From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – November 2018

Brian Wood

The Rev’d Gareth Miller

Dear friends,

There has been a spate of TV dramas recently: Bodyguard, The Cry, Killing Eve, the new Doctor Who. I rarely have time to watch a series, but last night, feeling slightly whacked, I sat down with my supper and flicked channels until I came across something that grabbed my attention. It was called ‘Butterfly‘ and centred around the internal dynamics of a family system, and certainly made compelling viewing. I suspect I’ll be back next week. The young boy is struggling with his identity and sexuality. The dad can’t handle this and has withdrawn from the family home and initially embarks upon another relationship. The mum, played by Anna Friel, tries to hold it all together. The daughter/sister is caught between them all.

We tend to think of these issues as modern problems, but I suspect they’ve always been there. The good thing is that by and large we are more open and honest about the complexity of role and gender than we were in the past. What it means to be male and female, or transgender, are openly discussed, but can be unsettling for many. You, like me, probably know many boys who do not fit into the conventional frame of what it means to be masculine. And probably just as many girls who don’t conform to the feminine stereotype. The selection of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court in the USA, and the subsequent scrutiny, highlighted in a very graphic way issues of male power and entitlement as well as the very real concerns raised by the ‘Me Too’ movement.

My reading of the life of Jesus Christ is that he was quick to forgive and slow to condemn. He had a ministry of blessing. That doesn’t mean that we should bless everything, however wacky, in the name of the Church. There are sometimes real and very difficult ethical issues. But it does mean that we have a bias towards generosity and compassionate love. Jesus treated people as individuals and sought to listen and love before he rushed to judgment. We should do the same.