Was seriously pissed off when I was flicking through this week's copy of the "Church Times" yesterday. And I strongly suspect that they were pretty pissed off too - or at least that's the impression I got from the tone of the reporting, the editorial and one or two of the columnists. Not that they can come out (sorry - in advance ...) with anything very open, but the feeling was certainly there. For those 99% of you not in the know, yes we're all very pissed off about the US bishops back-tracking over whether priests can be gay or not. Or gay and active or not. Or gay and over 5 foot 7 inches tall or not. Or whatever the current U-turn is focused on. God knows, but we've all actually forgotten the so-called "arguments" as we're all really bored with them by now.
Listen to us, US Bishops: We really don't care who priests sleep with (though sticking to one, of whatever sex, would be preferable, I fear, for the soul - if I dare say such a thing in today's buy-one-get-six-free climate ...) as long as they have a hotline to God, a heart for the people and some kind of understanding of spirituality. Which latter three demands are surely far, far more onerous than where the hell you put your prick. So grow up, please, and stop backtracking on what you've previously decided. You have gay clergy already - which you know about and have accepted - so you shouldn't be allowed to go back on that acceptance now. For God's sake, which century do you think you're effing living in??!! It's the 21st century. Gay is normal. Straight is fine too. As is anything else on the scale along from each. So get over it already. There are other far more important issues to tackle. Please begin tackling them.
So that was Pissed-Off Moment Number One. Pissed-Off Moment Number Two came when I was reading the very good article about listening to people (such as ourselves) who've left church. The article was great - I have no bones to pick with the writer at all, and may indeed pick up one of his books at some stage, but I had every sympathy with his annoyance at those who categorise those who've left church as having "lost their faith". Along with him, I can quite agree that that's bollocks. Leaving church is nothing to do with losing faith. Honestly, it's so bloody patronising to hear people say it - and yes it has happened to me. And it pisses me off - I always hate being categorised in any case, and hearing smug churchgoers simper their "solution to the problem of me" between pursed lips and move on is enough to drive me to violence. Really, it's astonishing that there are any churchgoers left in Godalming at all, what with me roaming the streets snapping at their ankles ...
And speaking of which, why are churches so smug that they think only they have a single-track lane to God anyway? I never even thought that when I was a churchgoer - and I would certainly never accuse anyone of "losing their faith". Actually, I was always rather envious of the ones who had the courage to say "no" to socialised religion, and instead wondered what treasures they'd found elsewhere. Really, the further away I move from April (when I left church) and in spite of our intermittent and very non-committed churchgoing since, the more I wonder if in some ways the church has been left behind while God has moved on?
Ah, but if so, then where has the bugger gone?? As Lord H would say: ah, that's God for you. You just can't trust him.
Meanwhile, away with religious speculation and on to today! Lord H has taken himself off to Titchfield Haven to see if he can spot any spoonbills, but I've decided to stay at home and attempt a full recovery. Much as though I'd love to see a spoonbill (the unruly hair, the large beak - oh, dahhlings, they're so me!), I think staying in is best. Though I must also say I do feel better - and have so far only had one Lemsip today, so I'm doing well!
And whilst at home I've managed to scribble down another 1,500 words of The Bones of Summer - and ye gods but I've gone in a direction I never expected to take. A bloody surprise to me, but it makes sense, and is making my blood fizz - usually a good sign, so don't panic ... I'll run with it and see how the hell it pans out. Lord, but this writing game throws a good few shots distinctly left-field sometimes, but that's how I like it and how I get the most fun out of writing, so there are no complaints from me. That Craig though - ruddy dark horse. Characters, eh - you just can't trust them. Much like God really.
Tonight, I really have to do some cleaning (groan!) and then it appears to be Stephen Fry night on TV. Can't imagine more pleasant company however, so I'm up for it. You can't go far wrong with Fry.
Today's nice things:
1. Staying in
3. Getting cross enough about church to at least know something of where I might stand. Ho ho.