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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Wendell Berry speaks at a time of grief

On the day of the funeral service for my mother, after I had led the service, I came across the following poem from Wendell Berry's collection A Timbered Choir": The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 that spoke to me.

A gracious Sabbath stood here while they stood
Who gave our rest a haven.
Now fallen, they are given
To labor and distress.
These times we know much evil, little good
To steady us in faith
And comfort when our losses press
Hard on us, and when we choose,
In panic or despair or both,
To keep what we will lose.

For we are fallen like the trees, our peace
Broken, and so we must
Love where we cannot trust,
Trust where we cannot know,
And must await the wayward-coming grace
That joins living and dead,
Taking us where we would not go - 
Into the boundless dark.
When what was made has been unmade
The Maker comes to his work.
(A Timbered Choir": The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997, II 1985)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Gay marriage?

I have long been promising myself, and anyone else interested in my views to attempt to think through my confusion on the "debate" over "gay marriage". Two deaths in the family in the past month, my mother and my father-in-law, have meant that I haven't had the time or energy to deliver on that promise.

By way of a place marker for my thinking that opens up the public policy questions is the following observation by Symon Hill in a recent column on the Ekklesia website.
At the Ekklesia thinktank, we have long argued that celebrating marriage and making commitments should be separated from the (arguably less important) process of gaining legal recognition. This would mean that people could carry out ceremonies with personal, social and – if important to them – religious significance, with legal registration being a separate process. This would allow supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage to act on their beliefs, to promote them, to publicise them and to seek to persuade others, without being able to use the law to enforce their views on those who disagree.