Thursday, 11 March 2010

... and cookies

Finally watched Milk. It's bloody amazing. Largely due to an unselfish performance at its centre which puts me in the unusual position of agreeing with Oscar (I thought Mickey Rourke's turn in the Wrestler was unbeatable until tonight).

Anyway, I think lots of things about it, but I'm notoriously bad at articulating thoughts soon after a viewing. I liked the way it was filmed, and the integration of archive footage was beautiful; the faded film stock reminding us that this was not just a story, this was real. Biopics are difficult to structure in a narratively satisfactory manner, but this was masterful in its signposting, early on, of its ultimate destination.

Anyway, it led me to reflecting on something I've been thinking about for a while. A number of years ago I was involved in a series of debates, both formal and informal, whereby my church attempted to address the issue of homosexuality. It was a strange and difficult time, and important in lots of ways. A good many people supported the exploration of homosexuality in a Christian context, and were prepared to consider change. I used to think it was a brilliant and brave thing, and that we acquitted ourselves well. But the further away I am from that time, the more I feel an acute sense of regret and shame.

I had several opportunities, one of which was literally in front of a microphone at the head of the congregation, to express my point of view about the whole 'Does God hate the queers or not?' debate. I was very much on the 'or not'side of things, and tended to suggest that it might not be a bad thing to consider that being gay and being Christian were not mutually exclusive. You know, given that we were intelligent beings living in a civilised society with an understanding of language, culture and history. I was generally well spoken and, if I do say so myself, reasonably witty.

Well, now - now I've seen the years pass and seen the lack of change - I wish I'd been a lot less well spoken, and that I'd forsaken gentle wit for something a bit more forthright. Something a bit more like a list of the horrors suffered by gay people around the world. Just a simple, long list, pointing out the killing, bullying, repression and torture inflicted upon this minority by stupid, ignorant people. I wish I had read the list out, and then drawn attention to our response. Our response, as a church of Jesus Christ.

That response, from a great many people in a church I considered home, was to say no, we cannot be a church that accepts gay people as anything other than second class citizens in need of fixing by us better, more Christian people. Furthermore, we cannot agree to disagree on this. We refuse to share a church with those who think otherwise.

Not everyone thought this, and not all of those in opposition did so without thought. Some people were scared that this was the beginning of the end for a comprehensible belief system. Some wanted to accept the people but could not bring themselves to challenge long held beliefs. Some may have had other, more deeply rooted concerns that I was not privy to.

But there were many whose opposition was instant, angry and lacking in any desire to dialogue. Those whose idea of a 'proper' church outweighed their imperative to love, to protect, and to fight for justice rather than a perceived version of morality. They were stupid, and they were cowardly. And, now I look back on my weak and feeble challenge to their idiotic points of view, I realise that I was too.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Prevarication waits for no man

Not blogged for a bit, due to unreasonable people at work expecting me to do my job. Well, i say do my job. What I really mean is 'generate a massive amount of pointless paperwork to show to people from outside who don't trust us enough to let us just get on with things'. Still, needs must.

And I have to edit some school children performing stuff and singing. Luckily this is fairly good, though it is time consuming. As a result, my brain power is running dangerously low. I find myself happy to stare at patches of light on walls, thinking 'That's nice...' I'm laughing at things that are only mildly amusing. I'm regressing. Save me before I decide to listen to Radio One.

The other day I turned on radio 4, and had a beautiful experience of the very *essence* of something. I switched on the radio, and there was silence. Complete silence, for about four seconds, and then someone with a rich, home counties accent said 'Is that right, Jennifer?' It made me happy, for reasons I can't really understand.

I've seen some good friends recently, drunk a lot of wine with them and found them all delightful and fluffy to be with. I've finished reading about Segal and am now onto Adrian Mole. I find his mid life sense of dislocation uncomfortably familiar.

Still no church. Mosaic is OK. Feel like I want a community that is nearer, though. I like to be among people, on a fairly regular basis. More thoughts on this when I have more time.

26 days until Doctor Who. I confidently predict Matt Smith will be brilliant.

I go now. Rejoice in the small things. And biscuits.