I woke up this morning and my body said, 'Monday!'
My brain said, 'Friday!'
The alarm clock (for the mortals in the house) read, 'Wednesday!'
So I climbed out of bed and got on with it. Paper work done - emails answered and diary filled just that little bit more (now booking into mid-2105 for some stuff). It's been an amazing week - so full that I haven't managed to blog and yet full of stuff that has challenged, blessed and incensed me. Here's just a glimpse of the first two days:
Was surprised to meet a vicar of the female persuasion who confided that she'd be glad when 'that' vote was over and we could get back to, 'Doing what we should be doing rather than getting bound up in all that's been going on over it!' I wasn't surprised that she was was a woman with that view but at the fact she shared it (I barely know her).
Went to meet with someone I was sure would have been all for a 'Yes' vote and found them bemoaning the rift it would cement between Roman Catholicism and the CofE (something I'd not really given much thought to). A fascinating insight into the situation and the thought that, having come from a positive engagement with Francis, Justin might encourage slowing things down to see how Rome (with an apparently professed 2% of paedophile priests in their midst who will have to go) might look towards women's ministry and try to get some coherence. Knew that was never going to happen though!
Had a friend (and colleague) write:
'Women bishops aren't going to be any better (or worse) than male ones. Remember the woman Prime Minister? And the first black President hasn't exactly lived up to all the hype and hope. So, no, I'm not "#excited" or whatever. I'm long past caring on this one. God bless 'em all and I'll just carry on as before i.e. by lying low and staying out of their way. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." But better not to meet the boss at all if you can help it!'
I was surprised by the many (male and female) who were quite ambivalent towards women bishops - although more surprised by the women because I though there was a party line on the topic.
I was happy for those who were happy over it and sad with those who were saddened by it - I don't have an axe to grind either way and since I don't like the world of rights and inequality; or as I said to one lovely lady what might never talk to me again - positive discrimination has the word 'discrimination' and I'm never for that word - you perhaps do because you're the one hoping to be positively discriminated towards. Needs to be thought out that one I reckon. I'd rather see equality on the basis of the inability to differentiate on anything other than calling and ability (and that covers colour, sex, gender and anything else you might like to think of). It should be about righteous and right living - a quick and lively faith and the desire to preach (and live) Christ in and out of season. Anything else is religion (and probably politics).
Met a cleric who has decided to get on and do it all themselves after yet another Sunday came and went and the people who had taken jobs supporting, and in, the service failed to deliver. They made the very valid point that some of those who never do took great pleasure in moaning about stuff being wrong or not done well and the recipient of those moans was, of course, the cleric. So, they thought, 'I'll just do whatever needs to be done and then it'll work and if it doesn't then at least the complaints are rightly mine.'
Bumped into three people who had found themselves at odds with the 'We have to support Israel' brigade because they have the view that 'Palestine needs to be protected from Israel'! Also bumped into two who are trying to defend Israel by pointing to Syria and other places where, 'Even more atrocities are happening!'
Now that's some defence - don't deny that the nation is doing wrong but deflect criticism by telling those who criticise to look at someone else because they're worse - how cheap is that? Bet God loves that one ;-)
Apparently those who support Israel have the view that Israel is a spiritual nation and yet all I see is an increasingly secular state whose stated intentions of 'getting them before they get us' using the shoah* as some sort of defence+ denies everything that the God of the Jews calls Israel to be. I'm all for praying for the peace of Jerusalem and Gaza and Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and . . . . . but I would like to see Israel be peacemakers as well (and I know the views that it's a small nation surrounded by people who wish to conqueror and destroy - been like that since always - not an excuse!).
|Are you busy Vicar?|
Had a fantastic time with 50+ young men and women who having donned military uniform got to hear about the spiritual realities of being Green and the Values and Standards that make our Army one of the very best in the world. To see so many people with a quick and ready mind and the enthusiasm of youth take up spiritual themes and be willing to consider, examine and discuss (not always positively) them and the resonances they might bring was a heart-gladdening event indeed.
Had a good meeting to harmonise baptisms around the parish and are moving on to do the same with weddings.
Got excited about the prospect of offering Mission Shaped Introduction and Mission Shaped Ministry across the diocese.
Got even more excited about the 24/7 prayer as it enters its last week of a four week offering (four locations across Tamworth) and at the people who had committed time to find (or rediscover) the joy of praying for more than four minutes during a Sunday service!
Got more excited still about the young woman who is fired by God to 'do something new' for God and is seeking to make this a reality (such joy when people hear and do).
So there we are - a brief insight into the first two days of the week - Praise God or what?
Now I need to go and pray about them all - perhaps some have touched you and challenge you to pray too - hope so :-)
* shoah Hebrew word for desolation, used in favour of the word 'holocaust' which means a burnt offering (often in the context of a sacrifice to gods/God).
+ The defence goes: 'Look what they did to us before - everything we do is defence as per the Bible's command 'Get them before they get you!'