Having an extra hour on a Sunday morning gives time to think about what we do - on Sundays, for sure, though not exclusively - when we go to church. Having spent yesterday with a former Moderator of the kirk (great crack, Andy - and a great lunch), having listened, interminably, to the news on the car radio about the defecting Anglicans who are tempted by Rome, and having been Sponged the previous day, I'm feeling particularly turbulent this morning. There. I just asked Mr B how watching the Forward in Faith* people on the telly (somehow even more disturbing) made him feel, and I've just summed up my own reaction: turbulence just about does it.
The rotten thing is that much of what these people (no women priests, certainly no women bishops, no openly gay men) do in their religious practices used to be attractive to me. I still love really good music, incense, order - but I abhor the smugness, the "I'm a man and I'm ordained and you, my dear, are not in my league at all when it comes to the worship of God" underlay, the willing piety of the permed ladies, the self-righteousness. And on this grey Sunday morning I contemplate the essentially man-made edifice that is the church and I despair. I despair partly because I know that all my non-Christian or non-church friends and rellies probably think that what was on the news yesterday was my church and either despise or pity me for it.
But thankfully, it is not my church. My church still has a way to go before it sorts out the Christ-like response to gay Christians, gay church people, the gay ordained; it has yet to elect a woman as bishop though there is no legal barrier to such an election; my church tends to be anything but smug though there are pockets of undeniable smuggery. Personally, I'm on a wee crusade to remove the words "us men" from the Creed as said by the celebrant in Holy T (they don't say it in Southwark Cathedral, I note); Mr B is working to remove the dire hymns of the past from our repertoire (leaving us, it has to be said, with a very small selection that meet any sort of criteria at all); I look forward to this morning's sermon from a lay woman that will disturb and challenge in the light of the week's news.
But there is much to be done before we shake off the bigoted and the entrenched. And yesterday's news, as far as I'm concerned, is good news. Let's wave them off to the diluted form of Rome to which the Holy Father invites them. God speed, folks, God speed.
*Or, if you like, Backward in Fear.