I said, It’s like a screwed up ball of paper. Crinkled, creased, damaged and torn. If you unfurled it, flattened it, ironed it. It would still bear the marks of the damage. It would still be unusable, irreparable, defective. It would be better to find a new blank page, To begin again.
She said, I prefer a screwed up piece of paper to a blank page. Every line tells a story, every tear honours a scar. Every crease maps a journey, every mark speaks a truth. A blank page is uninteresting, without form or pattern. Voiceless, shapeless, plain. Screwed up paper shows it can be reformed, reshaped, remade. You can still be screwed up, and begin again.
How can we see the bible through a progressive lens? For many of us who have deconstructed faith, or seen the bible used to harm or control, how can we reimagine our relationship with it? For this talk given at Oasis Church Bath, I explore the purpose and place of the bible in our lives.
A poem written in memory of my Grandmother, and read out at her funeral.
Another Christmas Day came, This one not the same. We didn’t want you alone in the old people’s home, So we gathered all together at my brother’s house And you sat in the corner as quiet as a mouse.
By then dementia was doing its thing You’d point and say “who’s that? There, him!” “Do you know that lady? Look there’s a baby!” The long-term memories you seemed to retain, But shorter term things were like treasure mislaid.
So I knew what was coming as I sat by your side, You asked “who’s that lady?” I replied, “Gran that’s my wife”. Your face filled with shock, Eyes locked, jaw dropped. You laughed “don’t be silly, she’s not, you what?!”
I began to worry you’d reject not accept me, Or worse still rebuke and correct me. Or say being gay just wasn’t right in your day, Despite years ago telling me you thought it was ok. Instead you took my hand as your eyes filled with love, And said ‘as long as you’re happy dear, well that’s enough’.
Relief flooded through me, the conversation was done, Christmas resumed with food, presents and fun. I didn’t know minutes later the same question would come, Then every twenty minutes till the day was done. I’ve never come out so many times in one day, I should’ve worn a t-shirt saying REMEMBER I’M GAY!
So now as it’s time to say goodbye, I think often of that Christmas gone by. How that moment is perfection in its reflection of you. Your unedited acceptance of the person I am, I won’t ever forget it, or you, lovely Gran.
Progressive Christianity is an evolving part of the Christian faith, and one of the four defining characteristics of the church I lead – Oasis Church Bath. In this talk given at Oasis, I try to define what progressive Christianity is.
A recorded version of the talk given at an LGBT+ Carol Service in Bath 2021, held in partnership between Oasis Church Bath, St Stephen’s Church and Christ Church. I focus on LGBT+ people as a gift to the world, as Christ was a gift from God to the world.