Peter Levite: Welcome to this Radio Chadderbox looking backwards and forwards. I'll introduce us as we go along. Try and just nibble your mince pies will you otherwise we'll all be speaking with our mouths full. You've got a lot to be happy about next year.
Rowan Tree: Yes, I become an adult education art teacher.
Peter Levite: Rowan tree. Days left as Archbishop. Then you'll become Baron Tree von Mumbles in Abertawe and have your own Oystercard for travelling to the House of Lords and exercising your mouth.
Rowan Tree: Yes I will become a life peer.
Peter Levite: Plenty to say? Can you say it clearly in the House of Lords?
Rowan Tree: I will try to speak without unclarity but I will try not to speak when it queers the pitch, so to speak, of my successor. Perhaps I should not use the expression, 'queers the pitch', given one of the running issues of my time and no doubt future time.
Barry Brokeback: How utterly depressing.
Justin R. Ewing: This is the way it is. This is the way former Archbishops continue in the House of Lords. This is the award of the life peerage.
Peter Levite: Your full in-tray is the women bishops business, and the queer business won't go away.
Rowan Tree: Just a moment - without upsetting his pitch, perhaps I'll put it. Humm. As my successor he might just want to look again at what lay behind the thinking that led towards considering the Covenant of the Communion, the creation of a more identifiable worldwide Church I think. But I don't want to, well, yes, or indeed no, queer his pitch. Sorry, but we in the Church take our ethics from within the text we have the right to consult and not the secular culture.
Barry Brokeback: Have you ever thought that the Holy Spirit might be operating in the secular world and embarrassing the Church?
Peter Levite: Gay activist Barry Brokeback. Not good times for you in the immediate future.
Barry Brokeback: It's a revolution and is blowing the walls in from the outside.
Justin R. Ewing: The intention for the future would be less luggage. The intention would be tackling pressing matters quickly where needed. The intention is to listen where there is a more long-term change possibility.
Peter Levite: Why do you say things in threes?
Justin R. Ewing: To speak as I do is trinitarian in foundation. To speak as I do is to grasp the basis of summarising what I want to say. To speak as I do allows the hearer to grasp the three pronged nature that underlies most approaches to things.
Peter Levite: It could get a bit tedious.
Justin R. Ewing: One mustn't forget the international aspect. One mustn't forget my experience of the rich and contrast with the poor. One mustn't forget it is too easy to make assumptions.
Peter Levite: Rachel Marsovenus is with us again and with a friend. What are your priorities?
Rachel Marsovenus: I think I want to use commercial advertising to spread my message more. This is the world of sense-experience and just like a good charismatic session there is also selling to give that buzz.
Jade Stowaway: Yeah I mean I just love the tinsel and the joy and the coming around every year. It's the joy of the new birth, the turning of the year. That's the real message of Christmas.
Rachel Marsovenus: I thought Luke described Christmas. And he is unafraid of emotion and big about celebration. But it's not about tinsel, surely. What has happened to you in this last year?
Jade Stowaway: Just redefining things. Redefining lots of issues given that many evangelicals are no friends of women.
Bobby Aquarius: Luke does not describe; but it's not about unreliable sources, defective memories, or mistaken observations; it is deliberate so we cannot take the stories literally.
Peter Levite: Welcome first time to Bobby Aquarius, a recently retired Unitarian minister.
Rowan Tree: But I think there may be a means in the narrative to rehistoricise within the density of text at least by regulative demand that the Church community expects. So one can just about discuss the detail in the account on its own terms and as God's action seen from within that encounter by the engaged believer.
Harry Tick: What? You mean it is just a lot of text and no different from inhabiting the world of the novel. And you, a Unitarian minister, who thinks coincidence is pre-arranged and now that some force laid down text with the intention to deceive? What sort of magical world is that? We do not live in such a world.
Bobby Aquarius: Probability is boring. Magical indeed it is. Well, on Easter Sunday a few years ago I mentioned what the great Church Father Origen wrote in the third Christian century: absurdities and contradictions appear in the text to force us to look beneath the surface to find the real meaning of the story.
Peter Levite: What are the issues for Unitarians then in the near future, for 2013? You made a lot of noise in 2012.
Bobby Aquarius: Toleration for magical people like me. The Pagans are coming.
Harry Tick: The Pagans are coming but some are also critical, text based themselves, liturgical - a new way of doing year-round spirituality.
Bobby Aquarius: Magic is coming along.
Harry Tick: Well I'm all in favour of coming alongside with Liberal Catholicism and its use of magick, but if we give up a critical apparatus then we are nothing.
Bobby Aquarius: I use a critical apparatus - just in the opposite direction. So Bethlehem represents Virgo and thus virgin, see. We don't have to be the religious equivalents of Richard Dawkins.
Harry Tick: But we can be the religious equivalents of Carl Sagan. The religious message is within the universe as it is.
Bobby Aquarius: This is the dawning of the Age...
Harry Tick: No, it's the debate between the rational and the non-rational in religion, and how you have both. But for the denomination, it has learnt, with benefit, about how to do publicity on radical issues.
Barry Brokeback: For me, the universe showers forth the good of the future if we can just tap into it and draw upon its well-springs. The closed world of Christianity in its repetition, all those carols, its inbuilt misogyny and discrimination cannot express this and so I didn't go to church on Christmas Eve. But I remain Anglican and call for it to swing wide the gates.
Rachel Marsovenus: For the saviour waits - but no I think marriage is a man and a woman, because this bit of evangelicalism doesn't prevent women from being ministers.
Peter Levite: We have not heard a word from you, Lesley Tilgate, the sometime commentator we use on this programme, once called Lesley Bloke. What's the future for you?
Lesley Tilgate: I agree with everyone. I love being a minister. We need total equality but I am happy in my job so that's that. So it is one clause please next time for women bishops, and we want gay marriage in the Church in England, but without these totally then vote against and I will carry on regardless anyway.
Peter Levite: Emails and text messages tell me it is rough out there for people on benefits. After all, clergy very rarely lose their jobs, lose their income. That's a good motive isn't it, self-interest and keep drawing the salary.
Lesley Tilgate: Unless it's like so many women clergy who don't get paid anything for what they do. Non-Stipendary Ministers are completely exploited. The inequality is disgraceful, but unless we have total equality I'd vote against any progress and I'll carry on complaining from where I am within this sexist, homophobic organisation that no one sane would want to join.
Peter Levite: Any problems in 2013 from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans?
Rachel Marsovenus: Yes if they are evangelicals who prevent women being bishops or even priests. But we ought to bring them in.
Barry Brokeback: Perhaps they ought to have been shown the door. They are entryists.
Rachel Marsovenus: With respect, Barry, are you not an entryist now? At least Lesley abides by the rules.
Barry Brokeback: No, because all that I do and say is above board.
Rachel Marsovenus: So Jesus is the King of Kings, totally perfect, the one to follow?
Barry Brokeback: Even Rev. Farmer Giles said to the journalist Polly Prattle that he doesn't take it literally. 'Of course not,' he said, and it's about a universal baby, the story, he says, that is the best expression of the smallness that is the greatness.
Harry Tick: This is all shiftiness.
Rowan Tree: It might just be a little more than that when one examines it more closely.
J. R . Ewing: It is in the text. It is in the contrast. It is right there.
Peter Levite: And will you be tackling the FCA, J. R.?
J. R . Ewing: Experience matters as a corporate manager. Experience matters when it comes to organisational definitions. Experience matters when it comes to dealing with the ins and outs.
Peter Levite: Weather?
George Hudson: Be careful what you wish for.
Bobby Aquarius: Exactly. In April 2012 people wished against the dryness, and then it rained and rained and rained.
Harry Tick: Yeah, it's called the Jet Stream, and it dumps rain. It has no moral intention and does not move according to human wishes. This is worse than the worst form of fundamentalism.
Rachel Marsovenus: We've all got problems then.
George Hudson: We have, especially when it rains a lot, like here at Pickering Station.
Harry Tick: Especially with this government, because for the first time people are really worried. All this Church stuff is so much crap set against what is about to happen to the poorest. And how the Liberal Democrats can be a part of this is the biggest betrayal of the lot. The agonies of the religious institutions is entertainment compared with what is coming to so many.
Peter Levite: I was thinking of asking this, was asking this a bit. So should people be forced to work for their benefits, or have enough to keep heads above water and so keep the economy spending, or have support and even sympathy from understanding the situations people find themselves in with the failures of modern capitalism? Well, we've run out of time.
J. R . Ewing: You might be right there. You might be right there. You might be right there.