…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

On Sunday morning I decided to give up blogging. The night before I had seen the former Bishop of Worcester using the word betrayed about people who are Gay or Lesbian Christians. He and 13 other retired bishops had responded to a report by current bishops to Synod on the subject of, of course, Same Sex Marriage.

Everything I read seems to point to a terrible lack of truth and honesty at the very core of the Anglican church. Why should I bother to blog? Who needs that amount of grief at my age?

Then several things happened.

First of all, I woke up to a church service on my husband’s ancient, distorted clock radio, droning out a hymn. At which point I burst into tears. It was a hymn I used to love, ‘I cannot tell,’ to the tune Danny Boy—a tear jerker at the best of times—and reminded me of how much I miss the hymns in church along with so much else.

So I found it on YouTube! And while I listened, these words, in particular, struck me. 

‘I cannot tell how he will win the nations, how he will claim his earthly heritage,                                 how satisfy the needs and aspirations of east and west, of sinner and of sage.’

But this I know, His will will be done.

So I dried my eyes, read the service of Matins and then I listened to a sermon. http://www.transformingminds.im

And what a sermon. Reverend Jules Gomes preaching, for 25 minutes, on, believe it not, Discipline and Punishment. Honestly! In the 21st century! No wonder his Bishop bullied him out of the church! He’s the bishop that cut the Devil out of baptismal services. If only the Devil could be got rid of so easily.

The next thing was an e mail from my son in Dubai sending me a link to the retired bishops’ letter.  He thought it bizarre and was looking forward to my blog on the subject. This was followed by another similar e mail from a clerical friend in Cardiff. He is always encouraging although he attends one of the churches which is sticking to Anglican truths—and thriving, needless-to-say—despite all that Llandaff has thrown at it.

Finally, the one and only husband spoke up. What he would really like is for all supporters of SSM to be totally ignored, on the grounds that the noise they make is out of all proportion to their size and importance.

Since his life’s work was involved with noise – anything from bumblebees and snoring to submarines and Concorde – he is very aware of the damage noise can do. His other complaint was that there is too much dodgy data around the subject. I may not be an academic scientist but even I can spot dodgy data when I see it. Take this, Oasis report, “In the Name of Love”, which claims to prove that churches cause Gays to commit suicide. It cites two bits of evidence but omits a third which proves the opposite.

The letter from the 14 ex-bishops doesn’t contain any data at all, or if it does I haven’t found it among all its verbiage. Take these sentences.

‘‘Our perception is that while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice. Our experience would lead us to doubt whether there was an expectation around that canons and doctrinal statements would be changed within any reasonable timescale, and that focus seems to have taken far more time than it would have done if the authentic voices of lesbian and gay people had been allowed to express the major focus of their hopes, but you might not have had to spend as much time explaining why if those other voices had been allowed to come through more clearly.’

Authentic seems to be the important word here and although I thought I knew what it meant I looked it up to check. Genuine. Real. True. Honest. Faithful. Trustworthy.

So what exactly are the bishops saying? That the genuine, honest voices of lesbian and gay people have not been allowed to be heard? Does that mean that all we’ve heard so far is not true or faithful. Is all the evidence of gay power already in churches in some way not authentic?

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What exactly is this saying that the bishops haven’t heard?

In December, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, attended the premiere of a film called All One in Christ. He said then, that the film was powerful because it was a film of personal testimony, with people bold enough to speak of their complicated, sometimes rejecting, experience of the Church. “It’s a film which demands attention,” he assured us. Well it’s certainly getting attention at the moment. It’s on the big screen at Cineworld, Llandudno Junction tomorrow night, Thursday 16 February 2017, at 8.00 pm. Tickets cost £6.50.

One of the original 14 signatories of that letter is The Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, formerly Bishop of Hulme, and now a local Mission Area Leader. He should certainly know whether the film is authentic or not, since he has a starring role in it, along with +Gregory’s Chaplain to LGBT people. Surely they can’t believe this film is unreal or dishonest or untrustworthy nor that their views are not being sufficiently broadcast. This is one of the cinemas that wouldn’t screen the Church’s Christmas message in 2015 because it involved people reciting the Lord’s Prayer, so showing All One in Christ is, presumably, a real breakthrough.

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ls this authentic enough to be clear?

As I write, the lunch time news is showing the scene outside Church House, where late this afternoon Synod will debate, yet again, Same Sex Marriage in church.  Protestors are gathered outside with placards, some of which show the word Hate. Christians, which is what Anglicans try to be, can’t hate. It’s against our religion.

How to get your knickers in a twist!

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Witch hazel — a sure sign of hope

The Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow seems to have got his knickers in a twist and his bloomers in a bundle with a vengeance. I am appalled to learn of the abuse that has been thrown at him (by Christians?). I’m glad to know that the police were completely supportive — such hatred and intolerance have no place in Scotland, nor anywhere else. The protests continue to rumble on, however, including many thoughtful articles by leading theologians, who give very cogent reasons for their dismay and doubt. Never-the-less, I’m still left puzzled.

After a lot of ‘mulling’ I have come to the conclusion that what probably happened was that the Muslim reader automatically added the last three verses of Surah 19, the verses denying the divinity of Christ, although they did not appear on the printed order of service, because that’s the way she’d learned it and she was not thoroughly aware of the significance. That seems to me the most obvious explanation. In which case, the most common-sense thing would have been for Kelvin Holdsworth to issue an immediate apology. End of story for most people.

Mind you, I still think it was not a good idea to have a reading of the Quran on that occasion. I have been to many services where there have been representatives of several other faiths, some of whom have done readings or have said prayers. But never during a Eucharist service on a special day like Epiphany.

I have now read what Kelvin himself said on his blog, and I have also read all the comments and responses, though that particular page is now closed.

In this blog the Provost tried to justify himself. That’s rarely a good idea. There were also other remarks that I found a bit strange. For one thing he said he is gay. I didn’t know that and I can’t see why I should need to know it; how can that fact be relevant? Another odd thing he said in his comments was that he recites the Nicene Creed without crossing his fingers. Could someone, please, explain what on earth that has to do with anything? And a third thing that worried me—comments about choosing the ‘wrong’ tune for “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning” caused almost as much angst and discussion as the reading from the Quran. Perhaps it’s not just the Provost that’s got his bloomers bundled.

And now for something to raise a smile.

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This is a bag which contained a child’s fleecy jacket

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This is the tag that came attached to it!