Sometimes things move quickly, sometimes they move slowly.
Sometimes things are achieved quietly, sometimes they need howls of protest.
Sometimes a tipping point comes.
My own journey in thinking this one through took a very long time, and still hasn't moved far enough or fast enough for some people, but this from the US seems pretty important and significant to me.
I still accept the disicpline of the BUS and BUGB on this, as other matters, and I am still committed to working with my local congregation for full inclusion of all people, LGBTQI+ or otherwise. We might move like a mighty tortoise, but we do move.
This morning I have packed, and either posted or put aside to be handed over in person, around 20 of the around 500 books culled from my shelves. All resource books for small group study, they are headed off to six different women in Baptist ministry across the UK. Over the next few weeks more books will be offered in more contexts, and hopefully many more people will find something they actually want to own, at least for a while.
It is kind of strange having spent most of my life acquiring and treasuring 'stuff' that I now quite happily pass it on to others and enjoy the resultant space without an overwhelming need to fill it (even if I have bought three new books this week!)
Looking forward to revisiting these books (or parts of them) as I prepare for the next couple of services "What Language Shall I Borrow" (2nd June) and "Bring Many Names" (16th June). In between I have an 'away' preach for Pentecost in Fife, which will be quite different!!
Having time to set aside to read is really good, and really important - so I will savour it!
Another fairly ruthless book cull taking place... something like 400 items so far and still some sifting/checking for duplicates to go before I can start reorganising my library.
The logic for keeping has been fairly clear (and owes little or nothing to Marie Kondo or other 'declutter your life' gurus)...
Is this a book I need to do my job to the best of my ability
Is this a book that is worth keeping because I'd happily lend to to others
Is this a book that has significant sentimental value
Is this a book I'd like to have by my bed in a care home, hospital or hospice (read nothing into that, it's simply the result of clearing my Mum's flat and then her room)
It's a tad embarrassing how many duplicates I have, to say nothing of the total disorder with books having been reshelved hurriedly when my office was relocated to home. It will be nice to have space for new books - but I need to think seriously about a one-in one-out policy gong forward.
It's 1969 and a six year-old girl stands next to her mother at the till of a supermarket in Northampton. Money is tight, but children need to be fed. A lady in an orange overall rings up the total, money is counted out, change given, bags are lifted... and two small slabs of fruit cake wrapped in cellophane are handed to the mother. On the plastic wrapping are printed birthday candles - this company is marking its centenary and giving its customers a slice of cake to mark the occasion. The kind lady at the till gives two cakes, because she knows this woman has many mouths to feed. Reaching home the cake is admired, opened and shared as a rare treat - bought cake doesn't happen often in this household!
It's 2019 and a fifty-six year-old woman stands at the checkout of a supermarket in Glasgow. She has enough money to indulge in a few treats as well as the essentials. A lady in a burgundy fleece scans the items, a card is put in a reader, a PIN tapped in and the shopping trolley zipped up... "don't forget to pick up your tea and biscuit on the way out" the lady says - this company is marking its 150th anniversary, and gives its customers a gift to mark the occasion. Reaching home the items are photographed and the images shared on social media. The woman smiles at the retro-packing, recalling when this was normal, and she was a child. She anticipates a mug of tea and a ginger biscuit - but not yet, there are memories to savour and stories to be told.
Some will say it's a waste, that the company should have given the money to projects serving those who live in poverty.
Some will make cynical snide remarks, pointing out any and every shortcoming of a major retailer
But somewhere there will be a six year-old child, for whom a packet of biscuits and a box of teabags will form a memory that lasts a lifetime. Somewhere there will be a mother who can sit down and drink a cup of tea and munch a biscuit that she might never have justified buying.
Once there was a woman criticised for lavish, wreckless extravangance, and a man who said that there would always be poor people (inference: because you'll never actually address poverty, will you) but this is a beautiful thing, a precious moment, and it will not be denied.
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear, what the writer says to the readers.