Saturday stream of consciousness

“Time’s a goon” says ageing rocker Bosco in Pulitzer prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and I gain some insight into the title and I realise that this book and A Sense of an Ending that won the Booker prize this year both tell stories about the passing of time and of lives and how the choices of, especially youth, but of other times, reverberate and get distorted and misremembered but are unerringly true in their effects. And why is it that there are never any people in these books who were innocent and naive and married for love and lived what they believed and remained faithful always and raised children and worked through tough times and never gave up believing or loving but sometimes, for a moment, they feel they may have missed something even though the really have it all but feel that confusion because the world they have to live in is so mistaken. And books that win prizes never, ever tell their story. But when I woke early, before I read chapters of the goonishness of time I thought about my blog and that I hadn’t addressed at all the issue of gay-marriage which is swirling through the headlines and maybe that seems strange for a Christian who has a long and wonderful marriage and believes very deeply in the intrinsic, spiritually profound nature of such things. No stranger than an unmarried Prime Minister with a defacto husband (who has rediscoverd Anglicanism) who is taking a very real stand for a traditional view of marriage at this weekend’s ALP Conference while the very traditionally married Albert Albanese with a very conservative square hair cut and nice suit is one of those calling for the abandonment of that tradition and who knows what he actually believes, I’m sure he doesn’t beyond the rhetoric and political caricature but what we do know is that he is frightened of the leftishness of his inner city seat and the advancing Green tinge and that he could lose if he isn’t visible in these debates on the right side for the voters of his electorate of which I am one. As I’ve listened to the debate I understand that no one remembers or cares why marriage was viewed in a different way to the calls of equality that surround it now. Once it was part of an absolute reckoning that asked people, rudely it may seem today, to fall into line or stand aside, whereas today everything must fall into line with what we choose, nothing must impinge our choice, not even ancient and deeply held beliefs and realities that form the very nature of things. As if we really know anything about making good choices as a race. Because people of faith lost the debate over the very nature of things, such as that God didn’t create but we make the most of what we have. Now I’m sounding in my own head like a religious fundamentalist and I’m even boring myself because it is so hard to say these things without slotting into one of the negative depictions that have littered our popular culture and conditioned us. I remember one of the first gay men I met, a neighbour in Newtown who was wildly out of control even in the view of his gay friends and we a household of Christian males were also his friends although his gay friends warned us that he had peep-holes in his toilet. Still I visited because the new faith that I had found felt strong enough for his rampant behaviour but more importantly the anger and bitterness that was awash in this pastor’s son, as I was also. And I liked him, but then I liked everyone including those who hated me and the drunks in the street among whom I felt especially comfortable, recognising as I had that there was little to separate us. Back to my gay neighbour, long dead for certain, I could not imagine him being remotely interested in the notion of marriage, the very kind of institution that he was raging against and how strange it might seem to him from his  grave that it has come to this. And so I’ve said little about the rights and wrongs about gay marriage because we who have lived a different life are not the entitled any more and if we still speak from that place we will sound even more irrelevant. And to say the words in a highly emotive environment will always sound hurtful and condemning and superior and not change anyone or anything which is why I will not go to the marriage rally today in the city although I respect the brave souls who will and the sincerity of their belief and I wonder, now, if I would have gone 20 years ago and now perhaps the goon of time has done something to me, but is it good or bad? What I know is that much that seems important and damaging and frightening now has happened before and will happen again but what is good and true and lovely is also eternal and keeps being found and sometimes our attempts to force its finding puts it out of reach. Jesus didn’t preach against gay marriage, but he did against adultery, an altogether more prevalent condition and one that seems pardonable in the church when other things aren’t. It is also more fundamental to the brokenness of human nature which he redeems. He did preach about the sanctity of marriage, of a man and a woman, of not separating ever, and his disciples spoke of the mystery of marriage reflecting the union of God with the church, not the institution or building, but the spiritual church. God loves the church as as is pictured when a man loves his wife and is joined to her. It speaks not only of joining but of the mystery and messiness and confusion and beauty and complimentariness of otherness coming together, of difference becoming one. And despite all that has been said and how we dress and what we can make happen in a technological age, is there any greater otherness on the planet than man and woman? Somehow this is a tiny reflection or analogy or word of created and uncreated, joined. This I think is far too much for Saturday morning as I sit with an occasional plane over head, in our spare room, looking over the roofs of Leichhardt, another plane, with smattering of gums and tall pine in view, the sound of voices in the street and in homes, children awake early, a glimpse of the sienna walls of the Italian forum reminiscent of a hurried bus trip through that region of Italy, with the colour everywhere, on to the graffitied walls of Rome and the ruins that appear around corners to take your breath away. It’s a grey light today, spread of cloud, cool so that I notice the warmth of the lap top on my lap and a tightness in my temples which suggests that it’s time for coffee. And by writing I think I’ve edged away the goon of time, for a while, and possibly offended everyone and will be hopelessly inaccessible to many, but a few dreamers.

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