So this is a slightly different way of blogging. No drafts, no plan of where the post is going, just an open text box, a drink by my side and a wrenching feeling in my heart. There will be blogs tonight with some brilliant analysis of the vote, there will be blogs tonight with some excellent ideas for the next steps. I’ll read them in the morning, when the drink will be coffee instead of something that washes the edges off this feeling. So first of all; prayer. Thinking of all those who have worked so hard, especially over recent months to make this happen. Lord comfort their exhausted spirits. There’s a Psalm that says something like “O Lord this is just shit but you are like a rock / fortress / mother / shepherd” yeah that one. Next for those who feel, quite understandably, that their ministry, their future and their place in the church has been called into question by this. Lord hold them close to your chest. And Lord, in your time lift up their chins to your warm motherly eyes and let them hear the deep and affirmative “yes” from your heart. Next for those of us tempted to anger, bring your peace, may we recognise in those who voted “no” their faithfulness and sense of duty. May we love them in the breaking of bread and in the kindness of our words, when they are with us and when they are not. Next, thinking about the C of E and me. I have been on the strangest journey these last few months. Married to an Anglican, father of three Anglicans, friends with many for whom Anglicanism is not so much a choice as the default place in which the Anglican way breaking of bread is just normal rather than exotic, strange and “other.” Last Tuesday broke bread with Canon Jane Hedges at the shrine of Edwad the Confessor (I think) at Westminster Abbey, this lunchtime did the 1662 Eucharist at Town Church with a fantastic (female) priest. Have about five books on the go about the Anglican church, priesthood and history. Still have my “22 reasons why not to get ordained / confirmed in the Cof E” in my journal. Still probably believe them with equal intellectual strength. On the face of it stupidity like today makes the CofE a place I’d like even more strongly not to be associated with, and yet what is this nagging feeling? what is the Spirit’s call in this place? Nobody joins the CofE to change it and I don’t think that is what I’m feeling. I think its more a feeling of looking at guys like +Tim Dakin and +(+) Justin Welby and Jonny Scott and saying “I will go where you will go”. In the past I could look at guys like Tom Wright and think “you don’t really represent the mainstream Cof E, so I can love your work without having to face the association with the uglier parts of the old dear”. Now I don’t feel that distinction is viable. I want to weep with those whose church has been damaged by this as an insider, not an outsider. I still don’t know what to do about the royal stuff and the military stuff and the rest, but I feel happier for that to be a problem on the other side of the decision, not a barrier to making the decision. I suppose it was like that a bit with Jesus, over twenty years ago. Taking the step to follow him, not in denial of of the reality of the crusades and inquisitions and bookburning and the like, but in acceptance of them all, and overwhelmed by the presence of the Spirit and waves of giddy, bone-deep, love, and joy, and peace. So throwing my lot in with the CofE its not like following Jesus, but I suppose its a question of where one’s focus is and dealing with the stuff all in good time. That’s probaby enough for now. Compline has never been more welcome. Jesus I really haven’t a clue what all this is about, and that’s probably OK for the first time in ages. Probably need to delete this stupid post in the morning and put up something I can read again. That’s enough.