Tuesday, March 17, 2009

1984 : many meetings

A few moments to reflect on the strangeness of Easter 1984, and on what happens if you're an Episcopalian living in a small town when you suddenly can't attend your own church any more. I'll deal with that first. If you are still in possession of any religious faith, you have a choice: go to a church of another denomination, drive north for 50 minutes in the hope of catching a Eucharist in Inveraray, or take the ferry (and your car) and take your pick of Piskie churches in the great Over The Other Side. When you have two young children, the last is not an attractive option. I gave up for a bit, and was rescued by the kindness of a local C 0f S minister and some of his congregation who welcomed me in their study group. But it's not the same, and it's unlike living in a city.

And other strangenesses? Like the array of people who seemed entangled in my life - Kay Carmichael, the writer and broadcaster, who came to my house and tried to help with the fall-out; Captain James Bush (USN, retd) of the Center for Defense Information, who came to a local meeting and stayed the night chez moi, accompanying me to the court to hear one of the trials for himself, Col. David Pike of the Public Information branch of SHAPE who met me and another office-holder in the local CND group for lunch. And of course there was the evening when I was taken to the coal pier to be interviewed for a radio programme by George Hume and Stewart Millar - the pier because they wanted the background noise of water and seagulls; luckily it was June - and could barely speak when Hume probed about the church. (We adjourned for a G&T and tried again, with more success)

It is still obvious how strange the local situation was when seen by other eyes - and how strange it is that we made so little of it, really. When I look back at my journal (for I've been writing up my life for a very long time) what strikes me is the dispassionate tone of the writing. Maybe you can get used to anything.


  1. Anonymous11:04 PM

    So sad what the Church can do to people, people we are called to love and accept, people who have so much to give.

    Been thinking a lot, of late, of the woman at the well. Jesus had so much to offer her, so much to forgive her for, for her life was messy and she was in need... and Jesus doesn't offer her anything at all. "Give me a drink", he says to her.

    And so the whole situation is turned on it's head. The "outcast" is asked to give to him.

    If our Churches, instead of condemning those we disapprove of, instead realised how much the "outcast" has to give us, how much we need to learn from them, then perhaps we will be a better and richer church for that experience?

    Ach! Here I am havering again!

  2. Chris, I have been reading of your adventures and my, oh my! I am certain that that time of your life has helped to shape you into the person of deep conviction you are, even today.

    1984 signifies a very difficult time in my life in which I was faced with a painful and unwanted divorce. I was at such a crossroad and faced with a major life change.

    I wonder if I ever would have had...could have...the courage to stand as you did.

  3. Kay Carmichael and Bob Holman taught me Social Admin at Glasgow in the early 70's. Both of them inspirational as teachers and practitioners of social compassion and politics as if people mattered. My growing up was in rural Ayrshire and Lanarkshire, my dad a dairyman. We weren't exactly well off - despite the sheer hard graft of two parents. Listening to two radical human beings like Carmichael and Holman cut through the jargon and teach us to be critical of socio-economic structures, was one of the key learning experiences that shaped my worldview and value system. They showed me why confronting poverty should be a political priority with ethical edge. And with Bob Holman, the oddly comforting thought that this guy was a Baptist and a radical social visionary whose care for people was transparent.

  4. I wonder if blogging all this 25 years ago would have meant that I felt less alone? On the comments I'm getting, the answer would seem to be 'yes'.