Monday, August 19, 2013

Travels 2013-14

1. I am driving to the North Island leaving Thursday and crossing Cook Strait on Friday.
Hope those earthquakes settle down in Wellington where I have booked accommodation for Friday night.
Have booked Saturday night in Napier then plan to enter new territory to Gisborne, East Cape, Tauranga (was there 1 night in 2004) Coromandel (also 1 night in 2004) then have booked into Auckland from Aug 29 to Sun Sep 1.  May stay longer and have plans for Wanganui and probably cross back over to the South Island on 7 or 8 Sep.

2. I am flying to Sydney on October 29 for a reunion of my class of 1973 the following weekend. They meet every 10 years and I would hate to miss, though I doubt I will be there in 2023.  Will fly home November 11 so will stay in Dunedin for Christmas.

3. Will probably fly to Sydney for Easter (April 18 to 21) and Anzac Day (April 25) The last time for many years they will be within a week of each other.

4. Have begun making reservations for USA next June/July.

Have booked train (the Cardinal) from Washington to Chicago on June 25/26 and a package involving train (Empire Builder) from Chicago to East Glacier on 27/28 then 4 nights in Glacier National Park followed by overnight train to Seattle July2/3.
Will leave remaining bookings for now but am considering flight from NZ to Salt Lake City, Coach tour of Yellowstone, Flight to New York for a week then train to Washington.

After Seattle I may go by train to San Francisco and Los Angeles before flying home.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Christchurch Cathedral

The new cardboard cathedral in Christchurch was opened to the public for the first time this week.

I saw it under construction when I visited Christchurch in March.  I will be passing through Christchurch next Thursday but probably will not have time. However I will be returning  3 weeks later and hopefully will be able to visit. 

Friday, August 09, 2013

Why I campaign for homosexual acceptance

In reply to discussion on my previous post where I was led to relate some of my experiences in Evangelical churches in Sydney.

As a young man I was a youth leader at church, a leader in the Evangelical Union at University, a worker at Beach Mission, involved as a student and later a teacher in the Inter School Christian Fellowship, taught Scripture (in my 'preparation periods') at school, a parish councillor and a counsellor at the final Sydney Billy Graham crusade.

Many of my friends of that time went on to become priests or academics in religious studies. Actually some did reject their faith and others went to other dioceses  but that is too long to relate here, except to say they have been far more accepting of my sexuality when I have met them in later years than those still involved with the Diocese of Sydney.

I expected to teach for a few years then enter Moore College.  I gradually began to realise that would not be possible as I wrestled with my sexuality.

Sometimes I regret that but at other times I think I would probably have not made a good priest and I have had a generally fulfilling career as a high school teacher.

However I soon learnt to keep my head down when attending church.  I went to church to partake of Holy Communion and left immediately after.   Even staying for coffee might lead to too many questions.  There were periods when I stayed away and a long period when I flirted with the Catholic church.  Catholic priests do not (in my experience) shake hands at the door and ask questions then want to visit you at home.  For a number of years I found fulfillment in Acceptance a Catholic gay group which had weekly mass provided by inclusive priests.  While the official Catholic position is bad, many religious and lay people are far more accepting.

Eventually I found my way to the inclusive St James, King Street in the Diocese of Sydney and now to the Diocese of Dunedin.  I still find it hard to be open about my sexuality in church circles and do not volunteer to take any role but I do stay for coffee.

When I was a young man, not only was the church condeming of homosexuality but it was illegal in society.

Today there has been a tremendous transformation in my lifetime. Here in New Zealand there is no longer any official bar to a homosexual.  The first same-sex marriages will soon be celebrated. GLBTI people are able to be open as members of parliament, the legal profession, business, film and stage. There are anti-discrimination laws (from which churches are exempt).

The only place they are not equal is the church.  We are still waiting to see what will happen at the 2014 synod of the Anglican church of Aotearoa/New Zealand.  The Evangelicals are working hard to see there will be no change and the inclusive members (like the Bishop of Dunedin) are not willing to upset them.

Obviously young people today, especially those with a homosexual orientation, do not want to join the church. They see it, rightly so, as the last bastion of discrimination in our society.

That is why I continue to campaign for full homosexual acceptance, same sex marriage and ordination of partnered gay men and women, in the church.

Finally with regard to those who quote the "Word of God" against my position. As the Bishop of Dunedin has pointed out there are 6 passages that condemn homosexual activity.  There are over 30 that condemn usury.  In the past the "Word of God" was used to justify slavery and apartheid.
"the Word of God" condemns the eating of shellfish.  We can go on.

Even in my most evangelical days while at University, I remember arguing against capital punishment and others quoting scripture to justify it.

I refer to past posts

Worshipping in Dunedin

 The Gay Debate and the Bible


More on the Gay Debate

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The best of a bad choice

I think.

But who knows in Sydney Diocese?

It has been announced that Bishop Glenn Davies of North Sydney is to be the next Archbishop of Sydney.  He is 62, so will have to retire in 8 years whereas the other candidate was only 49 and the diocese could have been stuck with him for 21 years although he apparently said he would only stay for 15.
it seems Dean Philip Jensen was campaigning for the alternative and wrote some on the surface polite criticisms of Bishop Davies. That would be the obvious reason for me to prefer Davies. I have written elsewhere that I knew Philip at University and even in those days did not like him and actually told him once he was not a real Anglican.  I think he was pleased.  It would be great if he was soon sacked but, of course, that will not happen but he is only a year younger than me so will soon be 70.
I also read there is an emergent generation of bright young, evangelicals, now in their early 40s, who are still conservative but seem to think for themselves.  Philip must be losing his touch.

Both candidates oppose any teaching role for women in the church. they also agreed they would continue to license women to preach if a parish asked them to, but they would not encourage the practice. Women can only lead Bible studies if a man leads too. If the man was sick, Glenn added, then you would not necessarily need to cancel.

I just find this unbelievable. 

In my youth when I was still an evangelical and the idea of women being ordained was just surfacing.  I am pleased to remember that I was in favour.  I remember arguing with my then rector. He was an old school evangelical. He once reprimanded me that, although I spent most of Sunday at the church with sunday school teaching, Christian Endeavour, afternoon meetings, Youth fellowship and Evening Prayer, I rarely attended 8am Holy Communion so only took Communion once a month in the evening.  In other words, I had imbibed the Evangelical view that preaching was more important than the sacraments.

He was not theologically opposed to women teaching/preaching but believed that if women became priests, men would leave the running of the church to them.

I felt he would be turning in his grave last Sunday.  

In my church in Roslyn, Dunedin, the vicar is on leave.  
At our service last Sunday, our woman associate priest presided and preached. As Jo was ordained while I was in Rome,  it was the first time I have been present when she has presided at the Eucharist so was a time of joy for me.  Barbara, our deacon and a good friend, read the Gospel and carried out the other deacon's duties. Both lessons were read by laywomen  and the prayers of the faithful were led by Verna, the parish licensed lay minister.

A young boy was the crucifer and altar assistant and I think our male church warden assisted with the distribution so some males were involved. :-)

I can find nothing Christlike in those who deny women roles in the church. The current situation in England with flying bishops and no women bishops is ridiculous and, of course, I do not see why any young person, especially women, would be attracted to belong to churches in the Diocese of Sydney except the handful of Anglo-catholic parishes such as St James, King Street.