Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reviews #Firstcut 'Father Ray Comes Out' on @Ch4insider

"I'd miss everything about my ministry. If I wasn't here doing this, I don't know who I'd be"

Religious ministry appears, from the outside, to be a challenging task.  You give your live to worshipping a God and leading others to meet God.  However, along the way you change, the world changes and, unlike many secular jobs, there may not be much 'wriggle room' to alter your focus or indeed your drive.  While there have been many famous 'doubters' who become almost atheist, there is a second realm - one that also touches the very centre of the being - that proves more difficult to cross.

Human sexuality is an oft-misunderstood thing.  Within religion it goes beyond the individual and becomes wrapped up in the corporate.  Who does what, with who and why suddenly becomes less a moment of personal decision, more a physical outpouring of an understanding of scripture.  So what do you do when you realise that practicing your own sexuality may run counter to the teachings of the church you work for, and its understanding of the God you worship?  

Father Ray Comes Out was a sensitive exploration of this .  Centring on Father Ray, an Anglican minister based in the Southwark Diocese of London, the documentary explored the preparation required to 'come out' to your congregation from the pulpit.   While slow to start, once we'd learnt about Ray,  his background his monologues to camera became gripping, slowly peeling back the layers to reveal the human behind the collar.  
I don't want to die with a feeling of self reject, self hatred......my silence is complicate in the suffering of others
Indeed the film got to the very core of vocational work.  What happens if your put yourself into a job out of love, passion and care and through the very act of revealing yourself you are open to rejection.  Rejection

"I'm a homosexual and an alcoholic. In our culture those are not things you bring up at dinner parties"

"I don't belive in a God who rejects and punishes people for the way they are"

There were moments within that were uncomfortable- I was unsure about the clear profiling of certain people (of African descent) who may be unhappy with his sexuality - but overall it was a compelling bit of television. So called theological debate can, so often, end up in reams of paper and ignore the basic reality. We are a community of individuals trying to balance our faith, and our journey yet to make and our day to day expereince. Somehow, in an oddly moving way, this film managed just to balance all of that.

Watch the programme today via Channel 4 OD

Monday, February 14, 2011

War on Want (2)

Morning all

Last Sunday I profiled the work of War on Want. Since then the charity has released a special 60th anniversary letter, also looking for a response. Beneath are two things

i) The text to read

ii) A link that enables you to sign the letter.

Please, sign it today and lets continue to support organisations that tackle the causes of war and poverty.
Sixty years ago, the Guardian carried a letter from the publisher Victor Gollancz calling for people to join him in an urgent campaign against world poverty and militarism. Britain was fighting an unwinnable war in Asia, the Korean War, and Gollancz asked all who agreed with his call for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict to send him a postcard marked with the single word ‘yes’. Within a month 10,000 people had responded, and War on Want was born.
Today Britain is mired in another unwinnable war in Asia, this time in Afghanistan. As detailed in War on Want's new report on Afghanistan, the Afghan people are paying a terrible price for the ongoing occupation of their country. The surge in military activity has led not to more security but to greater insecurity, both in Afghanistan itself and in neighbouring Pakistan as well. Opinion polls consistently show over 70 per cent of British people now support the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, either ‘immediately’ or ‘soon’.
We, the undersigned, believe that the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan is against the interests of the Afghan people. We call for the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, and a negotiated settlement which guarantees self-determination, security and human rights for the Afghan people.
If you agree please join us by adding your name.

Sign the letter today