Quite appropriate for the feast of the Holy Cross! It follows on a rather good diocesan post Lambeth conference in Haddington. +Brian was good as usual, but Lissa his wife really rather stole the show. The Rape of Tamar is one of those bits of the Book of Samuel you race past in the Daily Office cycle of readings if you are male, I suspect, and it certainly made me think. It was just a pity we skipped from the 8 questions from the spouses conference to talking about human sexuality in the usual tired old way - i.e what some blokes do with their willies. If we had stopped off to think about the use/abuse of power in the Church (which impacts on male and female, gay and straight, young and old, Western and African) we might have got somewhere interesting. But we didn't. Maybe it's time to pack the Bishop off to Mars and let the spouses run the Anglican Communion for 6 months and sort the whole bleedin' mess out?
Met a friend I haven't seen for 10 years for dinner in Edinburgh afterwards. Both a bit tubbier than we were, but amazingly quickly, it was as if nothing had changed and the old easy camaraderie was still there. A decent Italian meal (I recommend the Conchigerli in Bar Roma, by the way) and a leisurely chat over coffee and a pipe in the New Club made for a pleasant evening. The views over Princes Street were stunning.
This morning I preached about the Cross and its shamefulness and pondered who we ought to embrace as despised for the sake of the Crucified One. Francis of Assisi kissed the leper. I think sub-Saharan Africa should embrace homosexuals - perhaps we need to look at embracing child abusers? It's a hugely uncomfortable thought and one which I imagine most of us would run a mile from, but the Cross if it is really what our faith is about, then it calls us all out beyond our comfort zone and calls us out of the comfort and acceptability norms of our society. When we embrace the Cross's radical call to welcome and inclusivity then we risk the hatred of our society. Which is what we of the liberal West are asking the Church in Nigeria etc to do if they become more gay friendly. I believe we are right to call the Church in Nigeria and Uganda to do that but I wonder if we really appreciate the cost of such counter-cultural witness? A bit like inviting Gary Glitter to stay at the Rectory. The thing is, if I'm honest, I know that's the sort of sacrifice we ought to be willing to make - and I'm pretty sure I'd bottle it if I was asked to actually do it.