Thursday, 27 September 2007

Past Times and Pastimes

Imagine the scene. Jesus has just risen from prayer. He has spent all night in prayer in fact. He is tired but refreshed and he has some important things to do! So he sets about the task immediately. He needs to choose a few people as his disciples and not just any old disciples. Oh no! These are gonna be special disciples. Twelve in fact. In fact, twelve to be precise! These people will prove to be the foundations of the church, and play an important part in the post resurrection mission of Christ, sent out to share the gospel and oversee the growing Christian community. But before all of that they have a lot to learn and a long way to travel and the job is a tough one with great responsibilities. How does he choose? Does he have a Myers Briggs Personality Type test for them to complete or an application form with two references? Does he put them through some gruelling role play or ask them to go in front of a panel of experts who fire questions at them? Does he ask them personal questions? Does he ask them about their pastimes and their past times or their family life? Does he need to know their inside leg measurement or put them through a medical? Has he got concerns? Does he ask them if they're gay? How do you choose an Apostle?

The plea by some areas of the Anglican Communion have insisted that the Episcopal Church of the USA do not ordain any bishops who are gay. How will they know unless they are seen mincing down the aisle or wearing crops tops and dancing to Kylie Minogue? In other words, unless they fulfil all the stereotypes. In all this fuss about the consecration of Gene Robinson - has it occured to them that in their past times they may have had a few bishops who happen to have been gay. And not just those single men (and now women) who are gay and whom others have assumed to be celibate. What about the married ones? You know, those married men and women who are either gay or bisexual and are neither 'out and about' nor 'out and put it about.' And do they think that there will be no others? How do you choose an Apostle?

So back to Jesus. There he is, staring across the horizon, looking for men to join his band of pilgrims, men worthy enough to take the gospel message out and about. He sees a few that show potential but he stands back and pauses awhile wondering what they've got up to in their past times and wondering what their pastimes consist of. He hesitates. Maybe their a bit fruity, he thinks to himself. Or maybe, just maybe, he wasn't too bothered. And maybe, just maybe, he sees into their heart and sees them for what they are and knows what they can be. And maybe, just maybe, Jesus has a better idea on how to choose an apostle!

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