Friday, 19 August 2016

Faith and reservations

I attended the monthly RadioNet User Group meeting yesterday morning for the first time in months. I was amused in a discussion about beggars, that a police officer stated it was harder to deal with this problem in public places since bobbies on the beat were obliged to wear hi-viz jackets over their uniforms, as they could now be seen approaching, so offenders ran off before they could be confronted and reminded of the law. So many people wear hi-viz jackets in public these days. All kind of workers, security officials, groups of school children out and about. I've even seen street people in hi-viz jackets - a way of not standing out from the crowd? There wasn't much that required me to remain in the office after the meeting, so I returned and worked at home instead for the rest of the day. 

This morning I had an interesting exchange of emails with my cousin Dianne reflecting on the time in our youth when she, her brother and mother lived with my Grandfather. She shared her recollection of being around when I told my parents I was starting to explore my vocation to ordained ministry, and the domestic uproar this caused, as it went against all their expectations and ambition that I should become a scientist, as that was what I was studying in University. She'd have been 13-14 at the time. Her mum, my godmother, approved, so did her sisters. Their brothers were not so forthcoming, and later in life both were churchgoers. 

The family were nominal, irregularly attending members of the 'Church of England in Wales' as it would sometimes be referred to in those days. The women in our family were more devout than the men, and attended church more reguarly, as did my mother. The men were taken up with the glamour of modern Science and Progress, and didn't so easily find the time to take church seriously. After their initial disappointment, my father and grandfather came to terms with the change of direction in my life. Dad would occasionally come and hear me preach. After a series of life threatening heart incidents in later life, he began to rethink things and attended church services independently of hearing me preach. Grandpa retained his skepticism and kept church at a distance to the end, enamoured of the wonder and mystery of life, but distrustful of dogma. 

I recall him telling me when I was young that he'd locked horns with a Rector of Gelligaer and seen him off after an argument about religion. He didn't approve of my vocation, and tried passionately to dissuade me, but without rejecting me personally, despite early threats to do so. Maybe the fact that I stood my ground and didn't become too eccentric or overly pious as a result of my change of role played a part in this. At least this is what I'd like to think. The important thing for Dad and Grandpa seemed to be that I didn't become an otherworldly bible toting dogmatic fundamentalist. There were plenty around in Ystrad Mynach as I was growing up. I hope they were satisfied in the end.

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