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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Marriage: Dodgy discipleship?

People will oppress each other-- man against man, neighbour against neighbour. The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honored. - Isaiah 3:5

The Spring 2015 issue of Croeso, the Diocese of Llandaff's news sheet, leads with the Archbishop of Wales' latest hobby horse, same-sex marriage dressed up as pastoral care. If marriage is a state instituted and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one man as husband and one woman as wife, what is there to discuss? The response of the Church in Wales is the usual, what would Jesus do if He met a gay person in Wales today? 

Actually he does, everyday, for anyone who truly believes that Jesus lives. But what we are being led to believe is that Christ would update His teaching on the street today to embrace modern lifestyles. In political terms, if you keep missing the target, change the target.

The Church in Wales is being guided by their Archbishop into what appears to be his ready acceptance of same-sex marriage. If not, wouldn't it have been much simpler to re-state what Christians have believed for centuries as part of their faith? 


"In studying Jesus’ initial encounters with strangers in the Gospels we discover repeatedly his compassionate and immediate response to human need. Where he does pose questions, these are invitational rather than testing: ‘Come and see’, or ‘What is it that you seek?’ Instances of doctrinal or moral challenge are usually issued not by Christ himself, but by the person with whom he speaks. [Para. 139]

"If Christ were born in Wales in 2014 and walked our streets aware of the trembling touch of those who dare not express their need, he would doubtless encounter someone whose sense of exclusion or even guilt were bound up with their experience of a sexuality which in their lifetime had met with
condemnation and disgust." [Para. 140]

In England the Dean of St Paul's has weighed in with: "The Church of England is seen by many as 'toxic' and 'oppressive' because of its stance on women and gays, he said. Some gay Christians had even committed suicide because of the pressure of being told they had to be celibate". Calling for the Church of England to consider what accepting same-sex marriage would mean for the future he says, "We need to consider what the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the Church would mean in reality, and how it would be understood in relation to the theology of Christian marriage and the chequered history of that institution, as well as contemporary social practice around sexuality."

To 'love your neighbour' does not require marriage. Labels such as 'toxic', 'oppressive' and the more customary 'homophobic' are designed to make the innocent feel guilty. For many of us our lives would be the poorer without the friendship of gay people but to believe that marriage is the union of one man and woman for life is not being disloyal, toxic or homophobic even if some find it oppressive.

The Church in Wales 'consultation' has the hallmark of a previous consultation on the Code of Practice, to be ignored if the results are not to the Archbishop's liking. Again it looks as if the Governing Body of the Church in Wales will be expected to deliver the result their Archbishop wants. If I am wrong, the faithful would have been better advised to read such as "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH: RECLAIMING MARRIAGE". 


  1. "Instances of doctrinal or moral challenge are usually issued not by Christ himself, but by the person with whom he speaks." I'm sorry, but Jesus' responses contain challenges to the morality of the world and one of them is most challenging to your Archbishop. “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

  2. But Christ is in all of us and although it may be hidden,it cannot be removed or destroyed. I do not believe in a capricious God ; God is constant,and thus Christ is constant. We should all seek to find the 'constant' within ourselves .Perhaps if we concentrate on this in our own lives and leave aside our censorious ambitions, the Kingdom will come.

  3. Llandaff Pelican1 March 2015 at 14:00

    Sorry, Underground Pewster, but you should know by now not to expect anything rigorous or original when Byzantine Barry starts attempting to spout theology. He has absolutely no new insights, he relies on snatched snippets from the books he has barely opened for 30 years, and comes out with the most inconsequential and posturing bilge you've ever read (or heard).

  4. Coming soon to a Church in Wales near you: "Diocese discusses Polygamy".

    1. Llandaff Pelican2 March 2015 at 10:42

      Well, Anglicanus, you've named the Elephant in the Room, because while the African primates are screaming about homosexuality, they are stony silent about the on-going polygamy that permeates the churches and the countries they serve. In 1968, the Lambeth Conference, acknowledged the widespread incidence of polygamy in the African churches, recognised the cultural situation, and allowed a period of discernment for the situation to be 'normalised.' Since then, it's all gone very quiet - except when it comes to lecturing us about sexuality and money!

    2. I don't think this is very African:

      More likely to happen in Llandaff....

  5. An insider tells me that the consultations in the Bangor Diocese were well lead by Archdeacon Andrew Jones (although he does have an axe to grind!), with sensitive allowance for all sides to make their points and a minimum of negative comment. However, it seems that Jones then told the meeting that another nearby meeting had over forty attend (there were actually about 15) and that it was 95% in favour with just a lone voice against (in fact there were several of the 15-ish against). So it seems the P.C. juggernaut just rolls on, simply crushing any opposition. How long can CiW pretend to be a Christian organisation?

  6. Slightly off topic but relevant to the prevailing situation in the Church in Wales under His ++Darkness.

    Anne Atkins writes a good article about the poverty of the clerics in the C of E.

    She should try living on the stipend paid by the C in W which is considerably worse!
    But Bazza can still find the cash to fund the bilge spouting propaganda machine.

    1. Llandaff Pewster8 March 2015 at 08:56

      Strangely enough, the ears in the Prebendal House walls report that Darth ++Insidious and his homunculus glove puppet are after more of other people's money again.
      Selling off the Memorial hall was not enough it seems.
      The Friends of Llandaff Cathedral have been left some £300k+ by a benefactor who, like others before her, clearly did not want Bazza to get his hands on it and squander it on his pet "projects" or for it to disappear into the black hole of the general fund like some of the Organ appeal monies.
      No sooner than His ++Darkness and the glove puppet learn of it the Cathedral Friends are bombarded with "requests" for funding and are having to hold extra meetings to discuss the "requests".

    2. You're on the money again LP.
      Some of the grumblings on The Green this morning concern the glove puppets "requests" as you put it and I hear he wants £20k for new lights in the choir stalls.
      £20k no less. For the choir that can't manage to pull off Darke in F.
      It would be cheaper to send them all to Specsavers.

    3. It's not many years ago since the Cathedral spent over £400k on rewiring the building and installing an intelligent/programmable Lutron lighting system.
      Is Bazza's golf caddy seriously suggesting that the expert lighting architects and engineers forgot to put desk lights in the choir stalls?
      B&Q do a nice range in AnglePoise lamps for about £25 a pop.
      He's only advertising for 6 new singers, so £500 should cover it plus another £500 to install the necessary wiring and a few plug sockets.
      So why does he really need the other £19k?

    4. One assumes the £20k for choir lights would be in addition to the £25k he's already after to pay for his new scab Cathedral Choir?

    5. Don't the Friends have a duty of care to ensure their monies are spent morally and ethically?
      Why would they be willing to give any money to help the glove puppet pay singers that will be only be offered those widely discredited zero hours contracts with no employment rights or protection from an unscrupulous employer like Llandaff Cathedral?

    6. Lux Et Veritas9 March 2015 at 20:03

      The mention of architects and engineers is most interesting as one hears more stories of His ++Darkness following his usual modus operandi and ditching those who don't give him the answers he wants to hear.
      The grumblings on the Green mention Acanthus Clews of Oxford have been dismissed, although the suspicion is that they have not yet been told. Bazza's new architects are reportedly Purcells of Bristol.
      Does this have anything to do with the Capon reportedly refusing to sign off minutes for the Cathedral fabric committee?

    7. @Teilo
      I am reliably informed that the Dark one's glove puppet also wants to tap up the Friends for funding a "Development" officer, whatever that is meant to be. Perhaps that's the new job for Mr Toad?

    8. I'd heard the glove puppet is looking to employ a full time fund raiser. Does he want both?

    9. @1662, probably, empire and / or reputation building has been a Llandaff trait for many a year.

      I am led to understand that the glove puppet doesn't really need the £25 for a choir because he can't actually fill the 6 posts advertised by Bielby on the scrap of paper posted by the west door. I now hear the deputy Chapter Clerk was supposed to be drawing up right and proper job descriptions, terms and conditions, legal contracts and so on but because the arch ++socialist doesn't like things done properly in his Cathedra when it comes to employment rights, he has apparently passed the job on to the personnel department at 39 Cathedral Road.

    10. Only in Llandaff13 March 2015 at 19:22

      Salary for a development officer, circa £60k?
      Basic salary for a professional fund raiser plus commission, say another £50k?
      Subsidy for the music department, £25k.
      At that rate of expenditure Bazza's golf caddy will have blown the recent generous bequest to the Friends of Llandaff Cathedral in about 3 years and not a brick nor a slab of stone will have been repaired and not a roof slate or a strip of lead replaced!
      Just as well their Treasurer, Sir Donald Walters, has already laid down a marker about how he thinks the bequest should, and more importantly should not, be used.
      Perhaps someone ought to tell the wannabe spendthrift to expect a reply on the 16th that just might involve travel and sex.

    11. Well there's a surprise. When it comes to employment law and employee rights they're as crooked as Bazza and his daughter Lucy.

      Here's a little example of the Bazza modus operandi that goes on in 39 Cathedral Road.


      To: Karen Phillips

      From: John Shirley 21 May 2001

      [**** ********]

      I spoke to [****] today on his return from leave. I advised him that:

      - [**** *******] has agreed to stand aside from the role of IT Manager and from any
      day-to-day management responsibilities. However a continuing role (with an, as yet,
      unspecified time limit) is envisaged with John working from home and focusing on the

      - there is therefore a vacancy for an IT Manager;

      - [****] (assuming he is interested) will form a shortlist of one but the three of us need
      to have a semi formal discussion before the appointment is made. This will be held
      as soon as possible but cannot be until we are both back from leave. It therefore
      needs to be as soon as possible in the week of 11 June.

      I think [****] was pleased to hear this news albeit that it cannot be ratified for a few more
      weeks yet.

      He asked me about two things. First, he is very anxious to get ahead with recruitment to the
      other two ‘maintenance’ posts. To speed things along I suggested that he should start drafting
      job descriptions and discuss them with you on your return. Secondly he asked whether it had
      been made clear to [****] that the intention is to bring in someone else on the
      analyst/programmer side to work alongside John. I told him that it had been and that [****] is
      fully supportive of this.

      I hope this gives you enough to go on when you return. I told [****] that you were preparing
      a job description for his post.


      J M Shirley

      PS If the ‘interview’ with [****] could be on Monday, 11 June we might be able to confirm
      him in post before the senior staff meeting the next morning. This would be good. Just a

      PPS [**** *******’s] email confirming his acceptance of my letter of 16 May is attached.

    12. @RB Insider
      Assuming the memo you have posted is genuine, the revelation of the goings on in the RB between the Provincial Secretary and the head of Personnel are nothing less than scandalous.
      Clearly neither of them had the slightest regard for the relevant employment legislation, due process or fair play.
      The 'interview'?
      Clearly Shirley knew what he was up to when he put the word interview into quotes.
      A 'shortlist of one'?
      A 'semi formal discussion'?
      'preparing a job description' for HIS post?
      Obviously the vacancy had been stitched up beforehand.
      The Provincial Secretary should be dismissed immediately for gross misconduct in office and bringing the Representative Body of the Church in Wales into disrepute.

      Isn't Karen Phillips supposed to be a member of CIPD, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development?
      Surely she should have advised Shirley that his proposals were illegal?
      Having been so advised, if Shirley ignored her she should have either reported him to the appropriate authorities or resigned in protest to protect her own position and reputation!
      Surely a dereliction of duty.
      It seems yet another nest of vipers has been revealed at the heart of what is supposed to be a Christian community.

    13. Llandaff Pewster14 March 2015 at 09:44

      The ears in the Prebendal House walls also report that the Capon managed to wheedle out of the Friends over £12.5k to pay for rewiring PLUS another £20k towards the new kitchen in the Prebendal House.

    14. If there was still any lingering doubt there can be none now.
      His ++Darkness presides over a rotten borough - rotten from the very top.
      Previous Bishops of Llandaff must be spinning in their graves.

    15. @Only in Llandaff
      Why would the Friends spend more good money after bad by giving the Dean another £25k for the music 'department'?
      What did their hard earned cash buy in 2014?
      Moorhouse and a few boys for 10 months, the Friends of Cathedral Music's Christopher Gower and his secret "Organ Scholar" neither of whom bothered to show up followed by Bielby and the mercenary scab singers for 2 months.
      Outstanding value for money!
      A large dose of realism is long overdue in Llandaff.
      The 'A' grade Cathedral choir that recorded the 'Majestas' CD have dispersed forever.
      When Llandaff Cathedral had an 'A' grade choir they went largely unappreciated.
      The 'B' grade Cathedral choir of burger flippers that existed during the penultimate year of Moorhouse's tenure was a pale shadow of the former choir.
      The 'C' grade choir was Moorhouse and the few boys that remained following the scandalous redundancies.
      And Llandaff is now served by a 'D' rated group that can't manage Darke in F.
      The suspicion is that Bielby will leave after July, so then what?
      The Parish choir and the Merbecke singers can at least manage to perform Darke in F.
      So exactly what do the Friends think they will get now for their £25k?
      Rumour has it that Norman Lloyd-Edwards thinks we have a Cathedral Choir once more which is performing splendidly. If so, he must have cloth ears!

    16. Llandaff Pewster15 March 2015 at 18:59

      Praise be, a Sunday without music by that obscure composer Bielby.
      Is it appearing on the music scheme so often because nobody will be familiar with it and will not be able to tell if it has gone awry during performance?
      Or is it just shameless self publicity?

    17. Before the Council of the Friends of Llandaff Cathedral decide on whether or not to give the Capon a single penny, one hopes they will have the foresight to ask for the findings of the recent drone fly-by.

      "Drones help keep an eye on roof repairs"