Who would Jesus support at Twickenham?

May 18th, 2012 | By | Category: Church of Ireland Comment

The talk in church circles is still about sexuality.

The question of sexuality having long been settled in the world beyond the stained glass, the talk is of tomorrow’s Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham, where two Irish provinces will line out against each other; of the Champions League Final, where, among many soccer fans, there will be strong support for Bayern Munich; of Eurovision and Jedward’s chances; of the opening games of the All Ireland football and hurling championships. Some more serious people talk of the financial crisis and the forthcoming referendum. No-one else has the church’s fixation with sexuality.

There was a conversation in our house last year. It was after half past ten at night, it had been a long day and we sat drinking tea at the kitchen table. It was the Church of Ireland General Synod the following week, something that had greater appeal in one part of our family than it did in others. There had been discussion about the business before the synod.

‘I am wondering about whether to vote for the Anglican Covenant.’

‘I am wondering about Rob Kearney’.


‘The Leinster and Ireland fullback – I am wondering what Leinster are going to do when he returns to the team. Isa Nacewa has been brilliant at fullback’.

‘What’s that got to do with anything?’

‘What’s the Anglican Covenant got to do with anything?’

‘It’s important’.

‘So is Rob Kearney. In fact, far more people in my parish would be concerned about Rob Kearney than they would about some church agreement that has nothing to do with them’.

‘You don’t take things seriously’.

‘No, the problem is that the church doesn’t take people seriously’.

A year on from the conversation, and nothing has changed.

The church still thinks it can set the agenda and that its decisions will shape the world it inhabits. There are still those who think they can roll back the inexorable processes of history, just as there are still those who think they can roll back the progress of science.

The church does not speak to the people who would know who Rob Kearney was, but who would have little idea who the Archbishop of Armagh or the Archbishop of Canterbury might be. It has lost sight of the ministerial style of Jesus of Nazareth. It has forgotten that the incarnation was about God coming down to be with the ordinary folk.

Jesus said hardly anything about sexuality, but said a lot about the importance of ordinary people.


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  1. The church did not take the people of Ballyfin seriously ,ordinary people ,huge concerns and duly sacrificed..and I am on my way to Twickenham to see Kearney and Nacewa …TOGETHER.

  2. It’s a matter of public record that I spoke against the union process at synod. But there is a constitution and there is a democratic process and those of us who opposed the formation of unions lost the debate.

    I have a Leinster season ticket and am still unsure about who is the best fullback. Enjoy the match.

  3. This General Synod seems to have created mayhem, whoever one discusses it with, it seems as if no one really knows what is going on viz a viz what was all this ‘marriage’ topic that suddenly sprung up and knocked every one for six. I’m sure that there will be severe repercussions, insofar, that many people will start going elsewhere. Anyway, the C of I has got itself into this mess, it may get itself out of it one way or the other.

    Which brings us back to your original question about Jesus and his support for the two rugby teams tomorrow.
    I guess, like most people, he would say may the best team win!!! l also pose the question, would Jesus know anything about rugby??? Then to quote your own quote the other day ‘Do you know the mind of God???’. No.
    I hope you both enjoy the match, not my cup of tea i’m afraid, scrums and mud and men falling into heaps on the pitch, don’t really understand it, or why people think it’s such a wonderful game.

    I shall be watching the Champion’s League match of course, even though l am a Red Manc supporter, but would be great to see Chelsea win.

    Roll on the tennis, that’s all I can say.

  4. I think Jesus would have been a fan of Welsh rugby – faith and fervour and the best singing in the world.

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