I live in retirement on the edge of a village near Devizes in Wiltshire. I’m slowly working out what being retired is about – knowing I have new freedoms but also that I’m still pursued by familiar passions, to which I need to give expression – hence this website.
Some days – warm, sunny days - I can immerse myself in my garden. I can be totally lethargic, stretched out in the sun reading The Guardian or a novel. When my knee heals, I’ll continue to develop the 32mm narrow gauge live steam railway. I go to the theatre as much as before, both to the National Theatre in London, as well as other West End Theatres and the more local theatres in Bath and Bristol. I read a lot, enjoy architecture and townscape, go for meandering walks in the wilds of Salisbury Plain and across the chalk downlands of Wiltshire and allow generous time for dreaming and meditating. I’m beginning to visit preserved steam railways more frequently. I intend to do the same for exhibitions. I’m learning to look at things generously.
I’ve been writing a book for over six years. In part it’s a history of my involvement with the campaign for a change of attitude in the Church of England towards the place of LGBTI people in the Church. In part, it’s about my mid-life discovery that I’m not only a committed activist but also a deeply contemplative person. It's only in recent years that I've come to realise that the contemplative path has been neglected in the twentieth century Church. And it might be two separate books, ultimately. This website contains material which was written for the book and is a means of making me write more.
Do I need to write that I’m gay? Well, I am. I didn’t knowingly meet another gay man until I was 28. I was 32 when I found myself for the first time in a totally affirming gay environment – Westcott House Theological College, Cambridge. I didn’t fully come out until I was 45 and my first step was to tell my Parochial Church Council. The eldest member, aged 82, said “I knew that, what’s the big deal?” It had never occurred to the youngest member, married with children and with strong fantasies about me, that I was gay.
I’ve lived outside of the gay closet for twenty-five years now. There’s another closet I’ve inhabited for more than 45 years and that I have been steadily dismantling. It’s the closet in which contemplative, apophatic, theologically radical, evolutionary people live in Church circles. I’ve always censored the truth about what I do and don’t believe and who I really am as a Christian. I’ve discovered many, many people in somewhat similar positions. This website is an attempt to flee that closet for good.