Archive for June, 2016

I love Irish music. I don’t care what it is, everything from the Dubliners through to Goats Don’t Shave (yes that’s a band name). I spent a few years playing in an Irish band in Irish pubs. I made a good few friends. The band I now play in, we play a lot of Irish numbers.

I’d like to to tell you about the “terrible” behaviour of the Irish football fans in Euro 2016, so far they have Fixed someone’s car roof, putting money in the car to pay for the damage caused when an Irish fan jumped on it to get extra height, they have sung quiet lullabies to a baby on a train and shushed other people. They have sung in support of the french police when they came to move them on. So different from the terrible attacks of the Russian and English fans. They always sing, you can’t stop them singing about what they are doing.

If you see Irish fans with their Green white and orange flags you know that they are up to good. They are charming the world and they are coming to clear up your litter. Their song is “Green Lad’s picking up Litter”, “Stand up for the French Police” and “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” along with others.

Orlando Shootings

The small LGBT Christian fellowship I am honoured to be part of it had  a vigil for the Orlando victims, we read out each person and their age and remembered all those who suffer because the are LGBT, sometimes at the hands of people that call themselves “Christians”.

We had a visitor to our group, a trainee Baptist Pastor, he wasn’t gay but he was upset with the way that the Baptist church had dealt with the whole thing and in fact was dealing with LGBT people. He prayed at the end that the church would learn to be like our group, welcoming anyone who needed a safe place.

To Love.

So what, might you ask, have these two things in common? Both groups have  a binding interest, faith, and simply being Irish, simply being.

I hope that the church will learn from both the wonderful Irish about singing and doing good and from the wonderful members of the LGBT group about being accepting. Imagine a church who’s colours and song was that it was a safe place for all people and that when they sang you knew they were helping someone out.

1 Cor 13.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 
10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love.
Paul (not the apostle)
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A safe place.

Posted: June 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

When I was younger no one knew that when I said I was “going out with some friends”, it often meant a trip to a gay bar in London.

This would probably have shocked many of the religious people from the church I attended. But it was my “terrible secret”. About a year ago I went back to one of the gay bars I used to go to, Ku Bar in London. It had changed a lot from the place I went to when I was younger. For a start, there were a whole lot more straight people there.

A gay bar is nothing more than a bar where gay people feel safe. Nothing happens there that wouldn’t happen anywhere else. One of my favourite places, although I don’t get to go there often is a pub in Watford near me, again, although you would see perhaps gay people sitting more close to each other or holding hands. There’s nothing really that would shock you unless you can’t cope with other people being loving to each other.

I remember talking to one of the singers in the pub in Watford and he was a grandfather, he told me that he was straight and didn’t really get the gay thing, but he said they were the best audience to play for.

So if you go to a gay bar or pub, you’ll just find it like any other bar. It might take a bit of getting used to that you will see people of the same sex cuddling up to each other. But the drinks are the same. You never know, you might make some new friends.

“A safe place, where you can truly be yourself”

If only church felt like this. (Where I go to church actually does, but other churches I’m not so sure).

Love

Paul

 

I am deeply upset about Orlando. About the shootings, about ISIS, about all of it.

I was, however wondering about those “conservative” believers who believe that gay people are going to hell. That the madman that shot 49 people and died himself is in fact “doing God a favour” as Jesus put it at the end of the beatitudes.

The problem with Orlando, with those views, is that there is no fence. You either love the people concerned with an unconditional, sacrificial love as Christ would, or you celebrate their religious execution as fulfilling your desire for a completely heterosexual world, the world that you think would please God. Or would it?

Those who died thought they were in a safe place, the church, should be, a safe place but so many LGBT people don’t feel it is, they feel they will be pressured to miraculously become straight. What might surprise you is that if you go to a gay bar no one will pressure you to become gay.

At this time we may upset the leaders of the day by putting compassion above rules, Just like Jesus would. For Jesus healing was more important than the sabbath laws, for him bringing people to his safe place meant going to where they were and opening the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven, not slamming them in the persons face.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Let’s pray and hope that Orlando perhaps will bring Christians to understand that rejecting someone because they might be “different” from you, even if you can back it up with the Bible, doesn’t make it right.

Love

Paul.