Second Class Citizens?

Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriAs a Buddhist, I haven’t felt able to comment on the Church of England’s continuing struggle over its position on women bishops. The question has been being debated for decades and the decision this week has left the Synod looking even more out of touch with the values of modern British society.

Looking at world religion as a whole, it is pretty clear that, as with the rest of society over the millennia, it has been controlled by a predominantly male hierarchy. In many parts of the world, that seems to be changing, with female bishops being ordained in places as far apart as Cuba and now Swaziland.

Watching the BBC’s Big Question today, appeared to show the aggression on both sides, to what would seem to be an almost impossible question. It is possible, it was shown, to interpret the Bible as supporting both sides of the argument. So one might say that both camps are right and wrong in their support of their position.

The far more worrying aspect from my perspective, from a church that purports to represent the religious nature of my beloved England, is that it appears to be populated by a disparate collection of bigots. Neither side came out of the argument with any credit, and judging by the stream of negative #bbctbq tweets, did nothing to ingratiate themselves to the mainly secular audience.

Of course, many may say that it is non of my business, how the Christian religion structures itself, and with any other than the Church of England, I would agree. But whilst the Church is part of the Establishment and has a say in how my country is run, through the bishops seats in the House of Lords, I will have my say.

Hedging Our Best

Mr GrumpyThe privet hedge down the left hand side of the cottage garden is becoming a bit of a monster. The garden side was getting far too high to be trimmed without the aid of a safety net and the lane side is more in the domain of steeple jacks.

It had been decided that we would use the hedge trimmer to give it a good haircut and Bumble had already started the job earlier in the week. It had, however, also been decided that we would give ourselves a rest this weekend and do fun things rather than just chores.

So I set to with the trimmer and had finished the job B had started in about an hour. Feeling pretty satisfied with my efforts I was rather dismayed (huge understatement) when I found Bumble talking to Roy, one of the neighbours, about how the hedge had been managed in the past, and how it would be much easier if we were to lop a couple of feet off the top.

I was pretty miffed and made no secret about it. B went into one of her ‘leave it and I’ll do it myself’ moods, which just made me more annoyed. So having delivered a wise instruction to ‘not speak to me’ I got well and truly stuck in with the tree loppers.

I wouldn’t recommend using anger as a way to boost your life-energy, it’s pretty volatile stuff. But by the time we had decimated twenty or so feet of the top of the hedge my mood was much improved and we hadn’t killed each other.

What started off as a one man hedge-mashing exercise turned into a two man (well one woman and one man) project. I burned off all my angst and Bumble forgave me for being less than sociable for the initial half an hour.

Speaking about it later, we decided that the whole incident could have been avoided with a little better communication and we have promised to try to achieve that in the future. Neither the course of true love, nor the path to enlightenment are without their challenges, but having overcome the problem, we are better for the experience, and we have a much more manageable hedge.

Fuelling The Fury

Yummy Cakes in Coffee#1What a conundrum, I had enough petrol to get back to Bristol, to get B back home in time for her to go to work on Monday, but probably not enough to then get back to Ringwood. With the petrol panic still in full flow, should I drive around, using precious petrol, on the off chance I might stumble across a filling station with petrol, or just go for broke and head off to Somerset?

Having seen the CLOSED signs everywhere round Poole, there didn’t seem much mileage in embarking on a search, so we packed our bags and headed off towards Blandford. All the supermarket forecourts were empty, apart from the army of traffic cones, indicating that the priceless hydrocarbon nectar was non-existent. We pressed on, trying to eek as many miles out of each and every drop of fuel.

Having done the Bristol run, many, many times, I knew of a little filling station on the A360 in Longbridge Deverill, and sure enough it came up trumps. No queues, plenty of petrol and a public loo to boot. The price was a little more than I am used to pay, but considering our plight, we were only too happy to pay it.

So it just goes to show. If you can keep your cool, remain calm and collected whilst those about you are running (or driving) around like headless chickens, almost any situation can be overcome. With a full tank of petrol, and an empty bladder, we were back our way again, non the worse for the experience.

Just to further sweeten the trip, we took a minor detour into Keynsham to share a mini cheesecake and a slice of carrot cake in Coffee#1. After a short bimble round the shops for bread and fresh veggies, we got back onto the A4 and trundled back to Stapleton.

Why Bother?

Blah-Blah-BlahIt really makes me laugh, the comments I get when I write something contentious about religion or religious issues. So today I’ve had a great time reading the ‘hate-mail’ I’ve received regarding yesterday’s post about the Bideford council prayer issue.

The thing that really tickles my funny-bone is the way they all, almost without exception, go on and on about what a waste of their time it is for them to be reading my blog, and what drivel it all is, when all they are doing is wasting yet more time commenting on it.

Fortunately, my spam filter blocks them all, so after a cursory glance I hit the ‘empty spam’ button, and consign them to the great waste bin in the sky. Of course, everyone has the right to air their opinion, but I would really like to thank every one of the contributors for giving me such a laugh and raising my already high life-energy levels.

Oh God, You’re In Court

High CourtWhatever will our crazy society come up with next? Bideford Town Council defended their right to hold Christian prayers before its meetings in the High Court today. The defence was necessary because a former atheist councillor, Cline Bone, had tried to stop prayers because they made him feel ‘disadvantaged and embarrassed’.

Now call me progressive, but to my mind, prayers, beliefs, acts of worship and so on, are on a purely personal preference basis. Having said that, England is a Christian country, hence The Church of England. Even so, nobody should have to go to court to defend their beliefs, or their non-beliefs either.

So stop all this rubbish. At a time when the whole country is cash-strapped, people losing jobs and budgets being cut, left right and centre, the council tax payers of Bideford deserve better. Somebody bang these folk’s heads together and come to a compromise. I bet God is looking down on you all with a right proper frown on his (or her) face.

Of course, that compromise could be holding Gongyo before the meetings instead. I can just hear it now … Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, in a broad Devon accent, followed by clotted cream teas.

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