Showing posts from March 15, 2009

Flying many miles

I have taken three very long airplane trips.

In 1973 it was London to Nairobi (with a 24 stopover in Cairo), but a direct flight back. 4228 air miles

In about 1989 it was Boston to Honolulu. I took a flight there, with a brief stop to re-fuel, but I stopped off in San Francisco on the way home. 5089 air miles.

In 2003 or 2004 I flew from Boston to Beirut, with a 12 hour stopover en-route in Frankfurt, and a three day stopover in Germany on the way home. 5430 air miles.

So the longest trip I have taken by air was Boston/Frankfurt/Beirut/ Frankfurt/Boston - 5430 miles each way.

And the longest non-stop was Nairobi to London - 4228 miles.

Just to think - when I was 6 or 7 years old my most exciting journeys were from my home town of Bristol to the seaside town of Weston-super-mare - 22 miles each way!

I’ve also taken some long trips by train and ‘bus. I’ll write about them on Sunday evening.

There will not be a blog entry tomorrow as I’ll be in Fort Myers overnight, so that I can preside…

Other flights

My mother, born in 1913, made about 8 round trips between the U.K. and the U.S.A. I think that she enjoyed them.

One day I said “Mum, I bet your own mother would not have believed you if you’d said ‘One day I will fly to America’

Mum replied “I would not have believed it myself”

Now I have made about 15 or so of those round trips, plus a couple from the U.S.A to Germany, and another to Rome.

And I have taken at least two score flights within these United States.

At one time I thought that these flights were fun. Now I hate them. The cabins are so cramped, and my legs and feet inevitably get to ache, and to be restless. “If only” .... I could afford Business Class.

I’ve also taken three longer trips.

1, From London to Nairobi. (With a bonus layover in Cairo, where I got to see the pyramids and the sphinx.

2. From Bradley International Airport (Hartford Ct/Springfield Ma) to Oahu (Hawaii).

3. From Boston to Beirut, Lebanon.

None of my recent flights have been anything but a chore. But I …

My first flight

My first flight took place when I was about 25 years old. I flew on the old British European Airways (BEA) from Southampton UK, to Jersey in the Channel Islands.

It was on a propeller plane (probably an old Dakota). The flight was for somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes.

I tried to be very cool, and carried my boarding pass in my shirt pocket, as did all the frequent flyers in those days.

Cool though I tried to be, I was so thrilled!

Now, flying is a bore. It’s so tiresome and uncomfortable. ( I recently took 6 flights in 13 days).
Nonetheless I plan to fly to England in May to visit with my family, and to celebrate my 65th

I cannot swim well, and ocean voyages are too expensive. So there is no other way to get to England, and home again.

But I am wistful for those days when flying was an adventure.

When Popes are stupid


In his four years as pope, Benedict had never directly addressed condom use, although his position is not new.

His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, often said that sexual abstinence — not condoms — was the best way to prevent the spread of the disease.

Benedict also said the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of the battle against AIDS.

"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."
The pope said a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease.


What word would you leave with the church on this occasion?

I would commend to the church this Franciscan benediction that I have come to love, because I think it is kind of marching orders for the church in the 21st century:

"May God bless you with discomfort...At easy answers, half truths and superficial rel…

Maybe I will visit my English homeland later this year

...........this scepter’d isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Diocese of South West Florida

It’s an ecclesiastical twilight zone here in the Diocese of South West Florida.

Our Bishop, Dabney T Smith is an affable enough guy. There is nothing not to like about him. But his policies are confusing.

When he licensed me to serve in this Diocese he gladly accepted me for who I am, a Christian, a Priest, a Gay man.

But he vetoed a visit from the Bishop of New Hampshire, the Right Revd. Gene Robinson.

Bishop Smith was never entirely clear why he would not welcome Gene Robinson (our only openly gay Bishop (and a friend of mine).

It “seemed” that Bishop Smith was afraid of the “right wing, anti-women Priest, homophobic” Priests/ Congregations in his Diocese. It seemed that he caved in to their pressure (and maybe their dollars).

As I write, two Bishops from Nigeria are on a “mission” in this Diocese.

A norm of the Anglican Communion is that no Bishop visits a Diocese which is not her/his own without the permission/invitation of the Diocesan Bishop.

Yet these Nigerian Bishops are here without…