‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Synod fiddles while Canterbury burns

Twice a year, around 500 adult Anglicans come together to play adult Anglican games. Games played by the General Synod of the Church of England include Blind Bishops’ Buff, Bible Bingo, Fudging the Faith, Blowing Hot Air Balloons, Let’s Pretend We’re Parliament, Covering your Backside and Tailing Balaam’s Ass. This year, in the interests of ethnic diversity and radical inclusion, Synod decided to play the Indian game of Kabaddi.

The game is simple. Two teams occupy two territories. Each sends a “raider” into the other’s territory. The raider takes a breath, runs into the rival team’s space, tags members of the rival team, then returns to his team’s space. The raider must keep chanting Kabaddi, Kabaddi… or will be declared out.

The rival team tries to catch the raider and wrestle him or her to the ground to prevent them escaping. Different parts of India permit players to chant different words. In Eastern India players chant hu tu tu tu tu…. Because Kabaddi has no English equivalent, General Synod passed a motion agreeing to rename the game Slippery Eels and allowing synod players to use any word they chose to chant, providing it was not sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic or bigoted (GS 301, A 35 [b]).

As an expression of goodwill and to practise radical inclusion, Synod agreed to play the first round of Kabaddi between the House of Bishops and the Media. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, would be the first player. Taking a deep breath, Welby entered his rival team’s territory and began chanting Brexit, Brexit, Brexit…fascist, populist, nationalist…Brexit, fascist, populist, nationalist….

Deftly darting in the direction of Harriet Sherwood from the Guardian he tagged her and zoomed towards Church Times’ Madeleine Davis. But just as Justin was repeating Brexit, fascist, populist, nationalist, and adding Trump, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen… James Delingpole from The Spectator crept up from behind and wrestled him to the ground. The Media gallery erupted in applause.

Delingpole’s wild tackle took the breath out of wheezing Welby. ‘Thank you, Your Grace! It’s always nice when someone of such eminent ecclesiastical authority confirms from on high something which many of us long suspected: that the Establishment really just does not have a f*****g clue and that that’s why we were so right to vote for Trump and Brexit…. Justin Welby, you are part of the problem, not the solution,’ he wrote in a kick-archbishop-ass Breitbart op-ed.

The media echo chamber from Miami to Melbourne exploded by flinging pig’s poo at Welby. Welby swiftly played his Trump card and tweeted a Peter-in-Gethsemane-I-do-not-know-the-man denial. ‘I was not calling those who voted fascists, which would be ridiculous.’ Later, Welby’s Chaplain informed him that he’d gotKabbadi confused with the game of Let’s Pretend We’re Parliament.

As the din subsided, the bell rang for Kabbadi Round Two—this time between the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy. Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, took a deep breath and made his entry muttering sotto voce: Take note, take note, take note…Bishop’s Report…have it both ways…marriage still between one man one woman…gays get maximum freedom…take note, take note, take note. Bayes managed to tag a few clergy and slipped away with little effort from the clutches of four stodgy clerics who had pounced on him.

Now it was the turn of Revd Sam Allberry from the House of Clergy. Bullied in school for being gay…bullied at Synod for being gay and celibate…the Bible says, the Bible says, the Bible says…he confidently chanted, trying to tag a bishop. But he was no match for the elusive footwork in the House of Bishops. Rather, as he was running out of breath, Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, tripped him and as Allberry fell he felt the combined weight of five fat men in purple pummelling him to terra firma cheered from the sidelines by their ‘wimmin’ counterparts.

As Round Two went on it seemed as if God was on the side of the bishops. They kept scoring point after point. They kept pounding clergy after clergy to the ground. And not a single clergy could remotely tag even one bishop. The House of Clergy was running even lower on morale because whenever a bishop entered their space, and they tried to wrestle him or her to the ground, every single bishop slipped away with the ease of an eel.

Then, without warning, the secret of the bishops' sporting success was exposed. As John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, was chanting Take note, take note, take note…Bishop’s Report…have it both ways…a plastic bottle tumbled out of his pocket. The referee blew the whistle, uncorked the bottle and proceeded to examine the contents. It was cod liver oil—the world’s most slippery oil. The bishops had secretly decided to anoint themselves and apply the oil to their bodies as they entered the rival team’s territory.

The rules of Kabaddi strictly forbid the use of oil. Because the House of Bishops had not played by the rules and had cheated, the judges decided to award the prize to the House of Clergy. It wasn’t God, but the devil who was on the side of the House of Bishops! The motion by the House of Bishops to ‘take note’ of their Report on Sexuality was defeated in the House of Clergy.

The next day a spin doctor from Lambeth Palace told the media: ‘This is what happens when you import a game from Asia or Africa. You have to play by their weird rules—even on sex and marriage! Firstly, the Archbishop of Canterbury would like to apologise because he confused the rules of grammar he’d studied at Eton with the rules of Kabaddi. He did not realise that the media would misinterpret him when he uttered Brexit and fascist in the same sentence with only a comma separating the two words.’

‘Secondly, the House of Bishops would like to apologise because they muddled the rules of the Bible on marriage with the norms of 21st century Western society on sex. They are sorry for mixing up Holy Scripture with Hollywood.’

‘Thirdly, the Bishop of Coventry, Christopher Cock-up, I mean, Cocksworth would like to apologise for pressing the wrong button and giving the impression ‘that there was not complete agreement in the House of Bishops.’ He forgot to wipe his hands after applying cod liver oil to the Archbishop of Canterbury.’

‘General Synod games will resume soon at a diocesan level. The bishops will think very hard and come up with new rules. Then we can have new Anglican games. We promise to play with “maximum freedom” and “radical inclusion.” In the meantime, as we play games, we would like other churches to get on with the real task of preaching of the gospel.’

Rev Jules Gomes

  • Bernard from Bucks

    Many a true word is spoken in jest.
    Excellent.

  • Groan

    As someone not caught up in this I have to observe the whole “report” thing just looked like a TV programme with a funny punch line. I can’t be the only one who wonders why this is an “established” church that we have to take more notice of than any other. I couldn’t fathom what any of it was actually saying on the supposed topic, in interviews the protagonists seemed to start using a completely different language designed to obscure meaning. I’m probably wrong but the gist appears to be that heterosexual people should adhere to high moral standards of sexual fidelity but homosexuals are fine to indulge as they please. It seems unlikely (or is it) that that is what they were saying but honestly that’s what it sounded like.
    Your last sentence sums it up. Get disestablished and sort yourselves out.

  • James Chilton

    The Church of England’s hierarchy is beyond satire. Jonathan Swift himself would be lost for words.

  • Where does a Christian turn these days? The CofE is in disarray and apparently uncertain as to whether sections of the Bible are still valid. The Archbishop of Canterbury seems unwilling to stamp his authority on the Church and appears more interested in politics than religion.
    It’s time that the Bishops and the clergy accepted that religion can’t be changed to suit the latest fashion, religion is fixed and if any of them don’t like the Christian religion as practised by our ancestors why don’t they have the courage of their convictions and go off and form their own non-conformist Church as happened in the past. If people support their beliefs, their new church would thrive, if not it would wither away.
    Meanwhile, elsewhere I read that the Pope has decided that “Muslim terrorism does not exist”, perhaps he should speak to the leaders of, say, the Coptic Church in Egypt.
    No wonder many of the younger generation don’t bother with church; when the Church doesn’t know what it believes in, how can it possibly attract newcomers? What does one do when one’s Church turns into something that is unrecognisable when compared with that which one joined as a child?

    • Groan

      Well there appear to be thriving evangelical churches locally and even some evangelical Anglican” churches that have big congregations. Generally it is beyond me why the laity of the C of E don’t just wander off. It seems the C of E survives on all the wealth and kudos of being the “established” church, and inertia from congregants. In reality there is a wealth of different sorts of Church in this country already. Personally I don’t connect “convictions” with C of E . Though I’m sure many of the laity and clergy do have convictions but the institution appears to stand for nothing more than its continued existence. And it appears pretty poor at even that judging by the numbers who actually go.

      • There seem to be very few youngsters at our parish church, and they seem to be members of established families who are involved in church activities.
        Looking across the road at the URC and Baptist churches, they seem to have their fair share of the younger generations.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Yes. Get used to it. Young people want more enthusiasm and liveliness as part of their church experience. The “frozen chosen” style does not attract them.

          • I’ve believed for a long time that the majority of non-conformist Ministers are far better preachers. If you have to listen to someone speaking for 15 minutes or so, it’s nice if you can understand what they’re on about!

          • Bruce Atkinson

            While I love the BCP liturgies, I will not be a member of a church that does not have good gospel preacher, especially if they are also a good teacher of scripture. I am blessed to have both in our Rector. It is a small congregation, very friendly and supportive … like a loving family.

          • Perhaps that’s why our Parish Church never announces who is taking the service in advance! With three churches in the parish, a Rector, two Vicars and a couple of Curates plus a couple of occasional non-stipendiary Curates, it a guessing game unless you are prepared to nip into the church well before the service and get a service sheet!

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Chuckle. That’s a challenge! I feel for you.

          • I’m one of the bell ringers and we start ringing about forty minutes before the service starts. I look on the way in so I don’t feel obliged to always attend the Service.

          • Charitas Lydia

            The vicar in our neighbouring parish does exactly the same! Imagine running a restaurant where you had a bad chef on more occasions than a good chef!

      • Bruce Atkinson

        I totally agree: “… the institution appears to stand for nothing more than its continued existence.” It also wants to continue to be the center of the Anglican Communion, but it is doing all the wrong things to remain there. GAFCON and the Global South is already the new center in terms of both numbers and traditional doctrine. It is sad but the C of E is on its way out … “not with a bang but a whimper.”

    • dexey

      “the Christian religion as practised by our ancestors ” At what point? Before or after Whitby? Before or after Martin Luther?
      The Christian religion changed many times in our ancestors day.

      • I’m not familiar with all the changes over the centuries. but many changes seem to be more about presentation than fundamental change in beliefs. Now they are talking about gay marriage which seems to be totally contrary to the biblical teachings. How can the clergy say “We used to teach this was a sin, but we’ve changed our minds and we’ve decided it wasn’t a sin after all”?

        • Pretty much so, EP. Many events, including the Reformation, were an attempt to return the Church to the biblical teachings. Those teachings are much as they were, about 250 AD, or so. Some things have changed, such as much greater freedom for women, but Jesus, himself, started that progression. Doctrine and Dogma follow on from trying to fulfill the commandments, old and new, but in the final analysis it’s all about following the Christ, and him Crucified, and Risen. If you get that, you have most of it.

          • I have no problem with female clergy, provided that they are appointed on merit not just to prove that the Church is not anti-feminist. I was prepared to accept re-marriage in church because none of us are perfect and can all make mistakes. But the latest proposals are a ‘step too far’ as far as I’m concerned.

          • Agreed. I’ve had female clergy, and while a bit disconcerting, they were fine, but as you say, they were there on merit, not some fool quota. I can deal with divorce, as well. One hopes so, I am, and I did make a mistake. Yes, they are trying to make the church resemble the world, when it should be an example to the world, of a better way.

          • The CofE seems scared to upset any minority; almost any lifestyle seems permissible, the Church will find some reason for it being acceptable. They would get far more respect from most people if they stopped trying to be everything to everybody and spoke out clearly about the Church’s beliefs.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            “The Church’s mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different; its power rises with the degree in which she differs and sinks as the difference diminishes.” — A. W. Tozer

          • Bik Byro

            Jeremy Corbyn is “different”
            That’s working out well.

          • Not entirely sure that I would agree. But it certainly loses influence when it changes its position all the time. People of all ages look for stability in an ever changing world, and the only religion which doesn’t seem to change with the weather is Islam.

          • Agreed, and would only add that it is not only the CofE that has the problem.

          • True, far too many politicians avoid committing themselves to anything!

      • Charitas Lydia

        The message of the Christ and the Bible have not changed and they will never change, but those who call themselves Christians and interpret the Bible according to their vested interests have created much confusion. The Bible endorses a relationship with the Living God through Jesus His only Son and the only Mediator, and it has to be both individual relationship and a corporate relationship as the Body of Christ. What makes me angry about CofE is the disrepute and they are bringing to both the Christ and the Body of Christ.. the universal church of God. The confusion is such that truth is completely obscured and falsehood is exalted as truth causing many faithful to stumble. Truly we need to be alert and vigilant as the Lord has commanded us to be lest we too fall away.

      • Neil Hailstone

        The faith and practice of the undivided church of the first millenium and the decisions of the 7 General Councils of the whole christian church are good starting points. Add supremacy of informed conscience and act accordingly in the matter of ‘which church’ to attend. There are jurisdictions available. Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, orthodox Old Catholic, The Continuing Anglican Churches and others. You can even find these views in individual C of E and Roman Catholic local churches.

  • Charitas Lydia

    This established church is mostly a den of robbers and cheaters. I feel sick of them. No amount of criticism in jest or in invective is going to change them unless the Good Lord has mercy on them and decides to give them a heart of flesh….but that possibility is remote since He has given them innumerable chances to repent and turn away from their worldly ways… They love playing god and they love playing church. One day they will have to face the God of the Universe then it will be too late.

  • Tricia

    As an active church member for over 30 years, I am still smarting over my senior Archbishop calling me a fascist for voting to Leave the corrupt and crumbling edifice of the EU.
    However, I am more interested in my local congregation growing in faith and reaching out in spirit and in truth to tell the Good News of the Gospel.
    The Progressive lobby will not be happy until they split the church – I know which side of the split I will be on.
    Those conservatives who voted against the motion were right to do so, as it was a license to do as you wish, not as you should.

    • Phil R

      Most liberals want conservatives booted out.

      Most clergy are (very) liberal.

      Bishops are also liberal but worry about loss if income if the conservatives leave so want to keep the conservatives in and paying…

    • Bik Byro

      If your senior archbishop really did call you a fascist, then who was he? Name and shame him. If you are actually telling the truth as opposed to concocting this little story, then you should have no problem.

  • Coniston

    On the Sunday program (Radio 4) this morning someone said that the C of E, being a national church, had to be totally inclusive. This set me thinking. Obviously, it must include everyone – muslims, atheists, secularists, pagans…..This certainly seems to be the way our ‘national’ church is heading. What a pity St. Paul didn’t think of this (apart from muslims of course).
    On another point, why does everyone today misuse the word ‘celibate’? It simply means ‘unmarried’. A prostitute could well be celibate.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      It is true that “chaste” might be a better word to use here. But if you are going to be exacting and fussy, at least be correct.
      There are at least two definitions of ‘celibate’, at least according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary: 1) the state of not being married. 2) abstention from sexual intercourse.
      ‘Celibate’ would never be used by anyone when referring to a prostitute (married or not).
      When it is commonly used for same-sex attracted people, the term means “no interpersonal sexual activity whatsoever.”

      • Coniston

        Though not according to the Shorter (or Concise) Oxford Dictionary, where it only means single or unmarried. But if words are wrongly used they will eventually change their meaning over time.

        • Bruce Atkinson

          To call the difference between dictionaries as right or wrong … is itself wrong. Every language is always changing. Look at the revisions in the English Bible over time due to such changes, from the original Wycliffe to Tyndale to King James to RSV to NIV … etc. You cannot stop the changes, we can only change ourselves so as to communicate more clearly in whatever culture and age we are in. There is not an absolute right or wrong here, there is only current clarity or lack of it.
          Over my entire life (in the USA), everyone I have ever heard use the word “celibate” has meant “no sexual activity with another person.” It usually includes singleness but it can apply to married people as well. Your experience (where you live) may be different. No problem.

    • Devonian_Prof

      Inclusive of people, yes. Inclusive of beliefs, behaviours and lifestyles, emphatically no.

    • Bik Byro

      A computer used to mean a human being who did calculations with a pen and paper. Why does everyone today misuse this word and use it as if it refers to some kind of electronic machine?

  • David

    I am a committed active, conservative Christian and also a Lay Minister, who happens to be, mainly because of family history, a member of the C of E. My local church is well led by Bible preaching Anglican vicars. However I have also been a committed, active Brexiteer, who worked through both Ukip and, far more recently, for the Vote Leave campaign.
    Whilst the unwise intervention of a number of bishops, and the two archbishops, on the side of Remain, using very unsound, shallow arguments, was most irritating, the senior archbishop’s recent outrageous and ignorant insults have been totally unacceptable. I have had enough of the man. Does wobbly Welby think that, by insulting the majority of the electorate of the UK he is showing God’s love and truth to us ? Is he blind to the suffering that has been caused, especially in southern Europe, by the EU’s disastrous policies ? Then there’s the economic pain and social disintegration experienced by many hard working, honest, working class British people !
    These incidents around hugely significant political choices, and coming after a whole sequence of examples where bishops consistently fail to defend the orthodox Christian faith of my forefathers, has finally destroyed my respect for both the vast majority of the bishops, and especially archbishop Welby. The smug elite of this country, especially within its established Church, has much to answer for !

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Yes, Welby is the classic liberal establishment hired hand. He does not care for the people or God’s true Church; he is only trying to please Parliament and the ecclesiastic powers that be in the C of E, not God.

      • Charitas Lydia

        Apart from all this, he gets a fat salary with all the perks, importance, free publicity(howere bad, he does not seem to care) and control… and much more.

    • John Smith

      There are a number of useful idiots operating on behalf of the Lib Left establishment

      • David

        Oh yes, they are thick on the ground.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    The Synod situation was absolutely worthy of satire. Thanks, Jules! The whole thing was ridiculous, an Anglican embarrassment.

  • Phil R

    The Bishops were trying to fudge the issue.

    Publicly affirm the current position and so not lose the conservatives (and their money– conservative churches are thriving and give more). But privately affirm homosexual relationships under the smokescreen of “inclusiveness”.

    Hopefully, they may now be forced to be more open as to their intentions…..

  • Bogbrush

    I never understand the purpose of an established Church which dispenses doctrine, other than it seems to appeal to peoples need for rules and order. What does it matter if this guy wants to fudge all this? Hardly anyone is listening to him, the whole thing has almost no meaning to the vast majority of people.

    • Bik Byro

      Exactly. It’s a diminishing little echo chamber.

  • Jeff_Harvey

    Hey up! Martin Luther was an even worse bad ‘un. Ecky thump! Folk don’t know they’re born today I’m telling thee.

  • Argurious

    Something tells me that Jesus, if he existed historically, was probably not a Conservative.

    • Bik Byro

      Something tells me you’re not probably not living in the real world.
      Now then, soft lad, give us all a laugh, what were your degrees in and where did you get them from?

      • Argurious

        You are an amusing person for a right-winger.

        You disbelieve candid information which is truthful while simultaneously all too ready to believe seven impossible things before breakfast provided it reinforces your world-view and dare I say it prejudice, reflexively. There’s very little point in me offering you a potted autobiography on a site like this, since, as I have no intention of revealing my identity, nothing I write is verifiable. Now I know that right-wing gentlemen and ladies don’t normally care to corroborate statements as long as they support certain mythologies and/or flatter your vanities, but see no point in offering cut and paste snippets from my CV, or academic transcript, on a public forum like this because whatever I write will be disbelieved.

        Which, of course, I don’t mind in the least.

        I’m visiting this blog as a diversion from the daily grind at work because it’s sheer nuttiness amuses. I read the Daily Mail from time to time for the same reason. And what’s wrong with that? Have “you people” got a sense of humour or not?

        Ta-ta.

        • Bik Byro

          “you people” … the giveaway language of a bigot

          • Argurious

            “… something tells me…”

            The giveaway language of a schizophrenic!

            Stop listening to the voices in your head and get yourself a life!

          • Bik Byro

            Invents three university degrees
            Calls other people “schizophrenic”

          • Argurious

            I’m tempted to suggest that you “have a word with yourself” but, all things considered, don’t want to encourage you or risk making you more poorly.

            You seem to believe that I care what you think.

            I don’t.

            Not about me; not about anything.

            Obviously the opposite can’t be said of you which I find oddly gratifying. In my experience people from the right are usually rather thin-skinned and I’m sorry if I’ve bruised you inadvertently. This blog has turned out to be quite a find and almost as entertaining and intellectually stimulating as making sandcastles, on a sunny beach, in summer, with a bunch of malicious young children not old enough to know better.

            Lovely stuff!

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Both of you!

          • Argurious

            In my case though I am certain it is not the voice of the Lord. When you talk to God people call it “praying” but when God talks to you, from my perspective, it’s called mental illness.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      “Something” indeed.

      • Argurious

        😉

      • Vox Populi

        Love that! Exposes how empty the Left is. “Something”!

  • Vox Populi

    Thank God Donald Trump and not Bishop Cocksworth has his finger on the nuclear button. Otherwise BOOM! What a way to usher in the apocalypse–through a C of E bishop. Casts a new light on the famous ale Bishop’s Finger!

  • Rosalind Taisia

    The Archbishop of Canterbury’s pronouncement after the Synod (in a frantic damage control and PR exercise) was to come up with a mantra of “radical inclusion” of everyone “without exception”. This is heresy. It is not Biblical Christianity. Justin Welby is going far beyond what Jesus said He would do! Who has given Welby the authority to radically include everyone when Jesus and Paul and the other New Testament writers very clearly say that there are people who are going to be excluded because they haved refused to repent from their sinful ways.. The category of ‘inclusion’ is Marxist. It is an attempt to address Marx’s problem of the alienation of the marginalised in society. It is NOT Christian. Welby is leading the church down the path of heresy and apostacy.