Saturday, 31 May 2008

A glorious day.

The weather has been exceptional today. Warm, sunny and really like it was summer. Celebrated the Eucharist for the Visitation (1929 Eastward) in the Lady Chapel and then exercised Max lightly, before Mum came for lunch. Olives, pitta & humus to start, then lovely thick cut french bread and brie with cranberry sauce for mains. A wander round the shops and stop for some coffee. All very slowly, to enjoy the sunshine. The evening was spent at the local RC church, attending their vigil Mass and the dedication of their new parish Hall by Cardinal O' Brien. He was a bit stingy with the lustral water, but then, when I was a curate in Ealing, + Richard Londin used to dispense it by the 1/2 pint when he dedicated things, so I'm used to largesse with that sort of thing.

So now to beddy byes, ready for the morrow.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Max's Paw update.

As I thought, it's more pills for the pup. He wasn't impressed with getting his leg shaved (terribly butch is Max!) and growled at the vet. He was even less impressed with getting his tail glands sorted at the same time, but I can hardly blame him for that! Took him for a nice walk in Plean woods after to make up for it. The car now reeks of wet dog and Stirlingshire mud. As I drove up to Plean Country Park, I found I was drivng up President Kennedy Drive. As a student, my summer job as a postie mean I often delivered mail to Gagarin Way, Lumphinnans. Why did cooncils name streets like that? Our Student Union had a Biko Bar in the 1980's after Steve Biko. Everyone referred to it as the "Boako Bar". Don't politicians realise how silly they sometimes look?

Transferred grottiness and the looming Synod.

Well, the digestion is back to normal, but Max's paw is still looking poorly, so he'll have to go off to the vet again today. He's not in pain, just limping, so more antibiotics seem to be called for, to clear things up.

Last night's pre-Synod meeting revealed that there is quite a lot of significant stuff at the 2008 Synod. The obvious one being our Provincial response to the 2nd draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant. This draft is certainly an improvemment on the Nassau version (well done for listening CDG) and puts more influence in the hands of the ACC where there are clergy and laity as well as Bishop's and Primates. I just don't think a Covenant is very Anglican. Period. Keep talking though and see if we can produce a solution rather than a split. More prosaically, the amended Canon 36 on Congregational Staus has taken on board much of what was said by our local Area Council on equal emphasis on both the Joint Incumbency and Linked Charge options and seems to be woth voting for.

My old pet hate, Canon 41 on membership has resurfaced. When will "they" (the Synod Office) realise that when we (Synod) chucked this out 5 or 6 years ago we meant: "Consign this bunk to the outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (if you have them)", not "Hide this in a cupboard and bring it back when you think we've forgotten about it, so you can get your own way eventually"? This is not the sort of Church we want to be - stop it!


(Apologies to Bendy Wendy!)

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Feeling grotty.

The trouble with pre-packed sandwiches is that they may contain things you like but which don't like you. Like cucumber. Yesterday's lunch is not just a memory, it is an abiding presence. Even Zantac hasn't shifted my indigestion. So I was up at 6am, walking the dog by 7 and not entirely looking forward to a drive to the Borders later today. On the plus side, I completed the Times 2 crossword and codeword before 8am which is unheard of. Why oh why didn't Leviticus ban us from eating cucumber rather than shellfish and rabbit?

Monday, 26 May 2008

On being middle aged.

Dewar's Folly, Holyrood.
Wandered into the Capital today to look at Betty Windsor's collection of Italian Renaissance art at Holyrood (plebs admitted for £5). Lunched al fresco on the stone seats opposite Dewar's Folly (aka The House of Fun) courtesy of Jesse Boot's lunchtime special (buy 5, get 1 free). Reflected that it must be early summer in Edinburgh, as you can sit out comfortably in a light jacket and the air is rent with the pleasant twitter of the first migrant Japanese tourists of the season. As I munched contentedly on my prawn sandwich, I realised that I was sitting dressed in the summer plumage of the off duty, faux-hip cleric in early middle age - jacket and shirt from M & S, Armani jeans, shoes from Next and prescription shades by Police. I have become the Betjeman-esque clerical ruin I was intended by nature, nurture and grace to be. Middle class (by salary), middle aged (by default) and middle brow (by nature). And I don't care. I'm comfortable with it. I feel no pain or angst at ceasing to be a bright young thing (now at any rate) and am happy to enjoy being in my own skin. I may never go gentle into that good night, but I'm happy to bask in the early afternoon sunshine today.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

That would be an ecumenical matter.

It was the monthly joint evening service tonight. Dougal on the rota to lead. It's Mary's month of May, so a wee meditation on the BVM for the hordes of ecumenical faithful - all 16 of them. It's not exactly Spiky Mike's: an icon, "Tell out my soul", "As the deer pants", "Jesus remember me", 3 readings with meditations, an Orthodox anthem to the Theokotos said antiphonally and "Mary, blessed teenage mother". The remarkable thing is that it's so unremarkable now. No horror from the Kirk, but a recogniton that it's part of our tradition, so it's something we can share in. No sense of Anglican embarassment and "let's keep this hidden lest we scare the CofS off"; just a natural offering of something we value. This would have been radical 30 years ago, now it's not. Thanks be to God.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

This is one day I thought I'd be grumpy.

This is one day when I thought I'd be a bit grumpy. The diocese had organised a day on Stewardship and called us to attend.With a 9.30 start I had to cancel the 9.30 mass. I also had to opt out of the Cursillo Provincial Ultreya in Inverness. To go and listen to talks on fundraising. Grump potential there.

Actually it was good. The presentations were well focused (a rarity in Church gatherings), it finished at 1pm and it actually had something to do with the real world. Bet General Synod isn't like that! The upside is the weather is good and I might get the hound and I out for a romp in the country! Hello Plean!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Sights I've never seen before.

I was in Glasgow today, recce-ing an old folks outing (disabled access - check, parking - check, cafe - not open till June 7, so we'll not be going there on June 6). Killed some time waiting for the traffic to calm down with a wee wander round the toon centre and a large espresso. As I wandered along the side of the Clyde, I came across this rather impressive memorial thingy to the Scottish Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. (You'll need to twist a bit to see it properly - I haven't learnt how to rotate it yet! Aside from wondering why such a secular monument should be so very like a crucifix in design (really odd that, as so many of the old time Clyde side radicals who went off to fight Franco and the Fascists were card carrying Communists and fiercely intellectually convinced atheists), I found the inscription very powerful and moving.

"It is better to die on your feet, than to live forever on your knees." (La Pasionara)

It struck me that could be a very good motto for anyone like me who has broken away from a life inhibiting, soul destroying Conservative faith and theology and found a more positive, liberating and life affirming one. It could also be a powerful battle cry for progressive Anglicans as we approach Lambeth. We are not going back into kneeling position in thrall to a reactionary theology to please a majority or even ++Rowan Williams (who has an awful job, but who really seems to have given up on his progressive principles in the quest to preserve a rather spurious unity). Jesus prayed standing up: as a beloved yet mature child facing the Father as he had been destined to. We are children of God through Grace and Adoption and it is better for the Anglican experiment to split in two than for us to default as requested by Archbishop Akinola et al into the kneeling, whimpering infant begging for forgiveness.

Or as I've heard it put elsewhere: "We're here (editor's blank) - get used to it! Fill in the blank for yourselves.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to the..

Out with Max for a wee wander prior to supper, he ignored all the little bunnies in the field. (Not Dick Cheney's pooch, obviously) when the still of the night air was disturbed by chant of "We won the league again" and near neighbours waving a gren flag from the balcony. At least they were peacable and it was nice that it went to Tommy Burn's team, not the Blue Nosed Ones. Why do so many people support these big teams and leave their local firms to dwindle? Always amystery to me, but then again I support the Blue Brazil & :. not a footie expert.

Healthy Eating and the Eucharistic Feast.

"Fancy a Pop Tart, Jesus? No thanks, Dougal
Sister Assumpta wouldn't approve!"
My guilty conscience has been working overtime. Yesterday, lunch was a chicken Caesar salad and supper fresh pineapple to start, Prawn and roasted garlic linguine and then chocolate profiteroles. Today, no brekkie as I was celebrating at 10am but lunch was sushi, orange mango and lime crush and a chocolate, cranberry and nut bar from Boots. This healthy kick will probably last 3 days or so and then desist in a roll on crisps. But today, I feel faintly virtuous, in a dietary sort of a way.

Being Corpus Christi, I've been mulling over some bits and pieces that have landed on the desk. First was the CBS Quarterly Paper (I'm a Life Member of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament). It described a visit to the richest Church in the Anglican Communion, Trinity Wall St in New York. During the Eucharist the whole congregation says the whole Eucharistic Prayer including the Words of Institution and the Epiclesis, whilst holding their arms extended in the orans (or celebrant's) position. Part of me reacts to this and says: "It is the whole Body of Christ that celebrates the Eucharistic mystery, so why not?" And my Anglo-Catholic soul goes: "No, no - this demeans the distinctive calling of the priest to preside at the Eucharist and to exercise a ministry which is equal but distinct and is just an ill informed attempt to symbolise inclusivity by clericalising the laity, which will ultimately lead to lay celebrations because nobody understands what a priest is, doesn't see it as important and we'll all end up doing what those Low Church homophobes in Sydney want."

We celebrate the Eucharist in different ways within the Anglican family. I've done Roman Rite in Walsingham, 1662 on the Equator, stole and surplice on the Moray Coast, English Missal with all the works in West London, Grey Book eastward in Glasgow, Blue Book Westward in Falkirk, 1929 facing both ways in Kirkcaldy and mass with a monk on a canal boat with a glass of Chilean red and a Asda roll somewhere near Stoke on Trent. But part of me wants to retain the best of good tradition - the dignity and proper role of the 3 fold ministry - without being exclusive. Each to their own role and the whole presents the fullness of Christ. I balk at swapping this for a pseudo-inclusive hug in where everyone's really a bishop and nobody has any identity save that of member of the body of Christ.

The second article was in the Prayer Book Society's magazine by the Bishop of Sakatchewan. A quick glance suggests that modern scholarship questions some of the historical ideas underpinning the whole Litugical Movement and maybe the 4 fold shape the Westward position weren't really what went on the Early Church at all. Now this I have to re-read rather more carefully and slowly, but if it's right then a lot of us may end up having to re-learn our Fortescue -O'Connell. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Breakfast and other matters of consequence.

I am not a breakfast person. It's a cafetiere of strong coffee, the multi-vitamin pill (that's nutrition I believe) and and a pipe of good baccy before food whilst I listen to Radio 4 in the kitchen. But today in the office I broke the fast with a chocolate eclair. Decadent, delicious and totally wicked! Silly thing is, I actually like porridge, have a packet of raisin wheat's in the cupboard and a bowl of nice healthy citrus on the kitchen bunker. And I don't eat them. Mad I know.

Today's big event is the MU summer nosh up. A 3 course splurge at a local hotel. Pate, haddock and profiteroles. It the same limited menu every year but over 70's seem to be somewhat unadventurous in their eating habits. Still, it always a pleasant wee afternoon.

As you can see, I do like my food!

Monday, 19 May 2008

A night at the movies.

Decided to treat myself to a trip to the flicks last night. Started with a quarter pounder at Maccy D's and then off to watch Iron Man, which was my favourite Marvel comic when I was a kid. A really good adaptation with the flawed hero. Maybe the fact Tony Stark was an alcoholic with a dicky ticker (but still a good guy) was what made him such an authentic hero to a young Scot in the 1970's! Cracking dialogue and Robert Downey Jnr, as ever brilliantly watchable. You've got to love a hero who love interest is called Pepper Potts!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

A good day at the...

Well, I did enjoy this morning. Funny how a sunny Sunday morning, 103 people in Church and a Baptism makes everyone feel good. The baby who was grumbling shooshed when I poured the water on - she evidently enjoys 'splishy splashy time' and thought that God's sacrament was bathtime! Any ideas on 'rubber ducks, the liturgical use of'' anyone? The singing was great - first time in ages we've not made a hash of "Be thou my vision". Even the Sunday School - "Satan's Own Junior Highlanders" -behaved. And it looks like we have a confirmation class later in the year! I like Trinity Sunday suddenly!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

A thought for Trinity.

I like this thought from Gregory of Nazianzus on the abstruse subject of the morrows feast:

"The Old Testament preached the Father clearly, but the Son only in an obscure manner. The New Testament revealed the Son, but did no more than hint at the Godhead of the Holy Spirit. Today the Spirit dwells amongus, manifesting himself to us more and more clearly. For it was not safe, when the divinity of the Father had not yet been ackniowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son; nor, when that of the Son had not yet been accepted, to burden us further - if I may use a somewhat bold expression - with the Holy Spirit.

So, by gradual additions and ascents, advancing from glory to glory, the splendour of the Holy Trinity shines upon the more enlightened. You see illuminations breaking upon us gradually; while the order of theology, which it is better for us to observe, prevents us both from proclaiming everything at once and from keeping it all hidden to the end."

OK, the exegesis in para one is lousy, the man never had an SPCK grant and missed out on the joys of Wainwright on the Trinity in the New Testament. But the gradual dawning of the light, the graciousness of God in the development of doctrine - well, easy to see why I prefet the Cappadocians to St Athanasius.

Confined to the patch...rats!

I was looking forward to going to Dunoon for Bloggers and Bluebells today. A nice drive, a ferry ride across the Clyde, a brisk stroll with mutts, picknik, tea and eucharist. A Great Pisky day out. But Max's paw is till wonky and I've crocked my neck. So he's on antibiotics from the vet and I'm going to plonk my aching body in the jacuzzi at the gym in the afternoon to ease away the aches and pains.

two bit of 'junk mail' made me think slightly today. One was from calling for an hour of silent prayer on the 14th July in thanksgiving for the 175th anniversary of the the OM. Sounds good to me, as the OM has been such a major influence on the dear old SEC. I just wonder if it could be combined with thanksgiving for the 219th anniverary of the French Revolution? That might appeal to Christian Socialists!

The other was a flyer for a company that provides the kit for a race night to raise funds. Has anyone out there organised a virtual night at the gee-gees for their Church and was it fun?

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Dog day afternoon

I have an unhappy puppy. Max has a sore paw. Aww..but his hirpling would be a credit to Long John Silver and the funny way it got more pronounced when the oldies came in for tea & biccies after mass.. Well, it didn't get an oscar, but it did get several rich tea biscuits over and above the wee fellas normal ration. Best comment: Dougal "He's putting it on a bit because he's a dog." Anon "No Rector, he's putting it on a bit because he's a male!"

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The things I do for Jesus.

Of to Perth this morning to take part in the AGM of the Scottish Prayer Book Society in St John's Perth. We're not as fudddy duddy as we used to be - we have a new website! I was down to officiate at Mattins and to Deacon the Eucharist celebrated by +Ted Luscome the former Primus. Best bit was the talk from Andrew Barr, formerly convenor of the Liturgy Committee. Won't report it here, as he's written it up in "Inspires". Or 'Despairs' as it known in some quarters. I think that is so negative. I prefer to think of it as the Pisky Pravda. At least it has pikkies. Although a bit thin on Isvestia from time to time. I suppose it would be better if more people wrote in with contributions. That said it really has improved terrifically since it started and is allways worth a quick peruse.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

All together now...I'm an ecumaniac!

A very united weekend in Falkirk. Saturday was the last day of our (i.e. Falkirk Churches Together's) Christian Aid book sale which had run from Monday to Saturday and raised a grand total of £1700. Not quite the massive sums of George St, but it is the 1st time this has been done. Then on the feast of Pentecost we scrapped our 10.30 Eucharist to join with 2 CofS and a United (CofS/URC/Methodist) congregation for our main act of worship. Hymns, Brownies with pom-poms and the serious weirdness of religious lyrics to "Eleanor Rigby". Not totally convinced by that, but well, it is different. Very few of the faithful absented themselves from this joint beano (I mean act of worship). Still glad we had the blessed mutter of the Mass (Grey Book) at 9am tho. My ecumania has limits. I still don't want to be a Presbyterian.

Afterwards, a number of my little flock wondered if there was any chance of having the Muslim speaker we had in place of a sermon on Lent 3 back to take part in a discussion exploring Islam/Christian common ground/differences. I respond +vely. The good thing is this request doesn't come from the usual suspects. You know, the forward looking element which every congrgation has to a greater or lesser degree. These 5 aren't in that category- they're just nice, normal, ordinary Episcopalians. Yes, they do exist!

Then on Monday night I drop into the group being led by one of my CofS colleagues to discover it's looking at Sacramental Theology. In 2 hours we cover intercommunion, Donatists, the Apostolic succession (Tactile), Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation and Receptionism. Phew! All this unity is rather stimulating for the brain. But I need to explain to G that the RC's don't put all the stress on the epiclesis as the moment of consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer. (Dominical words, dear boy). That can wait till next week, when we look at the differences between the Jesus of Faith and the Jesus of History. Where's my Ernest Renan?

Saturday, 10 May 2008

What have the Muslims ever done for us?

Spent Friday evening at the 1st meeting of what will hopefully become the Central Scotland Inter-Faith Council. Interesting enough, as I'd never been in a mosque before. Really, any dialogue will have to over come a heck of a lot of cultural differences. Still, it was good to have such a wide spread of faith groupings there (Muslim, Ba'hai, Quaker, Pisky, CofS).

But my little moment of revelation came looking at a poster listing muslim inventions on the way into the worship area. I never knew that it was a muslim doctor who introduced shampoo to the UK in the 18th century. In Brighton. So they gave us the gift of Head & Shoulders. Blessings upon them!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Julian's Day

Today is the commemoration of St Julian of Norwich, Anchorite and Spiritual author. I wonder why? (Apart from it being the anniversary of the day she received her visions). She didn't do much, really. A 30-ish widow, she took herself off into a cell in St Julian's Church just off Norwich city centre and prayed. Fair enough. She had a series of 16 visions mainly about the Trinity and the Passion of Christ. Aged 50, she wrote up her 20 years worth of reflection and meditation on them. Commendable enough in itself, but a publishing contract is hardly cause for beatification. Especially if it's vanity publishing.

The content is the key. She homed in on the merciful love of God and her view that evil was no more than an aberration of human will which served to reveal more fully the merciful love of God. Her language was homely and in places striking.

I suppose my "Why beatify?" question reflects some of my dis-ease with the content. Or at least its emphasis. In spite of the cuddly style, it's still very much 14th century 'concetrate on our depravity to see how wonderful God is' spirituality. A lot on the passion but not really enough on the resurrection. A lot of Christian focus in spirituality is still on the Cross and Passion and really doesn't move beyond that on to the Resurrection. Most joint ecumenical Holy Week services have a big bash on Good Friday (Procession of Witness, 3 hours etc) and a few gathering early on Easter morning to cheep 'Thine be the Glory' in the nearest public park. In Lent we have weekly Stations of the Cross. And then conk out devotionally after Easter.

Last night, we had a change at St Wotsit's. We had a devotion called Stations of the Resurrection. 14 candles, not crosses. following the Risen Christ from the earthquake afterthe death, to Paul's conversion. Well received. The change of emphasis was quite refreshing. Must do it again next Eastertide.

And having been so anti Mother Julian, it's only fair to quote some of her most stirring words:

"God revealed that in all things, as truly as god is our Father, God is our Mother. God is the power and goodness of fatherhood; God is the wiasdom and loving kindness of motherhood. God desired Christ to be our mother, our brother and our Saviour, for God knows us now and loved us before time began. In nature, Jesus is our true mother by our first creation and in grace by taking our created nature. All the love of offering and sacrifice of beloved motherhood are in Christ our Beloved. For in Jesus we have this godly will, both in nature and in grace."

Worth keeping her festival for that alone.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Gone for a long walk.

On Monday, having collected Muttley from the kennels, we went for a stroll along Falkirk's splendid canals.

This being the Union Canal with the gorse in full bloom.

A view or two from the Falkirk wheel, a marvel of engineering, which can lift a cradle with a full laden boat using the same amount of electricity generated by 8 toasters.

And some interesting modern outdoor sculpture - I think it's a tiger.

A boat on the Forth & Clyde Canal.

One happy hound!

And a pub that does real ale and good, food, always handy when wandering for pleasure!

From the High Station along to the wheel, back along the Forth and Clyde and then back up past the High School to the High Station is about 5 miles and took an hour or two, wandering gently in the evening sunshine. Not a bad way to spend your May holiday, particularly when the town is quiet after the Big in Falkirk pop festival and your usual walk is littered with smashed Buckie bottles which won't be cleaned up by the cooncil, cause the workers are on holiday on the Monday too!

Monday, 5 May 2008

Parish views.

Well, it's a really sunny day, the sandals are on, the short sleeved shirt out of winter storage and the shades doing what I bought them for, rather than protecting me from snow blindness when driving. Can't be bothered writing any theological reflections and there's a lot of text on my pages. So here's some pikkies.

Both are taken just behind the Rectory where Max the dog and I go walking. In days of yore, the circus parked here and the Rectory garden bordered this. Former Rectors are reported to have complained of not being able to sleep at night for the roaring of the lions and tigers! Didn't Dorothy have a song about that sort of thing in the Wizard of Oz?

And in case anyone wonders how big this parish is, well, I have responsibility for all of California!

This was taken between showers, by the way!

Welcome to my world!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ascension Day

"In the days of His earthly ministry, only those who could speak to him came where He was: if He was in Galilee, men could not find Him in Jerusalem; if He was in Jerusalem, men could not find Him in Galilee. His Ascension means that He is perfectly united with God; we are with Him wherever we are present to God; and that is everywhere and always. Because He is "in Heaven" He is everywhere on earth: because He is ascended, He is here now. Our devotion is not to hold us by the empty tomb; it must lift up our hearts to heaven so that we too "in heart and mind thither ascend and with Him continually dwell": it must also send us forth into the world to do His will; and these are not two things, but one." (William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury)

Really, this says it all, which is why I read it to the faithful this morning. A great thought that it's not about Jesus going "Beam me up Daddy" and the embryonic Church looking up to see two wee pierced feet sticking out of a cloud (or am I the only one who finds the artwork in the Ascension Chapel in the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham totally risible?). A living Christian faith isn't defined by defending the redoubt of an empty tomb but by conforming our humanity to the restored and tranformed humanity of the Risen and Ascended Christ and in living that out in the world today. Returning in Christ to the original integrity of the God who described the Divine nature as "I will be" and living in the power of and with the presence of the Spirit. Very Trinitarian. Oops..that's a fortnight away! Never mind, it all joins up.

You can't say that!

Well, the last post has been deleted (laid to rest with flags and bugles) as it caused a wee bit of a stooshie. And a perfectly fair challenge to what I wrote. Which makes me ruminate on provocative statements.

A week or two back, we replaced the sermon with a Muslim-Christian dialogue. The Muslim speaker finished by telling a very un-PC joke which I found funny, but I'm used to Glasgow humour. I remarked at the time: "If I'd said that, I'd have been reported to the Racial Equality people". But he could say it and what he said maybe made us think about some of our unexamined attitudes. In that sense, the provocative can be useful, as it does provoke thought.

But another Muslim person might have been seriously upset. And could quite legitimately have accused him of either collusion with racism or being devoid of taste and sensitivity. The response might have been that by reclaiming the pejorative language, he was satirising and subverting the opposition. And that by doing that he was embracing and affirming his identity and empowering himself. Something, for example, those who use terms like "Queer theology" would argue they are doing. A bit like judo, taking the strength of the insult and turning it back on the opponent to floor them.

I've never quite agreed with the self proclaimed "queer theologians". I see what they're trying to do, but their adoption of that language has seemed, to me at least, to reveal an abiding self hatred and acceptance of a negative stereotype peddled by the homophobic.

There is a strain in the Judeo-Christian tradition which has taken the insult, adopted it and worn it as a proud badge of identity. The term "Hebrews" for example. The Ancient Egyptians applied this term for wandering, nomadic, smelly and "uncivilised" tribes (the Habiru) to the captive Israelites, who took it over and used it to identify themselves as a people. Some synagogues today proudly describes themselves as "Hebrew Congregations". The same is true of the term "Christian", first used in Antioch as an insulting nickname. Pliny the Younger, when writing as Governor of Bithynia to his boss the Emperor Hadrian, described Christians as "cannibals", totally misunderstanding the nature of the Eucharist and that was used as an accusation against followers of "the Way" when sending them to the lions.

I suppose it depends on who uses what term and whether or not they openly identify themselves with the derided group. The "N-word" debate is pretty good example. Or Jonathan Ross's backing group on a Friday night. It seems to be OK for someone to use a pejorative term to describe themselves (self affirming) but not on to use a similar term for a group of which they are either not a part or not openly and positively identified with.

No answers here, just thoughts.