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Saturday, 19 May 2018

A Nasty Bug in the Ointment...

It was a typical Friday afternoon. I had just completed a workout in the gym, and I have made my way across the leisure centre premises for a session at the sauna and spa suite, still dressed in gym outfit, which is now damp with body sweat. After stripping off my singlet and appropriate footwear, I was ready for the shower to rinse off all traces of sweat before immersing myself into the soothing warm water of the bubble bath, in preparation for both steam room and dry sauna bathing and relaxation.

It was just before entering the shower when one of the regulars turned to me and asked,
Frank, what do you think of the wedding?
To which I answered, pointing both my index fingers to each of my ears,
Not interested. Look, I'm up to my ears with it!
Okay, he responded jokingly. I won't say any more about it.

A bystander, another regular whose conversation was ongoing until my arrival, continued with his diatribe:
That f-----g Charlie, all he wants is to get back into public favour! He declared, as if spitting out his words, thus setting the whole atmosphere of the entire suite as definitely not wedding-friendly. He was referring to the Prince of Wales' voluntary stepping in to give away the bride to his own son at the altar, after the bride's father failed to turn up due to illness. Afterwards, I was pondering. Personally, I always liked Prince Harry. He did not inherit the characteristic "stuck up" attitude of traditional English royalty, but instead he was more of a party-goer as well as sports organiser, particularly for war veterans. One of his highlights was when he was caught stripped naked at a private affair in Las Vegas, and such was spread throughout the media as a major scandal across our nation. Harry proved to be as human as the rest of us.

So what was it that irritated all of us at the spa suite? Simply this, this whole shenanigan is so high key, with newspapers such as the Tory-leaning Daily Mail, TV and radio, all going on and on about the forthcoming wedding, and how wonderful it will be, and how glorious to Britain's image it will be to ourselves and to the rest of the world. Even the BBC, in realising ideal weather conditions, predicts scores of street and garden parties in full swing dotting the land. Perhaps a visit to our spa venue the previous evening would have created a sudden culture shock for the media.

Because, going by that Friday's experience, men in general are not interested in such public weddings. Instead, these events have a far greater appeal to women, who are more inclined to scrutinise the dress the bride is wearing and whether the groom is chosen the right coloured tie to match his suit. These things appeal to women.

But not so much to men, the majority just couldn't be bothered. Therefore it wasn't too much of a surprise to find that on my weekly morning visit to Starbucks, there were more men sitting there than on a normal Saturday. Fortunately for us men, the date of the wedding is also the same day as the F.A. Cup final held at Wembley. Between Manchester United and Chelsea, I believe. It really does not matter. This fixture has a far greater appeal to men than the wedding, and especially to those two team's devoted fans. Indeed, I used to watch football from time to time as a bachelor. However, my wife is out-and-out against football. After watching a match on TV late one evening after she had gone to bed, she then declared that she won't allow football in the house any more. Fair enough, I'm not a football fan anyway. I cannot blame her either. She simply cannot stand the enormously high salaries these players earn whilst many live in poverty and need to visit food banks.

And so what a day this is! A Royal Wedding for the women, and the F.A. Cup Final for the men. But as a Christian believer and student of the Bible, serious thoughts have gone through my mind, especially concerning Meghan Markle, who will be the bride. Nothing to do with her interracial background. Actually, I wished she had married William, second to the throne after Prince Charles. Now that would have shocked the nation to its core, wouldn't it? A future black Queen. Not only a breakaway from a thousand years of British tradition, but also enough perhaps to shut up all those in far-right groups, whose central beliefs includes white supremacy. But instead, she marries Harry, sixth in line to the throne, and therefore absolutely no chance of sitting. 

But with the issue going through my mind, Meghan is a divorcee. Before meeting Harry, she was married for two years to film producer Trevor Engelson. Then they divorced in 2013. And here is the issue, highlighted by non other than Jesus Christ himself. He said that if a man marries a woman who is divorced, he commits adultery (Matthew 5:31-32, Mark 10:12, Luke 16:18). The stress on the importance of this teaching is by three-time emphasis by the Holy Spirit in each of the synoptic Gospels. Therefore it must be important. Even Paul the Apostle, ministering to churches after the Atonement, has written that if a Christian wife suffers a divorce, if she was to re-marry another man, she would be called an adulteress (Romans 7:1-3, 1 Corinthians 7:11). 

It's little wonder that many unbelievers regard us Christians as miserable sods, out to ruin the happiness of many by our "holy" standing. Personally, I dislike the idea of portraying myself as a sour-face moralist, always sporting a frown on my forehead, and always having judgement on others and condemning them as wicked. That kind of attitude would makes me very obnoxious indeed - not the type of person to have around! And certainly not bringing any glory to God either! Furthermore, I would be perceived as having no understanding of emotive power of attraction and falling in love, along with lacking of any perception involving the sexual desire for this other person.  But I must be real here. The New Testament looks to be against divorce and remarriage. No doubt about it. If anyone stood up and publicly declare that Harry should not marry Meghan because she is divorced, he would be very unpopular indeed, if not publicly lynched.

Therefore it came as no surprise to me that Christians in general has been silent on this issue, as if there is a struggle between Bible conviction and the want for national and monarchical glory. Arminian Christians who don't believe in Eternal Security of the Believer will, for one, immediately assume that if Harry was saved in the past, he's certainly isn't saved now, having committed a sin serious enough for him to lose his salvation. And if that looks to be far fetched, then I know of one well-known itinerant preacher, David Pawson, who wrote books emphasising this issue. Yet despite all this, the rest of the nation raise their hands in gladness and God's blessings.

After watching a You-Tube video which appeared on the playlist out of random, I have been thinking: Supposing Jacob Rees-Mogg was at the ceremony. When the banns were read out prior to the vows being made, this Member of Parliament stood up and loudly announced,
I object to Prince Henry marrying Meghan Markle on the basis that she is divorced.

I remember our wedding in October 1999. Then, as now, the banns were read out before the vows were taken. A moment of deafening silence followed the reading out of the banns. This was the opportunity for anyone to express any reason why Alex and I must not marry. Such a reason is known as an impediment. If the impediment is valid, the wedding will not go ahead. 

Therefore, why have I singled out Jacob Rees-Mogg? What's so special about him? Known by the Daily Mail newspaper as "The Englishman's Darling" for his emphatic support for "hard" Brexit, he attended Eton, had graduated at Trinity College in Oxford, and speaks with a plum tone of voice. I have church-going friends who believe in him and should stand as party leader and lead the country as Prime Minister. If there was anyone who would "get the job done" in Britain leaving the EU, Rees-Mogg would be such a candidate suitable for the role.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP.

Therefore coming across a You-Tube video entirely by chance without having to search for it was certainly enlightening, and I couldn't help making a connection between his interview and the nation's adoration of the royal wedding. The interviewer was The Guardian newspaper journalist Owen Jones, a boyish-looking individual, but in reality already in his thirties, and a holder of both a B.A. and a M.S.t. degree, for both he studied at University College, Oxford. I personally don't agree wholly with Owen Jones, as he appears to be rather radical left-wing and a supporter of trade unionism, but the interview he gave Jacob Rees-Mogg at an arranged meeting I have found intriguing:

OJ: What makes you cry?
JRM: I haven't cried, certainly not in adulthood.
OJ:  So you haven't cried since you became an adult?
JRM: No. I'm not in favour of this New Age "drippiness".
OJ: What's wrong in being emotional?
JRM: The British did best when they finally starched their upper lip.
OJ: The biggest killer of men in their fifties is suicide. They have depression and suicidal thoughts, yet can't talk about it because it's seen as "dripping"?
JRM: They can get help, but I don't think that talk about the inner self is interesting to people.

To tell the truth, I find it sad to hear such words coming from a British MP. Had it been from a bricklayer, a plumber, an electrician or simply from a yard worker at a factory, then I might have had a better understanding. But an MP, setting an example for his constituents to follow? And for the rest of the nation to follow? How could he define masculinity in the way he does? Not exactly Christian is it? After all, Jesus of Nazareth wept in public - twice, at least. Does that make our Saviour a New Age "drippy"?

Jacob Rees-Mogg is a devout Roman Catholic, so he should know something about Jesus. He faithfully attends church every Sunday and Holy days. I wonder how he feels about John, one of the Lord's disciples, leaning on our Saviour's breast during the last supper? Not to mention how he wept over the fate of Jerusalem on one occasion, and on another occasion slobbering over the death of Lazarus. Therefore I am wondering whether sincere regular church-going Christians fully realise Rees-Mogg's character, beliefs, and ideas, other than being a devout supporter of Brexit.

Furthermore, as a Catholic, it's standard practice to call upon Mary, the mother of Jesus, to intercede for him and his family. A more intimate title for Our Lady is Mama, particularly in Italy where a mother-child relationship is actually encouraged. Therefore I wouldn't put it past Rees-Mogg to shed a secret tear to Mary as he pleads for her rather obstinate and wrathful Son to forgive him for his sins. An interesting point here. His "drippy" attitude towards emotionalism could well come from his own perception of the Son of God having a "masculine" and judgemental personality deprived of compassionate emotions. 

Therefore Rees-Mogg knows perfectly well that to marry a divorcee is wrong, according to Catholic teaching. But he remains stubbornly silent concerning Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle. He knows full well that to speak up would sever all popularity and lose a large majority of his followers. Yet the media constantly promotes the wedding for the glory of Britain and its monarchy. The Archbishop calls down a blessing upon a couple whom many believe the Bible calls adultery. When it comes to the Bible versus the Glory of Britain, the latter will always win whilst the Bible is cast aside as irrelevant.

Indeed, the teachings of Jesus about marriage, divorce and adultery is a bug in the ointment. A very nasty bug, coming to think of it, as its presence causes the sweet aroma of national glory into a putrid stench of compromise by rejecting the Bible except when it suits them and denying the teachings of our Lord.

Rather like the Creation/Evolution debate. Creationism is a bug in the ointment of academic Christians. Therefore they concoct a formula, a "halfway house" of Theistic Evolution in order to minimise the stench wafting from the ointment which such Biblical teaching has imposed on science.

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