Monday, 11 March 2013

Beckoning God, you draw us home - thoughts

Mothering Sunday was originally the one day in the year where people would return to their childhood church, the church they were baptised in, the church where their family are; their mother church. Servants and workers would be given this day off to travel to where they were brought up, and they would take a gift and spend this day with their family. People would often take home a cake, a Simnel cake, with fruit and marzipan. It may be decored with 11 or 12 balls of marzipan to represent the disciples and Jesus. On the fourth Sunday of Lent each year, this was the custom.

What is the custom now? Buying cards, eating chocolate, sending flowers, going out for a meal, children creating crafts at school, taking breakfast to bed, buying jewellery, having spa days - all to celebrate mums. Now, there is nothing wrong with celebrating mums. In fact, it is a wonderful thing to do. Thankfully dads now have a day to be celebrated too, though it took a while longer for that day to catch on.

But what I want to ask is: how does time change the meaning of something?

I guess in this instance, the general concept is still the same - going home and spending time with family. But when did church and, maybe more importantly, when did God get taken out of that for so many people? The original Mothering Sunday was to go home to your mother church. We now go home to our mothers.

Does this say something about how we view church, about how we view the importance of our upbringing, about how we view our family, about how society relates to the commercialised world, about how we have to be percieved as outwardly showing our parents we love them, about how we view the importance of a community like a church community, about how we view God?

I have no answers, only questions and some ponderings.

Yesterday at church we talked about homecoming. Coming home. If you flick back to my last blog you will see a song we listened to that moved me beyond belief during that service. During our prayer of concern and hope, each section began 'beckoning God, you draw us home...'.

What is home, where is home, who is home to you?

Where is God beckoning you? 

Will you follow?

Beckoning God, you draw us home.

Wish I were with you but I couldn't stay  
Every direction leads me away  
Pray for tomorrow but for today  
All I want is to be home
Stand in the mirror, you look the same 
Just lookin' for shelter from the cold and the pain  
Someone to cover, safe from the rain 
And all I want is to be home
Echoes and silence, patience and grace  
All of these moments I'll never replace  
No fear of my heart, absence of faith  
And all I want is to be home
All I want is to be home
People I've loved, I have no regrets  
Some I remember, some I forget  
Some of them living, some of them dead   
And all I want is to be home

Monday, 10 December 2012

Circular Communion

What is communion to you? Is it a group of people having a common religious faith, like a denomination? Is it that bit of the church service you eat bread and drink wine?
Is it a fellowship, an association? Is it the sharing of thoughts and emotions, a form of intimate communication? Is if the act of sharing? Is it all of these, none of these, some of these? They are some of what the dictionary offers.

I’m not sure I can answer my own question, not easily anyway. Communion is not one thing to me. I guess it is parts of many things, in many aspects of my life. It is important, treasured and gives me direction. I see it on a daily basis. And maybe more to the point, I feel it on a daily basis.

A few weeks ago I was part of an amazing, encouraging, inclusive experience. This experience, this one evening, has shifted and stretched my views on communion and what it is. I guess this is mainly within the more tradition church context of the receiving and sharing of bread and wine, but it also affects the other ways in which I see and feel it with the people around me.

What does it mean to you to come to a table of communion? What does it mean to you to share in that fellowship meal? What would you do if you felt unable to participate in that?

On this evening that shifted my thinking, around fifty people gathered in the church I am part of and took part in a Transgender Remembrance Commemoration Service. Transgender Remembrance Day is held each year on the 20th November, and this evening was our way of marking this day in our church and with the people gathered. The evening began with story and song from a very dear friend of mind; stories and songs about being transgender and the influence that has on his faith and his life journeying with God.

“You know life is strange and maybe I don’t see things the same as you. Try not to judge and you might find people have less to hide. I’m a funny kinda guy, I’m a gentle kinda guy.” © Simon de Voil

“Grief is the way of the world, tragic tale for us all. She said she was so lonely wrapped up in the fabric of my past...taken away her light. The choices we make, sacrifices we take. I breathe for us both now.” © Simon de Voil

With so much to already contemplate and reflect on it was time for communion and the prayers for those who have been killed in the past year due to transgender violence. On any day of the year eliminating transphobia is an issue I am passionate about, yet this evening  this was even more clear for me. To stand in front of a group of around fifty LGBT people and their friends and family and be able to welcome them to a table of communion is something I never imagined myself doing. I had never really imagined myself helping to celebrate communion either. There are so many points of disagreement within churches, so to enable the often marginalised people in our society to come in to this church and receive communion is an experience that is hard to put in to words.

Eat this bread, drink this wine.

So why ‘circular communion’? Why not just ‘communion’? After welcoming people to this table and celebrating communion we moved on to reading the names of those who had been killed, along with prayers and the lighting of candles. Once these names were read the congregation were invited to bring their votive candle to the communion table, light it, place it with the others and then receive the bread and the wine if they wanted to do so. There was no pressure, there was not somebody giving it to you, there was nobody to pass it on to. There was just you and God. That one person after lighting and placing their candle could decide for themselves if they were going to take the bread and the wine. A truly open table. A table encircling the prayers for those whose lives have been lost.

Celebrating, remembering, praying, giving, receiving.

Individual, communal.

Does communion ever stop? Can it ever stop? Is it a continual, circular, encompassing part of life? I’m not sure the answers to so many of my questions will ever be clear, to me as an individual or to a whole community of people. But what I do know is that this is important. No matter how you see communion and what it is, it is important. It brings people together. It brings people together when it is given the chance to. It will find a way. Communion is beyond a firm description of words, and that’s the way I feel like it should be. It is a God given gift. Can Gods gifts can be put in to firm words? They continue, they circle us, they ground us. Let’s let them do that and not put up barriers to them.

© Simon de Voil

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Linear Life

Linear; design, dimension, series, measure.

 In a moment of 'I need to get out of these four walls before I go mad' one day this week I found myself wandering in to the graveyard next to my house. This isn't such an unusual thing for me, to end up there just to get outside for a while. For those of you who know me well, you will know that this is the graveyard where my mum is buried and is a place of comfort for me sometimes. Yet, while walking around this one day, my mind powered in to overdrive and I couldn't help but connect some feelings and thoughts I had previously had there to now make some sense in my mind and in my heart. I'm not even sure that these thoughts didn't make sense before, more that I hadn't connected them in a way which I could comprehend enough to put words to them.

Linear. Regimented. Controlled. Organised. Precise. Fixed. Strict. Definite.

All of these words have quite interesting connotations, and as I walked around this graveyard they are the sorts of words that came to mind. This graveyard was so linear; every row of graves so perfectly formed, each grave spaced equally with the next, every road parallel, every stone carved precisely, each bench lined up with another, the site surrounded by a line of trees.

This is not how life is, not to me. This space is where I see life, life in all it's fullness in some odd way. There are hundreds and thousands of people's important stories that make that space what it is. This space would not be here if it weren't for the lives of these people who are now buried here. Not one of these people had such a defined life, a linear journey, a precise way of living. These people had lives full of adventures, relationships, let downs, emotions, highs, challenges, pain, love, surprise... Do we live one day knowing what will happen to us by the next hour, the next day, the next week? I don't think so.

This sharp difference between this graveyard where we are laid to rest is such a contrast in it's structure, in comparison to the structure of our lives as we live.

There are no answers to life here, just ponderings on how we live, and the importance of that journey we have the privilege of leading.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Nature Calls

When you go on a walk to find an ancient Yew tree, what do you expect? Well, I wasn't really sure of the answer to that question. After my morning visit I am still not sure I have an answer that words will fit to.

The tree was spread out, twisted, gently looming over us, encapsulating safety, standing tall and wide, creating a room within its branches, and embracing us within its grounding of love and care. It feels slighty odd to talk about a tree with characteristics of a human being, but it is oh so true. It is living and breathing and this can be felt while being surrounded by it.

After a lovely morning picnic under the looming branches the tree just called us to listen to it, to God, to the birds, to the ground, to the surroundings and everything that wasn't our own heads. A clear mind. How often is it we get time and space and chance to have a clear mind, truly clear? I know I struggle with that, a lot. But here we were called to stop, to just be. It is safe to be with yourself in a place like this, where nature surrounds you and the external busy world is kept away. The internal parts of us need to be cared for, and we, as human beings, are not always good at that. We often look to care for others, but how often do we honestly care wholly for ourselves? To take the effort to find a place, like this amazing yew tree, gives us the space we need to just be.

I am lucky that I have my special fallen tree just a 10 minute walk from my house, and now I have also discovered this tree a bit further away. It isn't easy to find these places, this space, but I encourage you to take time to find somewhere that you can just be. Just being is underestimated in the world we live in. I find it hard to take myself to these special places when life gets too much, but a wee bit of forcing myself is worth it. If you can get to these places, they will look after you, for a while. All we have to do is let them.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Lyrical Love

When I opened up my blog about 3 hours ago I had so much to write about. In fact, I still do have so much to write about, but I've just spent the past two hours frazzling my brain with college work and writing about my time on Iona for a friends website. I think what I will do is just quote some random bits of songs which have been going round and round in my head for the past few weeks, and then when I find some more time and energy I will at last update this properly. It's not that I don't have anything to say - trust me! - it's just the constraints I have on myself at this moment in time....

"Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load."

Richard A. M. Gillard

" Gather us in - the lost and forsaken,
gather us in - the blind and the lame;
call to us now, and we shall awaken,
we shall arise at the sound of our name"

Marty Haugen

"Don't worry, worrying won't pay the bills.
I would trade in the view from this mountainside
for some tiny little mole hills...
Don't worry, worrying won't make it all stop.
I would trade in the swell of the ocean
for one tiny little raindrop...
Roll away the stone,
I will roll away the stone,
And set you free."

Karine Polwart

"Beauty is within grasp,
Hear the islands call.
The last mile is upon us,
I'll carry you if you fall.
I know the armour's heavy now,
I know the heart is tired.
It's beautiful just over
The wild mountainside.
Wild and free we roam,
Only a mile to go."

John Douglas/Eddi Reader

"Every word you say I think
I should write down
I don't want to forget
Come daylight
And no need to worry
That's wastin time
And no need to wonder
What's been on my mind"

Joshua Radin

"Do you hear when I call in the midst of wrong?
Do you hear these here words while I sing this song?
Are you caught up in me like I heard you say,
or just some big cashier that I'll have to pay?
'Just want to be not what I am today,
I just want to be better than my friends might say,
I just want a small part in your passions play."

William Fitzsimmons

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Learning or Relearning?

These past few weeks have taken me on a journey, in fact what feels like lots of smaller journeys pulled together to only just start to make sense. I guess a journey never has just one straight path to walk along, but many different, winding paths.

I'm sat here in this beautiful garden, notebooks and pens (my addiction to stationery shines through!) surrounding me, the sun shining down (yes, I have no jumper on!), the birds whistling in the trees and the occasional bark from the dog as somebody comes along the drive. It's a very peaceful place to be. And, although I also live in a relatively peaceful place on the outskirts of the city with a view of the Pentland hills from my window, it isn't as peaceful as here for one simple reason - when I'm at home I feel the need to do 'things'. When I'm away from home I can be free to do whatever I want to do, because I simply can't get on and do 'stuff' because I'm not there to do it.

I've spend the past days confined to the walls of my two bedroom flat, with only two very energetic kittens to keep me company. And this is why:

I decided this week to finish painting my bedroom (although the ceiling still needs done...) and then to redecorate the bathroom. Now, there wasn't particularly anything wrong with the bathroom decoration in itself but it had clearly been a while since it had been done; the paper was starting to pull off, there were the odd stains and grime and really it just needed a bit of lightening in because of it's lack on window.

So, this has been my life for the past days. In my flat, stripping wallpaper, filling holes, painting walls, cleaning, drinking tea, playing with kittens and eating jaffa cakes. Oh, and the odd bit of watching the Olympics of course.

What in all of this is about me learning or relearning? Well, there's a lot to be said for having so much time on your own. I love time on my own, this is a known fact. I get so much energy from being on my own. But this week I have learnt, possibly relearnt, that I only love time on my own if I've had time with people. Time with people: I love it, I cherish it, I don't often turn that opportunity down, unless, well, I'm people-d out! People make my world go round, it's that simple. If I don't have people in my life I go slightly crazy, let's face it!

There is something to be said in this about serving. I don't think I'll ever fully understand what it is to serve in God's kingdom. But I do know that I fit better with serving than many other things. So when I'm in my flat on my own for so many hours in a short space of time, I go a bit bonkers. There isn't much serving to be done.

And, yes, as some people have already said to me, it's good to take time to not serve, to be myself and take time to look after myself. But this learning/relearning this week has proven to me that I still need people and other things to stimulate, motivate and inspire me before I am able to stop and 'look after myself'. If I haven't used up much of my battery than I don't need time to recharge it.

There is much, much more I could say on this. But for now it is time for lunch and a cup of tea. Maybe I can say more another time. In the mean time, go use up your battery so you need to charge it again too!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Liberation, belonging, identity

"Come to me and I shall give you rest." 

"One bread, one body, one Lord of all, 
one cup of blessing which we bless, 
and we, though many, throughout the earth, 
we are one body in this one Lord." 
© John Foley, SJ

"You are something new but haven't fogotten where you've come from."

"Lord of all power, I give you my will,
in joyful obedience your task to fulfil...
Lord of all wisdom, I give you my mind,
rich truth that surpasses our knowledge to find...
Lord of all bounty, I give you my heart,
I praise and adore you for all you impart...
Lord of all being, I give you my all;
if I should disown you, I'd stumble and fall."
© John Copley Winslow

Her children arise up and call Her blessed 

What did you learn about yourself during your time on Iona?
How do you feel you are different now?
Has your faith changed, and how?
What did community life teach you about the kingdom of God?
Did living in community make it easier for you to talk to people you don't know?
Do you feel more able to be an involved member of a church after your time there?
What did you learn about God?

These are just some of the many questions I have been asked since finishing my job with the Iona Community back in December. These are some of the questions I have found very hard to answer since then. I realise that they aren't questions I can take and answer lightly. "What did you learn about God and about yourself?" There will never be a one line answer to those types of questions. They are questions about life and questions that I can only begin to answer as I continue to journey through life beyond living on Iona.

One of the things which has been difficult for me in my transition from Iona life back to Edinburgh life is knowing how to 'do' church; where to go, who to be with, what it means to me and so on. I went back once to my church that I attended before moving to Iona and, although knowing deep down I didn't want to go back there full time, it was a very strange experience for me. I say I knew deep down that I didn't want to go back there for a few reasons, but the main reason being something to do with change in myself. The last time I was attending this church on a regular basis I was 19/20 years old. On returning from Iona I was 22 years old. That difference may not seem like much in terms of age, but in terms of where I have been on my life's journey, with God and personally, there is a big difference in those 2-3 years. Of course I love my church family there and I would never want to lose contact with them, but for who I am now this church does not feel like the most comfortable fit for me. As quoted before: "You are something new but haven't fogotten where you've come from." That church will always be the church where I found Christianity for myself, where I began my personal growth and journey with God and where I made so many important friends. I will never forget what that church has allowed me to go on and do. Yet, now, I am something new and I have to let that be what it needs to be.

I have also been back to the church where my dad goes a couple of times. This is the church where I was raised, where Christianity was set in my bones and technically my home church I guess. The familiar - that is what that church is to me. The familiar safety net. In some ways it will always be that for me, and it's very special to have a place like that. I think if I had have had the time lately, which I didn't due to working most weekends, I would have gone here more often. It has been so many years since I have been there regularly that not many people have known me there since I was about 13 years old, and so going back now they take me to be somebody very different. There's that something new again.

So, what does this 'something new' need? I need to not forget where I have come from, from my roots at Christ Church and my growth at Liberton Kirk. I need to allow myself to be who I need to be now within a church, as a 22 years old woman who is now strong in her views, willing to express who she is to the outside world and not so afraid to hide her life journey with anyone. I require somewhere that I can stand up and be open and honest about who I am, and I require somewhere that I can be challenged to a new level over and over again. Life is dull withough challenges. I don't want to sit back in a church community and nod along with everything merrily like a plastic dog sitting on the dash of your car. Of course, like any human, I would like to be accepted in a community for who I am. I would like to be able to accept everybody in that community also, and feel able to contribute something to benefit the wider community (here speaketh the girl about to study Working with Communities....). 

Today I went along to a new church, a church which I found on a simple google search. Augustine United Church in Edinburgh is a beautiful place. The building is so beautifully built right in the centre of town, mixed in with libraries, cafes, shops, pubs, museums and tourist attractions - right in the heart of the community. The building is so beautifully put together inside, with words of inspiration, faith and stories to tell, with community art/craft projects hanging on the halls and with stained glass windows telling very moving stories. The people, most importantly, are also beautiful. The warmth as you walk in is very obvious and welcoming, the smiles are genuine and the words spoken are honest. God can be felt within those walls and within those people. The interest in my life, the enthusiasm for the Iona Community, the smiles of familiar faces (met previously on Iona last year), the words of the sermon and prayers, the songs honestly sung and the spirit of God moving in that place - they are the things that made that church this morning so special for me. It isn't often you will hear a sermon in such 'normal' language that all can understand and relate, songs being sung with such emotion and truth, and a minister positively praying for the same-sex marriage bill in the Scottish parliament. It isn't often you would feel comfortable to sit in a church with a 'Pride!' bracelet on and not feel judged for doing so. The church has a group called Our Tribe and they have recently won an award for the work that they do in their community, and I found this very moving and inspirational. I feel truly blessed to have found this church today, and I hope and pray that it continues to challenge and reward everybody who attends, and more.

This morning God became real for me again for the first time in a while. Since leaving Iona I have not been a regular church goer and that has put a strain on me in many ways. I hope this is another new chapter of my life now, and certainly a new step on my journey. "Lord of all being, I give you my all; if I should disown you, I'd stumble and fall." That stumbling has been oh so real for me in these last months while settling back in to Edinburgh and making decisions of what to do with my life. This past week I have stepped back on my little ladder and journey onwards once more, after time spent on Iona with people who mean the world to me, in the place which I can still call home, and within the Abbey itself, and then finding this church where I hope I can just be me as I begin my new studying venture. Life moves on. "And you can't keep life from moving on so roll along."

Patchwork put together by 'Our Tribe'

"O Christ, you are within each of us.
It is not just the interior of these walls:
It is our own inner being you have renewed.
We are your temple not make with hands.
We are your body.
If every wall should crumble, and every church decay,
we are your habitation.
Nearer are you than breathing,
closer than hands and feet.
Ours are the eyes with which you, in the mystery,
look out with compassion on the world.
Yet we bless you for this place,
for your directing of us, your redeeming of us,
and your indwelling,
Take us outside, O Christ, outside holiness,
out to where soldiers curse and nations clash
and the crossroads of the world.
So shall this building continue to be justified.
We ask it for your own name's sake.
© Wild Goose Publications - Iona Abbey Worship Book

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Royal Observatory: Edinburgh
July 6th 2012:
A day off work for a very tired, worn out, grumpy little person. Full time work, friends staying, sports, committee papers, life decisions and planning, association meetings, denitst appointments, tea and cake dates, shopping, cleaning. The list could go on of what I have been up to for the past few weeks that have made me so busy. Though you may look at that list and think it looks quite average, it has been quite stressful for me. And this day, 6th July, I realised why. It isn't often I will share these moments with people, as they are 'my' moments, but this one has made enough of an impact on my life in the past few days that I feel like sharing it is ok.

I had what can only be described as a twitchy day off. One of those days when you don't really know what to do with yourself, when you wake up in the morning with a list of possible things to do as long as your arm yet no inspiration or motivation to do a single thing off that list. I like lists. But on this day that list didn't really matter to me. It was drizzly outside and the wind was whistling through my living room window as I tried to sit still and read my book, with a cup of tea in hand. Sitting still isn't something I do well, but I try. This trying failed as I knew something wasn't right inside of me. What, though?

A few hours later after going to Sainsburys, cleaning the kitchen and hanging my washing I got in the car, turned the engine on and pressed play on the cd player. I drove. But where was I going? I had no idea. I had no plan, I had no aim, I had nowhere to go. I just needed to go.

15 minutes later I found myself up on Blackford Hill. It hadn't been many days since I was last there with my friend watching the sun set over this beautiful city. 

Sunset from Blackford Hill

"Hour after hour in this evening light
How long will we stay here tonight?
There's still a distant power in the daylight
But you can keep it for the morning.
And the shadows of the woods
We could hide from what we know
But as I understood
We were hiding from tomorrow"

So there I was standing on the top of this hill. It's not a big hill at all. Just a hill. But a hill with quite some view. To my left perfect rows of houses. In front of me stood the castle, high and majestic, with the water behind it. To my right Arthurs Seat towered above the city. Behind me the ski slope lit up the distant Pentland hills. But, most importantly, surrounding me there was air. Air that I could feel, air that I could breathe, air that I could join with. 
The weather creeping in over the city
The wind continued to blow as it had all day, and the rain splattered down on my head. It was cold up the hill. There was a man running, a woman walking two brown spaniels and a family of four racing back to the car before the rain poured down. The usual popularity of this hill was no more as the weather closed in around it. There I stayed. I stood. I listened. I watched. I knelt. I heard. I saw.

"And you can't keep life from moving on
So roll along till there's nowhere to go"

Life can move at quite some pace sometimes. That pace can be too fast for me to appreciate all that is happening. In the run up to me standing on this hill I had some great days and weeks, with the most amazing of friends I could ever ask for to keep me sane. Yet here I stood only just realising those joys, because I had the space to be 'me'.

"And my advice
It was to make something out of what it's worth
Make something out of what it's worth
In the end, what's more important?
To have toiled?
To have tried?
I'll let you decide"

 I am an introvert. That's it. That is what all of this is about. I am an introvert.

This is a fact anybody who knows me will know. As an introvert I get easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation, if you like. As an intorvert I require solitude and stillness. That is what has been missing lately. This hill made me remember this. I say remember because I knew all of this before, so it wasn't a realisation, it was a reminder. This is me still getting used to how to live in the city again after spending so much time on a remote Scottish island. My automatic reaction when over stressed and unable to concentrate was to get in my car and drive somewhere away from people. I ended up on the top of this hill, overlooking this city which I love so much, getting cold and wet, knelt on wet grass, and for the first time in weeks I was still. Not just physically still. Internally still. Content. Able to think. Able to feel alive. Able to connect with the God who is so much bigger than I am. Able to stretch my mind. Able to feel people close who are at a distance. Able to enjoy the stillness inside of me. 

With 'Be still and know that I am God' going around in my head I knelt there for quite some time, just breathing in the fresh air and taking all of the wind and rain and view in. Nature is such an amazing thing. Nature makes me alive. Really, trully alive. I love sitting in my flat, I love being in cafe's with a cuppa tea chatting, I love being busy. But if I don't take this time to be in nature, I am unable to enjoy all of that love. So, from now on, when I find myself getting stressed at life, I must just go and say hello to nature, take in the air and enjoy the elements for the freedom they give me. I did it before, I forgot recently how to do it, and just needed that one evening to nudge me in the right direction again.

This introvert needs to be an introvert and that is ok. That is who I am and that is what I will continue to be.

"In your love, my salvation lies"

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Differences; spoken or unspoken

The word difference says so much. But how much are our differences spoken about or unspoken?

I am going to speak. If you have differences with me, then go ahead and speak too. If you agree with me, then go ahead and speak too.

As somebody who has been working for and living with the Iona Community for the past few years I think it's only right if I share something from them. The Iona Community response to same sex marriage makes for an interesting read. When I first read these responses I was very proud to be part of this organisation. But it wasn't until a few days later when I read them again that I wondered how many other organisations, especially from a faith-based perspective, would be so strong in making their views known. The world makes it difficult at times to be strongly opinionated. There is a lot of opposition, no matter what the issue. But there is also a lot of support. However, how will you ever know who agrees with you if you aren't willing to share your point of view? Sometimes all it takes is one person to speak out for others to follow suit.

With the Ipsos results just being published and The Equality Network appearing on Sunday Politics show today I have to wonder how many conversations are floating around Scotland about equal marriage. (I am not excluding the consultation in England and Wales in this deliberately, I am just focusing on what I have seen in the news these past day!) I know that many of my friends and people I am connected to do not agree with same sex marriage, and I am not in any way trying to anger you by writing this and being strong in my opinions. I do, however, hope that maybe eyes can be opened even in the slightest. I am not going to ask you to change your opinions and beliefs. I am not going to force you to engage in debate. I am not going to ask you to agree with me. I ask you to treat everyone the same, whether you accept their life or not, because they are still human. Everyone has the right to their opinion and their beliefs and their way of leading their lives. And this is exactly why I agree with same sex marriage. Whether I 'label' myself as bisexual or not, I have had this view point on this matter since I was old enough to understand it.

There is debate as to whether or not allowing same sex marriage will force religious organisations to perform same sex ceremonies, whether they want to or not. There is debate about how the law will be brought in to force to stop this from happening. There is debate around who can and can't perform these marriages. And I agree, these things need to be sorted out, so that nobody should be forced to do anything they don't want to. That is very possible with good wording and enforcement of the law. And in the same way, everyone needs to be able to act how they want around this issue. For the religious organisations who don't want to be a part of this, they can opt to never perform a single same sex marriage, and for those people who want to get married to the person they love, they can opt to do so. Choice. Free choice. If the law allows marriage between two people who love each other then everybody should be happy. Those who want to get married can get married. Those who don't want to get married don't get married. Those who want to marry couples can marry them. Those who don't want to marry couples don't marry them. Tell me what is wrong about that, about free choice.

The other thing that has got me stirred up in to writing this (not only because I have a day with no plans but drinking tea and tidying!) is that my flatmate, my friend, my dad and I watched the film Milk last night. This film follows the life of Harvey Milk, gay activist in the 1970's, through a few years of his life as the first openly gay elected official to the day of his assassination. (The best line from this film, for me: "If it were true that children emulate their teachers, we'd have a lot more nuns running around"!) I think this is a film more people should watch if they want to understand more about gay rights and how this debate all began.

So, here I am, sat at my desk sharing my opinions with you. I know my opinions may be different from yours. But at least I'm speaking out. Are you? Go on, say what you think and maybe even tell the government. I have.

p.s. This isn't the only issue I relate to that I could write about, but it is the one that stands out the most with the public eye watching the parliamentary debates. Refugee and asylum seeker discussion next?