Gladiatorial Acceptability

Image reproduced from the Archbishop Cranmer blog (visit http://archbishopcranmer.com/gay-cake-case-comes-to-court/ for the post on the case by Peter Lynas).

Whatever your view on marriage, whether you hold to the traditional man and woman model or a gender-blind union, the case of Ashers Backing Company vs Gareth Lee mirrors troubling characteristics of our society: a misunderstanding of tolerance and a gladiatorial approach to deciding what’s acceptable. Continue reading

Extending God’s Kingdom’s Reach, aka The Prayer of Jabez

I was invited to speak at Holy Trinity church in Combe Down, Bath on 15th February 2015 on the subject of Extending God’s Kingdom Reach.  The 2 readings during the service were 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:16 to 6:2.  Below is an edited version of what, after much prayer and contemplation, I felt called to say.

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The Big D

It isn’t easy being green

There sat Kermit, all alone.  Blending into the background, feeling overlooked.  Everyone, everything, seemed so much more attractive than he felt.  He felt anything but special.  But…

But…

But Kermit realised that there were some wonderful things that were a bit like him.  They were big, they were friendly and important.  The thought perks up Kermit, he rises to a brief high before coming down to a level where he is able to accept that he is who he is.  He’s not jumping for joy but he’s not in the depths of despair.  Kermit feels okay.

Kermit had had the Big D. Continue reading

We are family

How we view our relationship with each other affects our chances of getting along with each other.

How we view our relationship with each other affects our chances of getting along with each other.

Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, open your social media apps and one thing is clear, we don’t seem to be able to get on which each other very well.  For a supposedly tolerant society, tolerance is in short supply. Continue reading

Unpastoralised

Like a phoenix from the ashes, I will rise.

Loathing, disdain and vitriol threaded their way through the report, it was not pleasant reading.

I had been handed the report by the BAP Advisers by my DDO and read it in silence.  Its tone took me aback.  Never before had I read such a bitter report.  It was anything but constructive, instead it seemed intent on destroying me, my spirit and my hopes. Continue reading

Please Sir, can I have some more?

My focus is back on my family, but ordination isn't out of the picture yet.

My focus is back on my family, but ordination isn’t out of the picture yet.

The Bishop’s report came as I was heading home from work.  I was a passenger in more ways than one and leapt to the email like I had done with each incoming email throughout the day.

The opening complimentary paragraph passed me by as I went straight to the reason that I wasn’t recommended.  It was frustratingly short, vague and confusing.  Concerns had been expressed against some the selection criterion but the explanation was limited at best.

I didn’t recognise some of the person being described and there were things that were simply unfair.  What was more painful though was the person I did recognise.  The Advisers had not taken to me.
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The Land of Confusion

Stuck in a cul-de-sac with no reverse gear

Stuck in a cul-de-sac with no reverse gear

I could tell by her tone of voice that it wasn’t good news.

The call from my DDO came earlier than expected.  The Advisers at my BAP had not recommended me for ordination training.  I felt numb.

I couldn’t find many words to keep the conversation going for long.  There didn’t seem much point either when I was told that we wouldn’t find out why for almost a week.

The future that I had been preparing for had fell apart in an instant.  I had been preparing for rejection too but experiencing it is very different.  My emotions took the expected hit.  It felt like a light had gone out, like a door slammed in my face.  I knew that I would find it tough to hear such news, that I would be in a state of grief, but I hadn’t planned for my mind to be hit hard as well. Continue reading

Strange days (aka Going to a BAP)

A sanctuary for strange days

A sanctuary for strange days

It is done.  My Bishops’ Advisory Panel is over.  It was quite an experience, quite a week.  There are many people’s experience of a BAP that can be read, many practically focused, some even dealing with the pain of not being recommended.  This is my account of my experience; an account of the emotions, fears and joys that someone has and can go through and that needs more words than other types of accounts of going to a BAP.

So if you’re willing and ready, read on! Continue reading

The time is now

That was the time but the time is now: Ely now is my BAP, Ely then was with singing in Mr Swallow's choir.

That was the time but the time is now: ‘that’ was singing in Mr Swallow’s choir in Ely Cathedral, ‘now’ it’s Ely for the BAP – 2 visits, 1 journey.

The time has come.  The culmination of 17 months exploring ordination has come to this.  This week I attend a Bishops’ Advisory Panel.

It is also 1 year to the day that I published my first blog post, my attempt at moving out of my comfort zone and documenting the highs and lows of the discernment process.

It all began, consciously at least, when I sensed God suggest I take a look at it so I didn’t wonder ‘what if?’ later in life.  I accepted His invitation and pushed at the door. Continue reading