Sunday, 8 June 2008

A drop of the hard stuff

Hard stuff - courage, that is.
Surfing for other information, I came across the Sunday homily from Clonard Monastery today. And courage is what I thought of.

Like the courage I thought of when I heard on Radio Ulster this week a young man, Stephen Scott, tell his story of being set upon and left for dead by three "men" because of his being gay. He told how he had been bullied at school, how he had felt suicidal, how he would have stopped being gay if he could... and how he wouldn't have minded a one-to-one fight... but he spoke of the injustice of being pulled to the ground by a gang of three. Cowardly injustice. Compare and contrast.

The homily today challenged us as Christians to follow Jesus in befriending the people that seem somehow to fall short of God's plans for them, to listen to them, to walk with them, and love them. It wasn't just a criticism of Iris Robinson's remarks on the Stephen Nolan Show. (There's plenty of that here.) It challenged the cultural expectation that "good" and "upright" citizens and leaders feel the need to distance themselves, to identify gay sex as "an abomination" as the hypocritical self-righteousness that it usually is.

Jesus used to get criticised for the low company he kept. But these days his followers seem to have got over that criticism. Protestants and Catholics alike (and other religions too) - and perhaps the most religiously commited most of all, are prone to the deadly and contagious virus of judgmentalism. It seems to me the only courageous way forward is to love unconditionally, and trust the Holy Spirit to sort out whatever is on God's agenda and priorities, in God's own time. Whatever it says of my orthodoxy or otherwise, trusting God to do the judging is the test of whether we believe Jesus or not.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Justice Woman

Maybe I should abandon the Spiderwoman ideas. Ciara McVeigh, age 10, St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Brighouse, has a much better idea!Indeed. And so...
A reflection on Psalm 85:
I am Justice
I contribute to wholeness
by valuing all people rightly
(For this I need my brother Mercy)
by acknowledging the guilt, pain & wrongdoing
of all
(For this I need my sister Truth)
by establishing new, generous relationships
(For this, I need my partner, Peace)
I am Justice
Without Mercy I become Revenge
Without Truth I become Oppression
Without Peace I drown in demand
Armagh, 26th April 2008

Monday, 2 June 2008

In the pink...

It's been some time... but I haven't fallen off the face of the planet, or even down the side of the Europa Hotel... well, I did do that, but I had two ropes to stop me turning into mush at the bottom! The worst moment was right there, between the E and the U of Europa, between the roof and the drop. The "Does-my-bum-look-big-in-this-well-good-cos-I-need-all-the-padding-I-can-get" moment. The "eu" of Greek words usually means "good". Strange how you can be in the middle of goodness, and totally focussed on something else, not feeling anything resembling good! [Note to self: cheesy sermon illustration.] I bet EuRopa means Good Rope in Greek. No? Would be poetic, but unlikely, don't you think? A glance at wikipedia suggests "wide-eyed" is the etymology. That works too.

Aargh, it's way past my bedtime. I'm just too busy living to have time to blog. I hardly have time to read my friends' blogs. But I do have time to climb Cave hill with a friend, to write a hasty sermon, to tell endless stories to my daughter...

When I've finished that, and the PCI General Assembly, and chairing my Board meeting, I'll get back to you! (eventually... someday...soonish, perhaps...)

What I WILL take time to say is Thanks. I've been amazed by the generosity of those of you who sponsored my abseil for Habitat for Humanity NI. Let's be honest. I never thought I'd get anywhere near the target of £1235; but already we're at £800.

Now I believe it really might be possible to aim for the "house" (i.e. the average cost to HFH of building a house for/with a poor family in the developing world.) Your generosity increases my faith. Question is, what should I do to raise the other £400? Suggestions anyone?