Saturday, 11 June 2011

Wisdom from the fabulous Desmond Tutu

The following is excerpted from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu's new book, 'God Is Not A Christian: And Other Provocations'.

Archbishop Tutu dissents from the official policies of most of the world's Anglican churches, which hold that gays and lesbians should be celibate; and in the years since his retirement as archbishop of Cape Town he has become one of the world's most prominent figures pleading for a change in the attitudes of religious institutions toward human sexuality.
Tutu's position is reflected in excerpts from a newspaper article and a sermon preached in Southwark Cathedral, London, in 2004.

A student once asked me, If I could have one wish granted to reverse an injustice, what would it be? I had to ask for two. One is for world leaders to forgive the debts of developing nations which hold them in such thrall. The other is for the world to end the persecution of people because of their sexual orientation, which is every bit as unjust as that crime against humanity, apartheid.
This is a matter of ordinary justice. We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about -- our very skin. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups. 
I am proud that in South Africa, when we won the chance to build our own new constitution, the human rights of all have been explicitly enshrined in our laws. My hope is that one day this will be the case all over the world, and that all will have equal rights. For me this struggle is a seamless robe. Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination against women is a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a matter of justice.
It is also a matter of love. Every human being is precious. We are all -- all of us -- part of God's family. We all must be allowed to love each other with honor. Yet all over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are persecuted. We treat them as pariahs and push them outside our communities. We make them doubt that they too are children of God. This must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy. We blame them for what they are.
Churches say that the expression of love in a heterosexual monogamous relationship includes the physical -- the touching, embracing, kissing, the genital act; the totality of our love makes each of us grow to become increasingly godlike and compassionate. If this is so for the heterosexual, what earthly reasons have we to say that it is not the case with the homosexual?
The Jesus I worship is not likely to collaborate with those who vilify and persecute an already oppressed minority. I myself could not have opposed the injustice of penalizing people for something about which they could do nothing -- their race -- and then have kept quiet as women were being penalized for something they could do nothing about -- their gender; hence my support for the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate.

Equally, I cannot keep quiet while people are being penalized for something about which they can do nothing -- their sexuality. To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as apartheid ever was.

Friday, 10 June 2011







(Be Grateful!)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Emperor's New Clothes.

The fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a powerful and truthful critique of the nature of governmental/political power.  

It is ever so apt with regard to what the media pundits are calling “The Arab Spring”.

There is no Arab Spring. There is a ton of nakedness in Middle Eastern and North African Arab states.

1.     *  Hosni Mubarak is no longer the head honcho in Egypt: that is true. But for now Egypt is a quasi military dictatorship.

2.       * There is no clear evidence that Tunisia is in any way approaching some manner of representative democracy.

3.      *  The Sunni elite in Bahrain is effectively silencing the Shia under-class.

4.        *Yemen is a basket case of a “State” and will probably always be so. Clan and tribal loyalties will always be the determinant in that country.

5.        *For reasons which I do not understand, NATO has decided to back the rebels in Libya.  There is no doubt that Khadafy is a ghastly, cruel and paranoid leader, but there is also no certainty that the rebels have any sense of representative government.  NATO is “backing the unknown” which in the end may be no better than the known.

6.       * The protestors in Syria are amongst the most courageous in all of this mythical “Arab Spring”.  They are resisting what is probably the most repressive regime in the Middle East.  May Allah/God be with them as they protest injustice in the face of guns, tanks, planes and spooks.

*Regretfully there is also no Western Spring. The forces of “national security” are more powerful than those of the elected governments in the U.S.A. and the U.K. 

British and American citizens also live under repressive regimes.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Great adventures

I have been blessed with so many opportunities to take great adventures.

It all started when I was about 26 years old when I took a CYFA (Church Youth Fellowship Association) via Christ Church Clifton Bristol to Oberstdorf in the Bavarian Alps. It was my first time out of the United Kingdom, and it gave me a thirst for travel.

That trip included excursions through Austria and Switzerland.   

Since then I have been able to savour visits to Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany and Greece.

In 1973 I took a trip to Kenya and Tanzania (with an un-planned and enjoyable 24 hour stopover in Egypt).

Within North America I have been in Canada and Mexico.

I spent some good time in the Honduran Republic (in Central America) back in about 1999.

Last year I was on the South American continent in Ecuador.

And in about 2003/2004 cI was able to spend ten glorious days in The Lebanon – a Middle Eastern country which is geographically part of Asia.

O my golly.  I have been in the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

There are two others: Antarctica and Australasia.

My next great adventure will be a visit to Australia in late October/early November.  There I will visit friends in Melbourne and Sydney.

After that trip I will have visited 6 of the 7 continents.

I have no plans to go to Antarctica.

India, Norway, Brasil, and Costa Rica are still in my bucket list!

Monday, 6 June 2011

In the midst of lfe we are in death

1.         It’s been overcast all day (June 6th 2011) here in SRQ.  I/we’d hoped for rain, but there has been not a drop.

2.        “Scottie” Jacobs is one of my neighbours. She “celebrated?”  her 98th birthday yesterday at a party to which I was invited.  It was a gentle and lovely time.  But dammit, I do not wish to live another 31 years until I reach her current age.

3.    I’ll be happy to pass from this life sometime between now and my 75th birthday.

4.   Jeanne and Eugene Beekley are my near neighbours.   Eugene has been a Pastor in the “Church of the Brethren”, and a USAF Chaplain.  He passed from this life a couple of days ago at aged 93.  I plan to attend his funeral service.