Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Circuit meeting and brokeback mountain

On saturday we had our circuit meeting, where members representing all the methodist churches in the sheffield(west) circuit meet to discuss various issues. Recently we started trying a new experimental format for the meeting, as the previous evening meetings used to go on well into the night and were tiring. Now we hold the meeting on a saturday, starting with some opening worship to remind us why we are gathering. This is followed by some business, and then for an hour before lunch we split into groups to discuss various issues. This is a great way of meeting other people from around the circuit, and enables us to come up with some ideas and recommendations for the meeting, which can then be ratified in the afternoon business. During this time, the ordained members of the meeting serve us with tea, coffee and biscuits. A free lunch is provided and results in more time for fellowship with others, plus any reports from the group discussion can be prepared. After hearing the reports, further business is conducted, before the meeting concludes with a further act of worship. On the down side this new format does take up a fair amount of time on a saturday, but I think the benefits outweigh this.

At this meeting I joined a group discussing conversing and the 'time to talk of god' report. I found it a very useful and stimulating time of conversation, and we highlighted, amongst other things, the need for local preachers to pick up on items of current affairs that may result in conversations about God in the coming weeks. For example, what we might make of tony blair's comment that god will be the judge of his decision to invade iraq.

In the evening I went to see brokeback mountain at the cinema with a friend. I'd been meaning to see it for a while, see if it lived up to the hype. It didn't, despite some nice cinematography, I found the storyline a little disjointed as it tried to cram in details from the lives of these two cowboys over a period of several years. The onscreen chemistry between the two cowboy lovers seemed to take a while to ignite, and it seemed to start out of the blue, without any obvious feeling of affection or love between the parties. The storyline particularly highlighted the effects that society has on driving a loving homosexual relationship to the fringes of society. Causing people to be dishonest, leading double lives, as they try to fulfil their love without receiving the hatred of a bigotted society. Whatever theological stance one might have on this issue, to me it is clear that god would not wish such duality to cause bitterness and harm in a variety of ways, some of which are highlighted in this film. Thus i think the church, as witnesses of god through christ, should oppose societies hatred or bigotry towards homosexuals. Something that enrages me whenever I see coverage in the popular tabloid press, who claim not to be homophobic, yet produce huge headlines should anyone be 'caught' having a homosexual relationship.

This is my 200th post!

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