Justin here, and I must admit to certain feelings of disquiet; those little lumps of discord which so often disturb the serenity of our day to day dealings with our fellow men. And women. Actually though, thinking about the female part of the eternal equation, I am in fact pleased to help celebrate twenty years of female clergy in the Church of England. Of course, there are those within our communion who do not share my happiness and imagine that the Almighty intended that only men might carry the word. Why they should think so is quite beyond me, apart perhaps, as the young man with the wire in his ear puts it, that they are a bunch of nutters. Who knows?
But I am exercised by recent remarks made by our Prime Minister about the religious leanings of our country, namely that this sceptred isle should regard itself as a Christian nation, when it so patently is not. One of the central planks of Christianity – certainly of the Anglican faith – is that of toleration. Catholics are rather more hard-nosed of course and like things such as self-flagellation, which can cause blindness, apparently. Ours is a multi-faith society. We tolerate beliefs other than our own. We stoically put up with the slaughtering of goats and – from some seriously weird types, the non-celebration of Christmas or that life on earth began only 6000 years ago. It is the job of the Anglican faith to put up with these lunatics, and when preaching to them fails, to accept them. As the Rev. Goodchild B Leverett of Memphis Tennessee stated so succinctly, “We’s all God’s chillun.”
Meanwhile, on a far, far more earthly level, and at the risk of repetition, I am becoming increasingly anxious about the looming cloud of HS2. Just as I believe that Our Lord was indeed crucified and came back from the dead, I am utterly convinced that this ridiculous railway scheme will rob the poor to make the rich richer and visit all manner of sorrows upon those whose humble homes lie in the path of this inhuman juggernaut. At this juncture I should point out that the young man with the wire in his ear has been reading over my shoulder as I type, and his, “That’s bollocks that, Archie,” has not helped my concentration.
But then he is young. Just as our Prime Minister is young. They do not remember the heroic days of 1966 when this great nation carried all before it on the ribbons of the Jules Rimet trophy; when She Loved You, Yeah, yeah, yeah (slightly earlier) trilled from our wirelesses, and great belching, snorting steam locomotives served commerce and coalmines alike, and railway lines went clackety-clack, clackety-clack instead of the bland silence of modern welded track.
So, what would Jesus have done? Well, in terms of HS2 I’d like to think He’d been like a latter-day Jesse James, and confound that accursed railway at every turn by causing the wrong type of snow to fall, whilst I feel sure that the Son of God would be more than able to co-exist with other religions, no matter how nutty. Just so long as He didn’t make too much of a fuss and got done in all over again.