has changed drastically, and by no means for the worse. In some ways it’s been definitely for the better. I no longer listen to the Today programme, for example.

Therefore, I didn’t hear the Reverend Richard Frith, Bishop of Hereford, explaining that his Diocesan Synod had been merely seeking clarification, with their motion regarding same sex marriage blessings.

Here is that motion in full.

“That this Synod request the House of Bishops to commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage for use by ministers in exercise of their discretion under Canon B4, being a form of service neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter, together with guidance that no parish should be obliged to host, nor minister conduct, such a service.”

Following the Equal Marriage Act of 2013 the Church of England issued the following statement in February 2014. I suppose it took them a long time because the words had to be very carefully chosen.

“The 2005 pastoral statement said that it would not be right to produce an authorized public liturgy in connection with the registering of civil partnerships and that clergy should not provide services of blessing for those who registered civil partnerships……….The College made clear on 27 January that, just as the Church of England’s doctrine of marriage remains the same, so its pastoral and liturgical practice also remains unchanged.” (My emphasis.)

I read that and was immediately transported back twenty or thirty years. In those days I frequently found myself asking one or other of my children, “Exactly what part of the word NO do you not understand?”

But this is the Church of England and Sex that we’re talking about so, of course, there are weasel words. This is the sentence missing from the pastoral statement above:

“The House did not wish, however, to interfere with the clergy’s pastoral discretion about when more informal kind of prayer, at the request of the couple, might be appropriate in the light of the circumstances.”

Is it the word ‘informal’ that’s causing the bishop’s confusion?

Informal: not according to the prescribed, official or customary manner; irregular; casual; relaxed; easy going. The Church of England and the Church in Wales are certainly irregular these days, but not very relaxed or easy going if you can’t follow them down their road.

It’s interesting that +Richard is seeking “clarification” because he’s quite good at obfuscation himself. I suspect, from the clever wording about his marital status that there might be a divorce in there somewhere. I thought, when I first read about the synod motion that this was yet another attempt to push the boundaries, then I read Psephizo’s blog of October 24th about salami slicing and growing a beard. Brilliant confirmation! And it’s happening everywhere you look.

Can Hereford change the Church on sexuality?

Time to Cop In!

 

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Keep a watch on his interviews as well, please

If I were Caroline Welby I would ban my husband from doing any more interviews. In the past, when he was interviewed by Christians, he came across well. Thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent and in control. Not any more. Recently he has seemed out of his depth, buffeted by the questions to which he seems not to know the answers.

This quote comes from his interview with Alastair Campbell for GQ magazine. Why on earth did he agree to the interview in the first place, given that he’s nothing like as slippery and slithery as his questioner? He’s not good at spotting booby traps either.

Asked, of course, about sex and gay marriage he agreed that the two sides of the argument are “irreconcilable” and confessed, “I haven’t got a good answer, and I am not doing that bit of work as well as I would like.” Too right he’s not. He even went so far as to admit to GQ, “I am copping out because I am struggling with the issue.”

He’s not the only one. There are hundreds, even hundreds of thousands of us, struggling with that issue. I feel particularly sorry for heterosexual married men and women trying to bring up boys and girls. They know instinctively that they are doing the right thing. They get plenty of support from statistics and scientific studies but precious little from the clergy. It should be crystal clear that children do best when brought up in a stable family with a female mother and a male father.

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Yet the same sex marriage lobby is now so strong that even those bastions of British values like the National Trust and John Lewis are jumping on the LGBTQUI+ band wagon. Actually I think the news about the JLP stores removing their ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signs so as not to offend transgender children must be fake. Surely no shop hoping to make a profit would set out to help the odd 1,000 at the risk of losing a million.

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But it was certainly true that the National Trust at Felbrigg Hall insisted their volunteers had to wear Gay Pride badges or lurk in the background out of sight of the visitors. They were doing it to show ‘inclusivity’ they said. I was sitting beside my husband’s bed in hospital when I read that so you can understand my snort of derision. If you want to see inclusivity at work go to a hospital.

Now the Prime Minister is having a go at those of us who hold the simple belief that “marriage” is between a man and a woman. This is a common sense belief which has served human kind well throughout all the generations. It does not make us homophobic. As for compassion, which Mrs May seemed, in her conference speech, to equate with support for same sex marriage—I have enormous compassion for children growing up with any number of mothers and fathers of both sexes and none.

Is this sort of thing really too complicated for Justin Welby to come to terms with?

 

 

“May you live in interesting times.”

 

I first heard the Chinese greeting ‘May you live in interesting times,’ many years ago but it wasn’t till I read a lecture by Rabbi Lord Sachs recently that I learned it is actually a curse.
When I signed off from this blog for the summer at the beginning of July I was expecting things to jog along through July and August pretty much as usual. They didn’t. I have certainly lived through some very “interesting times” over the last three months – nerve wracking, exhausting, frightening – but, thank God, I haven’t had the feeling that I’d actually been cursed. I am both sadder and wiser than I was; wiser because of the things that happened to me and my family and sadder because of the bizarre things that continue to happen in the world.

 
Briefly, my one and only husband went into hospital for minor surgery and ended up spending seven weeks there, including two bouts in Intensive Care, and has come out needing dialysis. A few weeks into this trauma son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters came home and announced that next year they were planning to live with us full time. (Clearly they no longer trust us to live on our own.) So builders have moved in to turn an old people’s house into a multi generation home.

 

The builders will be with us until November and at the moment the only rooms habitable are the kitchen, the sitting room and our bedroom. Sometimes we have no water and sometimes we have no electricity but Nigel and Mark have been well trained. When they make tea for themselves they also make tea for whoever else is around at the time. Oh, yes, and, during one of the Intensive Care episodes, I took delivery of an eight week old puppy, encouraged and cheered on by my husband’s nurses. Nigel and Mark are also good at puppy-sitting and mopping up after her.
For much of my time, during those long weeks, I sat beside the bed, lost in admiration for the skill, devotion and dedication of the staff from consultants to porters. Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals in England has just announced that the NHS is no longer fit for purpose. Whoever that statement applies to it’s not Welsh health care staff.

Here’s one of the things that has made me sad.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury faced with a difficult question during a radio interview

Have  you ever seen anyone more dejected and despairing. The funny thing is, I don’t think I ever felt that hopeless and helpless even when I was sitting in ITU with my husband drifting between life and death.

Perhaps there was a good reason for that. I was surrounded by people who were dedicated to their jobs, devoted to their patients and prepared to work long, unsocial hours (including Sundays). I bet Justin Welby wishes he could rely on such loyal, single minded support.

And what had caused the Archbishop’s angst and misery? A question in his LBC radio interview about a 6 year old boy in a dress!

For a start shouldn’t he have expected that question or something similar? Shouldn’t he have prepared a sound theological answer? After all, he is still the titular head of the whole Anglican Communion.

He says he doesn’t have a problem with a boy wearing a dress. Of course not. A little 6 year old can wear anything he likes; batman, superman, fairy twinkle toes.

Unfortunately, he didn’t make it clear that the boy in the dress isn’t the problem. The problem is transgenderism, which has taken off as the latest weapon of the “let’s smash the family” brigade.

A class of five and six years olds shouldn’t be made uncomfortable, puzzled and concerned by the selfish actions of a befuddled child, his parents and his teachers.

My sympathy is with all those parents who chose to send their children to a Church of England school in the hopes they would be taught the basic tenets of the Anglican faith. They have been let down, not least by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

 

More God, Less Mess

I haven’t got a broken arm this time but even so there will now be an Intermission—until mid-September.

Why? Well, let’s face it, events in recent weeks have been pretty dire. When Psalm 88 seems appropriate day after day, it’s not just impossible to find adequate words, but it’s definitely time to step back and take stock.

This time last week, I was girding my loins, stiffening my upper lip, hunting out my bow of burning gold, but mainly concentrating on listening for the “still small voice” of God. I knew it must be here somewhere if only I could silence the horrifying or ludicrous cacophony of the media.

Last Monday I wanted to blog, briefly, about two things and I reckoned I just had time to write a rough draft before I drove my ‘one and only husband so far’ to hospital for an operation.

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The first thing on the list was an ordinand who was spending time sharing the Ramadam Fast with local Muslims, just a couple of weeks before her Ordination. Supporting close community relations is praise worthy in its place but surely preparing for Ordination should take precedence over everything else. Swatting up on the 39 Articles, for example, reading the Bible, and simply spending as much time as possible in prayer and meditation all seem more appropriate. More recently I saw a picture of that same ordinand in a pre-ordination photo with her Bishop. Why didn’t it surprise me that she was wearing a black t shirt emblazoned with the words “Refugees Welcome”.

My second worry was this thing on the Synod agenda about re-baptising transgendered people. What sort of God does Chris Newlands worship, I wonder? Is his god such a little chap that he has to be reminded that Bob is now Esmeralda and needs re-christening otherwise she won’t feel as though she belongs?

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Baptism in the Jordan

If he/she has been brought up in the Anglican Church, and properly instructed in the tenets of that religion, both Bob and Esmarelda should know that God is aware of exactly who and what they are. Try reading Isaiah 55 vv8&9 for a start. “For my  thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Surely we should aspire to God’s thoughts and ways, however inadequately, rather than let Synod drag us down the secular, ungodly pathway.

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14th century purbeck marble font in which I was baptised.

If transgendered people want a big party to celebrate their new “Me” that’s fine. But it needs to be a secular occasion because God has been with them every step of their journey, even if they aren’t aware of it. God is Faithfulness. He was there at their sacrament of Baptism and, whatever they’ve been up to since then, He has been right alongside them. A transgender man or woman might well feel that he or she doesn’t belong in the church without another baptism. However, the last thing the church needs is yet another sex vote in Synod. What is essential is that the doubtful, unsure, ill-informed sit down with a sound theologian to be taught the Truth.

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My son was christened in a college chapel without a font so the Chaplain used a punchbowl instead.

Perhaps they should just go away and read the service of baptism. Unlike the Bishop of Truro’s advert for a ‘Strategic Planning Manager – Transforming Mission’* it is written in simple English prose, so should be an absolute doddle to understand. Words like “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

However, to get back to last Monday. Instead of driving 30 minutes west to one hospital I had to drive 30 minutes east to the A & E department of another, after the ‘one and only’ had had a dizzy spell and fallen of a high stool. He’s fine, thank you, and the treatment we received was superb though he’s still waiting for an op.. Also, in the hospital, among sick, anxious, injured people, waiting quietly for the ministrations of a highly professional, caring, devoted, cheerfully smiling staff, it was suddenly not nearly so difficult to hear ‘the still small voice.’

Have a relaxing, refreshing summer!

*See last week’s blog “Truth is Funnier than Fiction”

 

 

 

Truth is funnier than fiction

The Right Reverend Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro, with a seat in the Lords, is about to become the Bishop of Lambeth, to help Archbishop Justin Welby.
Help the Archbishop do what, I wonder. I wouldn’t want to describe Bishop Tim as yet another nail in the coffin of the Church of England, but I have to say he has some definitely dodgy ideas.

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Truro Cathedral now

The Bishop and his Diocese need a “Strategic Programme Manager—Transforming Mission.”
I’m not well up in modern Management Speak so I’m not sure exactly what the job is, but it carries a salary of £40,000 for a 35 hour week so it must be a position of influence and power. I have read the job description but it isn’t much help. Perhaps a reader, wiser in the ways of the world, could explain it to me.

 
“The Strategic Programme Manager will be responsible for leading and managing the Transforming Mission programme from initial set up through to successful delivery. This role requires an individual with exceptional project management skills including the ability to successfully manage stakeholders; implement change and balance multiple projects simultaneously.
“The scope of the role incorporates ……. the project management of key programme elements including the establishment of the Student Hub (café) and redevelopment of the Resource Church.”
I suppose that’s more or less what St Paul did, though on a rather grander scale. Would the Resource Church be the equivalent of the Church in Corinth, I wonder.

 
I looked up the word Mission to see if it still means what I thought it meant.
1) a group or committee of persons sent to a foreign country to conduct negotiations, establish relations, provide scientific and technical assistance, or the like.
Anywhere outside a church is foreign country these days so they won’t have far to travel.
2) an important goal of purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation.
Now, this is where it gets dodgy. The Bishop of Truro says his Missioner does not need to be a practising Christian. That’s right. He or she can be anything they like; any old faith or none. I could just about cope if the Bishop would be happy to accept a non-Anglican; a Presbyterian, say or a Baptist, a Brethren or a Jehovah’s Witness. But a non-Christian! This is a man who speaks on behalf of Christians in general and Anglicans in particular, in the House of Lords.

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Queue of prospective Strategic Programme Managers

Not surprisingly, the Truro website is full of secular phrases that I assume are supposed to appeal to “millennials” and “snowflakes” and make them feel comfortable. Words like “principle of equality” and “safer recruitment principles.”

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A church in Corinth or Truro Cathedral 2050 AD

Personally, when I want to do a bit of missioning, I let Jesus speak for Himself.
I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.