Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos

Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos
Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Michael Curry at the Royal Wedding

Bishop Michael Curry’s address at Meghan and Harry’s wedding said nothing new; it said nothing that is not in the mainstream of Christian belief.

So, why are commentators going on about it? Why are they saying that nothing like it would have been heard before in St George’s Chapel?

I think the answer is simple. None have been brave enough, committed enough to tell it as it is. God is Love; they are synonymous. The power of love can overcome all. It is at the heart of the Christian faith: the victory of love seen most vividly in the metaphor of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

If that is the case, why then do I have bookshelves crammed with explorations of theology?

Is it that they are an excuse for not saying it as it is, for, if you do, if you say that the power of love overcomes all, there is no longer an excuse for not doing something about it.

Meghan and Harry have shown in their lives so far, a passion for the outcast. The articulation of the power of love will surely drive them onward and upward.

I don’t think that this leads to piety with all its ‘spoil sport’ connotations. It leads to a life full in every sense.

It does beg the question of why we listen to sermons rather than getting on with the job?

I add a postscript, and deliberately a postscript.

Michael Curry’s presence and that of a British gospel choir said something with I dearly hope will be huge about inclusivity. People of colour have lived in these island probably for eight centuries if not more. That some have now been at the very focus of national celebration is both wonderful and dreadfully overdue.

Why a postscript, if it is so important? Because it should be ordinary; because in good places it is ordinary where people, irrespective of colour or any other difference, live in harmony.

Love has the power to make this the norm.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

God?

Simon Jenkins' article on Quakers and the report that some see belief in God as a barrier, and my godson's observations, prompted me to think further on my journey of faith.

As I have written before, I don't need the concept of God in order better to understand life or the universe. I fully understand that previous generations did, but I don't.

I do however value the life, death and teaching of Jesus.

I see the world as a miracle. A flower, a tiny insect, even a leaf take the breath away and this is a very long way behind human intelligence. It is all incredible, hence the adherence of previous generations to the idea of a creator. But it is credible, albeit not yet fully understood.

The world though is populated by human beings who are hopelessly flawed. The delicacy of creation is totally vulnerable to the idiocy of mankind.

This is where, for me, Jesus comes in. Follow his life and teaching and the world becomes safe for all, or nearly all: for them, the natural world is still capable of awful disaster. Mankind can nonetheless revere and cherish its environment and love its neighbour.

Is it naive? Of course it is, but that only makes it harder, not impossible.

As I have also written before, Christianity hi-jacked Jesus and shrouded him in religion. Jesus himself spoke in religious terms, but this is hardly surprising since Judaism was the very air he breathed. It is not though the air we breath and so we should be free to follow him without the trappings of religion.

I wrote about valuing the life and death, as well as the teaching of Jesus. Valuing his life is about valuing the stories in the gospels, with what I term the Pullman caveat. I have written about Philip Pullman's book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ in which he seeks to separate the two. I value the good man.

But, I also value his death. This is where it gets flimsy. I have read or heard the accounts of the passion of Jesus many times. They are intensely moving and rich in metaphor. I value them in the way they speak of that which is beyond reach.