Sunday, 30 January 2011

How they can say this with a straight face ....

This communique was released by the Primates meeting in Dublin following the murder of the Ugandan gay-rights activist, David Kato.

Quite how these "leaders" can issue such a statement when the Anglican church continues to persecute and sideline homosexual and lesbian Christians is quite beyond my understanding. Possibly that's one reason I shall never become a Bishop. And more to the point, that's one reason I would never want to become one!

Maybe I ought to remember that it's January, and Janus was the Roman god of two faces. Quite appropriate really.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fair fa' your honest sonsie face

It's Burns Night again, and the neeps and tatties are mashed and the haggis sitting to one side waiting to be "nuked". The mushroom and whisky gravy is also made. Lang may your lum reek! (and it probably will after this!)

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Maybe there now is a room at the Inn

An excellent commentary on the recent Christian hoteliers court judgement in today's Guardian.

No option but to delay

There's a large funeral taking place in one of our rural churches this afternoon, of which I am not the officiant. There has been flurry of phone calls this morning as the grave digger is refusing to dig the grave because as soon as he takes out a bucket-load of soil the space is filling with water, and the side walls are not stable.

Admittedly this is the one churchyard of ours that is surrounded by a medieval moat, but on this occasion that is not the cause of the problem. The ground is so sodden from the weeks of snow and then the recent couple of days of rain that the water-level has risen considerably. The roadside ditches round our lanes are full, and that is always a good indicator of the state of the fields.

So my advice to the officiant, in line with that already obtained from our Archdeacon, is that the funeral service can go ahead as planned, but that the burial will have to be delayed. This will undoubtedly cause some distress to the family and those relatives who have flown in from lands afar, but there is no choice. Nature will win, and we must wait on the water-table dropping back to its usual level before the final act can take place.

Friday, 14 January 2011

And another offer I can easily refuse

The picture is enough to put me off even considering a move over the Tiber. I shall be giggling all day ....

Mind you, I suppose we have nothing to laugh about really ....

Let's have a nice cup of tea and a sit down ...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Now there's an offer ....

This was in my Inbox this morning. I was tempted ... briefly ... but I had a mid-week Eucharist to take.

Size: 10606

Monday, 10 January 2011

Sign on the dotted line

Following on from my post on Common Tenure below, I have now sent my reply to my Bishop declining the offer of transferring from my current freehold office to the new system. There are various reasons for this, one being that signing such a contract would irrevocably change my relationship with not only the Church of England and my bishop, but also with these parishes, and I do not see any great advantage in going down that particular path.

Friday, 7 January 2011

A night-time Epiphany in Tesco, Norwich

I had a revelation tonight during my late-night shopping in Tesco following my Friday evening gym visit. A new interpretation of Matthew's Gospel was revealed to me at the end of the Crisps, Nuts and Snacks aisle. I turned the corner and found a display of the gifts brought by the Wise Men to the house in Bethlehem, and all of a sudden I was given a deeper understanding of the Greek text.

Matthew 2: 11
And coming into the house they saw the child with Mary the mother of him, and falling they worshipped him, and opening the treasures of them they offered to him gifts, mini Caramel eggs, mini creme eggs, and a chocolate bunny.

After all, "Every little helps."

To sign or not to sign, that is the question

At the end of this month the new system of Common Tenure for clergy in the CofE comes into operation. I was going to write "comes into force" but in fact there is no force being exerted to change over to this different status.

The main thrust of the change is to bring clergy under the legal protection of employment law, something from which as "office holders" we are presently excluded.

Whilst the move has this main advantage, alongside access to a grievance procedure as well as a minimum stipend in law, there are, as I see it, several disadvantages.

The Incumbent who has a "living" will lose their independence. Under Common Tenure they will not only have to draw up a job description, but they will also have their performance periodically reviewed. For centuries Incumbents have had the freedom to develop their ministry as they believe best fits the parishes where they work. This has allowed some glorious eccentrics to hold their post until they keel over in the pulpit, but that is one of the glories of the Church of England. Common Tenure will harmonise ministerial practice and do away with such "blips".

It makes the clergy employees instead of office holders. This may well bring about a fundamental change in how they are perceived by not only their Bishop by also by their congregations. Can an employee make quite as strong a stand against what they see as injustice in the system as an independent person? There will be more pressure to not "rock the boat", which is something that clergy have managed to do quite successfully on various issues over the years.

My Bishop has written to me asking, as he is required to do, if I would like to transfer my office to Common Tenure. I have drafted my reply but have not yet sent it. There is yet time for a little more consideration of the implications of either course.