Tuesday, August 29, 2006

An ecumenical matter

As Father Jack would call it. I went to a christening on Sunday in a Roman Catholic Church. One of the godmothers was Jewish. Seeing that neither of the child's parents was RC of a kind that Benedict XVI would find acceptable, it didn't seem to matter.

Over refreshments in the local public hall, I half-apologized to the said godmother for not wearing my pro-Israel badge. Actually I don't have one, but if I did I would wear it with conviction. She was dumbfounded, and incredibly, even embarrassingly, grateful for my support. I told her I'd feel the same way about any small liberal democracy seeking to defend itself against violently hostile neighbours.

She was appalled at the ignorance and prejudice of so many British people who blamed Israel for the recent conflict, and described the sinking feeling she usually got when meeting friends who verbally abused her homeland without regard for her own patriotic feelings.

It must have been like the feeling I had minutes later when she expressed her disgust at lesbian sexuality. I am the father of a daughter who counts herself a member of that sisterhood.

One thing I really envy about followers of Judaism is that they have a religion that ends in 'ISH'. Now that I like. It's so nicely vague. Jew-ish. It makes me want to come out as christ-ish, social-ish, anarch-ish, individual-ish, human-ish. Great idea!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Off in a motor-car

We're off. We're off. We're off in a motor-car.
Fifty cops are after us, and they don't know where we are.

This is what we sang as we set off on the most exciting journeys of our childhood - by chara(banc) from Manchester to Blackpool. The words and music are in my mind as I begin this new and much later journey. Not now as free, or perhaps quite as excited, as then, but, I hope, not too careful or correct, and with enough enthusiasm to draw others into the conversation.

What kind of vehicle a blog is, where and how far we might travel in it, its possibilities and its limitations, are I suppose some of the questions that the world is beginning to answer, to which we will add our own experiences, both good and not so good.

Welcome aboard!