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Coronanvirus: A Lament June 4, 2020

Posted by Phil Groom in Church, Current Affairs, Life, Prayer, Watching.
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I was sad when they said to me, “Let us go up to the House of the Lord,” for the great congregation was no more.

I looked and I saw empty spaces where the elders once sat; and widows and orphans sat apart in silence, alone they sat as tears ran down our faces. Together we wept as alone we sat. Loneliness and tears are now our companions, our only friends are sorrow and grief.

Where are you, O Lord God of our ancestors? Where is your great power? Why have you turned your back on your people, walked away and rejected our prayers?

Look with pity on your people, O Lord, and turn back from your rage. Speak, O Lord, into the silence that surrounds us; in the emptiness make your voice heard. We have heard tell of your great love and together we sang your praise; but now we sing alone and our prayers return to us unheard.

Our computer screens mock us and our phone batteries die; our eyes strain and our backs ache. Our minds grow numb and our hands tremble; over keyboards without words our fingers shake. Our mouths turn dry and speech flees from our lips.

Our leaders abandon your ways; lies and deceit spew forth from their mouths. Rules they make and break them saying, “We did the right thing.” Science is their watchword whilst the scientists go unheard; “We follow the data,” they say, whilst truth is twisted and truth speakers are silenced. Hypocrisy reigns and whispers behind closed doors echo across the land.

Surely sadness and grief shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of my sorrow for ever; and we of all the nations on earth are become the most to be pitied.


Broken theology… October 23, 2018

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Life, Poetry, Random Musings, Theological Reflection, Theology.
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My theology is broken.
I am not ashamed of that:
I live in a broken world,
amongst broken people;
and I, too, am broken.

I worship a broken God,
and he (or she) is not ashamed of that:
s/he accepts my broken worship
as her due,
sings along with me
in a broken duet.

She watches over me,
her broken worshipper,
and watches over you,
though you may not know her:
she watches over her whole broken creation
and weeps broken tears.

Why does she not let go,
give up,
let me go
and let you go?

Ah, but she does,
as her tears fall to the broken ground
and gently, gently caress the world to life.

Without her brokenness
there would be
no life,
no world,
no you, no me:
we belong together, broken together.

And broken together, we learn:
we learn to mend, to repair, to rearrange
our broken things and broken hearts.

Do not despair,
my broken ones,
for in the brokenness there is a gap,
a space,
a space for love to flourish
and grow.

It is, of course, a broken love,
but it is true,
for it is real:
there can be no pretence
in brokenness,
no hiding
from the messiness.

Broken am I,
broken are we,
and broken, we welcome all
who are broken
to come, dine with us:
be who you are
and be not ashamed.

In your brokenness find life.
In your brokenness, find wholeness.
Seek no escape now:
the brokenness is real
and the real is what we must face,
head on, heads unbowed.

And if you are foolish enough
to argue theology
with me
and if I am foolish enough
to argue back,
do not expect consistency
or sense,
for my theology is broken,
like me…

Notes from a Gay Christian Woman August 7, 2009

Posted by Emma Jayne in Christianity, Church, Life Issues, Theological Reflection.
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Being gay is not a lifestyle option.

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “Now I shall be gay.” Nor is it about something that I do or how I behave in bed. Being gay is a part of who I am, and when you tell me — in your condescending way — that you hate the sin but love the sinner, you’ve completely missed the point.

Do you tell a black woman that you hate her skin but love the person within? How then can you tell me that you hate my being gay but love me?

But you say that’s different, that she was born that way, whilst I was born — well, what do you know about how I was born? You look at the outside: only God can see the heart.

You say it’s OK to be gay as long as I don’t do gay: that I must remain celibate. You say that sex is for marriage, but you deny me that privilege. You put fences around me — for my protection, you say. But that’s not true, is it? The fences are for your protection, to keep you safe from me, from the threat that I and my friends supposedly present to your nice, clean-cut clearly defined community.

But I won’t play your games. And so you drag me before your angry God, with your stones in hand, ready to throw at his command. “We caught her in the act,” you say.

He looks at me and he looks at you and he shakes his head and bends down to draw a line  in the sand. He writes above the line. He writes below the line. He crosses the line. But you can’t see what he’s writing: you’re standing too far away, not wanting to be contaminated by my ‘sin’ … my lesbian love.

There. I’ve said it. Yes, I’m what you call a ‘dyke’, a woman in love with a woman; and this angry God of yours: he looks at me and he loves me and he understands and he accepts me. He looks at you and offers you the same but somehow the stones in your hands that were meant for me have turned into a hammer and nails for him.

He stands and faces you, holds out his hands.

“We want to help her,” you say.

“Whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already raped her in his heart,” he replies. “Is that how you would help her? By planting your seed in her belly to make more of you? Has she not already been hurt enough?”

I listen, amazed. I look at my body. How little you know, I think. This body of mine that you would take and break and make into one of your own: how little you know. My body — is this my body? It has never bled like other women’s bodies: I have never known that gift, that glory, that … indignity. These seeds you would plant would not grow, could not grow: an infertile field, with no hope of a harvest. But you: what do you see?

“She is evil,” you say. “She has a devil.”

“What?” he asks. “Are you not devils, making these accusations? Is this how you drive out devils?”

He holds out his hands again.

“She is a sinner,” you say. “You’re supposed to say, ‘Go, and sin no more.'”

He smiles. “Go, and sin no more.”

“No,” you say, “to her, not to us. Look — we’re the ones with the stones, the hammer and the nails. We can kill both of you.”

His smile disappears. He holds out his hand, draws me to my feet, whispers, bids me depart: the scene, he tells me, is going to get messy…

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