Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shall I go?

I need advice.
As I am sure you all know, I worship at St James, King Street in Sydney which is a 2 hour train ride away. I do enjoy it and, although I sometimes groan when the alarm goes at 5am on Sunday morning, I receive many blessings once there.

Every few months CityRail decides to carry out trackwork on the weekend and replace trains with buses. I am quite happy in the train, seats are comfortable and I read the Sunday papers but I hate buses. The journey would increase to nearly 3 hours each way and I have never been able to read in a bus.
That was last weekend so I stayed home and relaxed.

I was upset to read the church notices and see that next weekend is adult baptism, confirmation and reception and therefore the visiting preacher will be the Bishop of South Sydney (our regional bishop) +Robert Forsyth.
Like all the bishops of Sydney, he is a fundamentalist, has made homophobic statements, boycotted Lambeth and attended GAFCON. If it was the Archbishop ++Peter Jensen, you would need to drag me there with wild horses. Even so, I will not shake Bishop Forsyth's hand but could duck out the side door. However I do not think I could even sit through his sermon.

We often have Bishops from other dioceses preaching at our important occasions such as Easter, Patronal festival and even the dedication of our new bells. I guess they must have our own bishop to officiate at confirmation, it is the only time I have known him to attend. I do not know how he takes the ritual and preaches under a crucifix. I am sure he will not preside at the eucharist, he would be completely lost.

On the other hand, it is an important occasion for the parish. There are 12 names on the list, I am not sure how many for each of adult baptism, confirmation or acceptance, and I feel I should be part of the congregation for these people although I do not personally know any of them by name. I also do not like going 3 weeks without the Eucharist although I only attended once in the 8 weeks I was in Europe but had no real choice then.

What shall I do?


Boaz said...

I think you should go Brian and take your ipod, not for the long trip but for the sermon!

Fran said...

Oh my. This is really a tough one. I am already praying for you - o wisdom of the Holy Spirit, please come upon Brian.

I can imagine that he could be hard to take.

On the other hand - being there for those coming into the church, for the community.

Praying, praying...

Did you see this post?

It just reminds me of the dividing line, how is the Christ in all of us to erase that line?

Deep sigh, if I only knew.

Brian R said...

Sorry Boaz, do not have an ipod but appreciate the suggestion :-)
Might be able to dig out some earplugs.
Thanks for prayers Fran and the link which is worth the visit. Unfortunately I have some reservations as an information specialist(ret.) with Father David's blog. It is not always clear when he is quoting(no links) or putting his own words into people's mouths.

Boaz said...

Ear plugs was going to be my suggestion Brian and then it morphed into ipod!

Wonder Woman said...

I say ...

What does your heart tell you to do? Now DO THAT!

Good luck!

Grendel said...

Go for the people who are getting baptized and stuff, because it will be Uplifting. Then you can think about Warm Laundry and Gravy if the sermon is Boring.

(But what do I know? I am Just a Dog.)

Grendel said...

Oh, and by the way, Brian R,

(The "R" stands for "Really Nice")

Because of your Goopersonic Impetus, I have Given you a Big Shiny Metal Award. If you know how to go to my Blog you can read about it.

Peace out, Scout!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The bishop is a part of the church but he is not The Church.

There will be 12 new members of the church. As a baptized, faithful member of the church, you need to be there to welcome them with joy.

Despite the hate that drips from the lips of that bishop, Jesus has promised to be there.

The bishop may not want you there, but Jesus does.

No one - not even the bishop - can exclude you. He may try, but you are already included by virtue of your baptism.

Go to church, Brian. Jesus is expecting you.

June Butler said...

Brian, I find the folks who say, "Go", very persuasive. Even Grendel says you should go. Dogs know about these things, you know.

Fran said...

Reading these responses made me a bit teary.

We really are a community out here.

And yes- Elizabeth is so wise, we love her.

Alcibiades said...

Hi Brian
Having once worked very closely with +Forsyth, in the course of which his homophobia, bullying, and hunger for power was a frightening reality which I had to witness every day, I really do understand your concerns about attending. I still have occasional nightmares about those times, and would find it very hard to attend were I in your position - in fact it's one of the (many) reasons I enjoy St. Lurker's: we're in a different a region so he's not our problem.

Even so, Elizabeth Kaeton is quite right, and Jesus is far, far greater than +Forsyth - no matter what delusions the Bishop of South Sydney might have to the contrary. Besides, what his sort of bully wants is for those who disagree with him to stay away. They don't want anyone in church who dares think God might be greater than their tiny hateful bigoted idol.

By going you'll be showing him that you can't be swept out of the kingdom by his lies; you don't even have to say anything. Simply by being the person whom Christ has made, blessed and loves you'll be chipping away at the wall of hate.

We'll be praying for you tomorrow morning. Give me a call or send an email if he disturbs you too much: we're not be far away ;-)

Brian R said...

Thanks Alci, Good to hear from you, especially knowing you have had dealings with said bishop.
I asked Father Christian Troll for his advice, suggesting I might offer him Bishop gene's book or just read it during the sermon. I must report his answer which has me rofl.

Dear Brian:
This reputation of this fellow, known as "Bishop Falstaff" for reasons which are obvious to anyone who's ever witnessed him wining and dining when he thinks little Pete isn't watching, has travelled far and wide. Although perhaps not as far and wide as he'd like to travel if only he could find another diocese foolish enough to let him of the very short chain by which the Jensen family keep him fastened.

I believe a close member of his family may have already unsuccessfully tried giving him a copy of that book and the Bible has something to say on the futility of such gestures in Matthew 7:6

I think your other option of reading it yourself to block his blathering is a much better idea, and please do remember to hold tightly onto your glass if you chance to meet him over celebratory drinks after the confirmation.