If this is what Sisters are like I’m glad I haven’t got one.

The church I had belonged to and whose rules and commands I had tried to live by, has changed its corporate mind. Forget “mutual flourishing”. Those two weasel words have done immense harm. Mutual flourishing doesn’t happen. You either ‘like it’ — the secular, liberal, anything goes way, especially if it has anything to do with sex —or you lump it. Jayne Ozanne, says people like me have been reading the Bible all wrong all these years. Now she has a Foundation to give that same message to the rest of the world.

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L. Jayne Ozanne, gay activist and biblical re-interpreter. R. Justine Greening MP. Ex Minister for Education and transgender activist.

Over the last several weeks I have discovered something else, as fundamental to my existence as my church which has changed so drastically that I am feeling as badly shook as ever I did when I discovered that marriage is no longer only between a man and a woman. This time I seem not to be a woman.

I don’t think I have ever actually defined myself as a ‘woman’. I’ve been called various things—Mrs Mason’s little girl; John’s girl friend; the paper boy’s Mum. But that didn’t define me. I certainly didn’t think of myself first and foremost as a woman. I don’t think we defined ourselves as anything in particular, back then. We were just who we were. Even when Germaine Greer was encouraging Cambridge gals to burn their bras on Parkers Piece most of us put personal comfort above solidarity.

#MeToo and the Sisterhood have been filling the headlines but, for all their torrent of words, I don’t know exactly what constitutes sexual harassment.

During the Harvey Weinstein disclosures one woman, who claimed he’d raped her, had also had a sexual relationship with him off and on for ten years. Then there was the woman in Britain, who claimed she’d been raped, by a man that she’d been badgering for casual sex with innumerable text messages. Which makes me wonder about the definition of rape. Sexual harassment seems to involve anything from a comment about your clothes, a hand on your knee or a hand in your knickers. Forty years ago I would have ignored the first, laughed at the second and known exactly how to deal with the last.

Perhaps I have been viewing the whole world as simplistically as, in Jayne Ozanne’s opinion, I have been reading the Bible. I will admit I was never offended by builders’ bums and I enjoyed wolf whistles.

The celebrations to mark 100 years of Women’s Suffrage — which it strictly wasn’t—I found frankly bizarre. The BBC, along with almost every women’s magazine and most newspapers, behaved as if they had just invented women. Until this year women, in the eyes of the women who know best, had been under valued, totally unremarkable, full of misery, angst and frustration; victims, one and all, of man’s inhumanity to women.

What a load of codswallop. If that view of the ‘Sisterhood’ were true the human race would have died out thousands of years ago.

In truth, what these modern women are doing is killing off the genuine camaraderie, fellowship and jollity that has always existed between women. It depended on shared experiences, chores, ideas, child raising and man-management. It involved compassion, independence, collaboration, resourcefulness and enormous amounts of fun and laughter.

I can remember walking home from school with a group of friends and their mothers. To my intense embarrassment, at one point, my mother collapsed on the ground with the bike she’d been pushing on top of her. No, she wasn’t drunk; nor were the other Mums. They were just helpless with laughter.

Don’t see much of that with the modern ‘for your own good’ activists, do you? Moaning minnies, most of them.

I certainly wouldn’t want to belong to any gang, of which Ms Justine Greening is an example. Thank God she’s no longer Minister of Education. I wouldn’t trust someone so insensitive and illogical to take charge of anything involving people, especially impressionable young people.

Among the things she wanted to do was to allow men to claim they were women just by thinking themselves women. What sort of encouragement is that for women athletes for example? Don’t believe that can happen? It’s happening in America. What’s more, in an American High School, when a top girl sprinter got beaten into second place by a boy who said he was a girl, the beaten girl just shrugged and said “That’s the way it is.” Doesn’t seem to me fifty years of women’s lib has done much for real women.

For sheer insensitivity how about this. Ms Greening can see no reason why a man who thinks he is a woman shouldn’t work in a Women’s Refuge. A Women’s Refuge is a place where you go to escape extreme physical violence and abject terror in your home. Imagine arriving at what you trust will be a place of safety and peace to be welcomed by a hulking male assuring you he’s really a woman.

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NOT members of the Sisterhood. Too busy doing their own jobs.

Sadly it’s not just political women who say daft things. Women bishops are as bad. The latest nonsense from an episcopal pulpit comes from Bishop June of Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff.

“But isn’t it inspiring that social history is changing in front of us? If you think back to Florence Nightingale, she would probably have been a bishop had she been allowed.”

Come to think of it perhaps that’s not so bizarre. One bishop tipped to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury is an ex-top Nurse, now Bishop of London. Given Florence Nightingale’s decidedly unorthodox views on Anglicanism, these days she’d probably be a prime candidate. Except that I think she would have aimed much higher — Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, more like.

 

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Weasel Words and Nonsense

Once upon a time, long ago when I was young, Bishops were wise men of learning and Vicars and Rectors knew a fair bit of Theology. Even when they weren’t quite so clever nor so well educated they still had an abundance of common sense. If you went to them with a problem they could talk it through with you to a sensible solution.

Obviously times change, standards change, ideas change, but is it only my age that makes me think bishops these days have gone bonkers?

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“Celtic” bishops vainly hoping for Unity with the Vatican

Certainly, when I saw the above photo it seemed to me that the Welsh bishops—all six of them—had, collectively, lost their marbles. They had all toddled off to Rome with the excuse that they were there to aid Christian Unity. This jolly was despite the fact they all support—fairly agressively—women priests, women bishops, and same sex marriage. They must be stupidly naive if they thought there was any chance that Rome would adopt their views just like that.

Perhaps they got the idea from +Gregory, the bishop up here in St Asaph. He had a jolly to Ireland recently in the interest of Christian Unity with various Orthodox bishops, none of whom will have anything to do with women priests or same sex marriage. (These bishops should not be confused with the great Russian and Eastern Orthodox churches, which is presumably why the meeting was held in Dublin.)

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The Bishop of St Asaph is in Unity with them but not with me.

Of course, any initiative which can bring about Christian Unity must be a good thing but the so-called Celtic bishops had a fat chance of achieving anything with the Vatican. I can’t help feeling they could have spent their time much more effectively, though not so exotically, closer to home.

Where is all this “good disagreement” we hear so much about? Where are the forums where differing views can be discussed and debated quietly and intelligently? Not in Synod, I’m afraid. Where is the “diversity” the clergy are bending over backwards to embrace. I wouldn’t be welcome by the Vicar in my “parish” church because I can’t support SSM. Worse than that,  as an advocate for marriage between a man and a woman, preferably for life, the inference is that I must be homophobic. So far, the vaunted advantages and benefits of Mission Areas haven’t provided even one church in my Area which will give me a “safe, sacred space” where I can feel at home.

A year ago—was it really only 12 months ago? It seems like another age—the Bishop of St. Asaph appointed an LGBT chaplain. At the time, when asked what she would say to people who couldn’t support her, the Revd Hildreth-Osborn replied: “To those who aren’t supportive, I’d say, ‘If you’re judging people, you have no time to love them!”

If you take the time to think about those words you realise they’re a typical ‘soundbite.’ Sound good: mean nothing. What does she think Jesus meant when He said, to the woman taken in adultery, for example. (John:8) over, “Go, and sin no more”?He realised she had done something wrong, had told her so, but had not stopped loving her.

The ridiculous phrase, “Radical new Christian inclusion” used by Paul Baynes, Bishop of Liverpool, in his endorsement of the Jayne Ozanne Foundation, seems to mean kicking out the Gospel of Jesus while supporting “Just love for all”, whatever that means.

Jayne Ozane says she believes people can believe what they like.  Good, In introducing her new Foundation she also said that people like me have “A simplistic and ill-informed view of the Bible.” That’s exactly what she has.

Sadly, the Celtic Bishops would rather jaunt off to Rome than potter round their dioceses trying to establish any sort of unity with those of us who have been pushed out of our churches in the name of new radical LGBTQUIA+ inclusion.

 

 

The Time is Now

 

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The Holy Family by Murillo

Just before Christmas my son and his family moved in to live with us, so, instead of making New Year resolutions I’ve been meditating on the world in which my two granddaughters, aged four and six, will be growing up. They were not entirely happy thoughts; there is too much in the media that I find confusing and alien.

Curled up in an ancient armchair reading Beatrix Potter to the granddaughters is a timeless experience although I’m surprised Potter’s books haven’t been banned yet. “The Tale of Two Bad Mice” involves a story of theft and vandalism and there is surely too much cruelty to animals in the “Tale of Peter Rabbit” to be tolerated by the snowflake generation. Sitting on the floor playing with Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” isn’t quite so nostalgic; these “dolls” are more like dolly birds, with their sexy outlines and enormous Disney eyes. Fortunately, the elder one actually prefers Lego, the younger is animal mad and both seem healthily ignorant of sex and gender.

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Elsa from Frozen

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Peter Rabbit and his family

In such an idyllic family scene what can there be to worry me?

I am worried because the two pillars of my world are the two things that are now so under threat that they could well disappear before the girls reach adulthood. Those two fundamental ‘pillars’ are the Anglican church and the Family which have formed the bedrock on which I have built my life.

Way back in November, 2014 the Welsh bishops held a conference in Llandudno, called ‘The Time is Now’ to announce the great reformation that would result in 2020 Vision. (2020 Vision is intended to celebrate the 100 years since the Church in Wales broke away from the Church of England.) It was designed to ‘revitalise churches’ and provide ‘a place where ministry and mission would be done in new and creative ways.’

We can all see what these ‘new and creative ways’ are doing to our revitalised churches, can’t we?  Parishes have been abolished (though I doubt many parishioners know that) and the newly created Mission Areas are driving to depression and despair the few valiant souls who are trying desperately to keep open their moribund churches.

At the time of the conference three years ago I already had grave doubts about it. Why Llandudno? Nearby St Asaph and Bangor both have cathedrals on sites dedicated to Christianity since the sixth century. However, this conference was to be held in a theatre. Not just any theatre but an aggressively secular concrete box with nothing remotely spiritual about it. And in keeping with the surroundings an altar was built out of empty cardboard boxes. Honestly! I couldn’t make it up.

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Altar of Empty Boxes

However, the time is truly Now if we want to save the two fundamental institutions of church and family. There are many strands woven together that have caused this disaster but at its heart are hubris, hypocrisy, LGBT+ and the fuss made about Same Sex Marriage.

Christian Marriage has to be between a man and a woman.

I believe marriage serves a purpose—nothing less than the continuation of the human race. Creating and nurturing a new human being is not only the most important thing we do but is the only completely, utterly creative thing we do.

Very early on, homo sapiens discovered that the best way to care for the next generation was within a close knit family unit, with a mother and a father who were prepared to commit to each other and their children until death—not divorce—divided them.

That is what marriage is. That is what it is for. That is its purpose.

Since we are fallen, finite human beings we make a mess of it over and over again, but that is no reason to abandon the ideal. I could list endless studies that prove that children brought up by a father and a mother who are married and who stay married to each other are given the best possible start in life. Nothing else does the job as well.

Unfortunately, even the Archbishop of Canterbury seems happy to accept second best.

During a visit to Christian leaders in Moscow he warned that churches must learn to live with a world in which families are no longer led only by married couples.

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Archbishop Welby meets His Holiness Kirill in Moscow on  21st November 2017

He went on to say, ‘in the last 40 years there has been a great shift in the understanding and the reality of family life’.

There has certainly been a great shift in the reality of family life and a universal acceptance of what my generation quaintly called ‘living in sin.’ Which wouldn’t matter except for the fact that only one in three children born to co-habitating parents remains in a stable family until the age of 12, compared to three out of four children born to married parents. That’s quite a significant difference, no matter how good a job single mums and assorted step parents are doing.

            He ended up by saying ‘The family, however it is experienced, is the place where we can be at our strongest and most secure.’ True, but why tag it on the end of his speech, without emphasising its crucial importance. I think he was cowardly not to  make it crystal clear that Christian marriage is the best option.

If the Archbishop won’t stand up for marriage and all the benefits that accrue from it, including to the state, then we, us, you and me, will have to.

The Time is is NOW.

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How to entertain two small girls on a cold wet Saturday afternoon. Nor are these boxes empty. They have been beautified in order to keep special treasures in them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

“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?