The Revd Wyn Beynon

Speech at Hustings Old Palace Worcester September 2015

Do you think that Ezra and Nehemiah are heroes, or villains?

Those Old Testament books are theological accounts of what happened
at the Restoration of Israel returning from exile.

About rebuilding walls and excluding people who are not racially pure.
Making sharp demarcation lines physically on the ground and in the hearts of people.

Ezra and Nehemiah are the ugly sisters in the pantomime that is the Old Testament.

I feel sorry for Buttons. Or as we know him, Third Isaiah.

For thus says the LORD: To the eunuchs .. and the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,.. their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

The task for the next synod is to govern the Church so as to ensure
it doesn't build walls of narrowness, excluding people because they are different.

Challenging those who see the Gospel in terms of“in” and “out”. “Right” and “wrong”. “Growth” and “Decline”, “Success” and “Failure”.

To listen to Isaiah (the 5th Gospel) not Ezra and Nehemiah.

Jesus never quoted them,
but began his ministry reciting Third Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me..... !”

Ezra and Nehemiah are examples of faith gone wrong.
The Old Testament is NOT a pantomime. Everyone does NOT live happily ever after.

It's a tragedy, and the attitudes of Ezra and Nehemiah
still cause misery in the Holy Land this very day.

In the Church, purist, unholy, attitudes still cause misery
to those excluded because of difference: Deaf, blind, lame, mentally ill,
learning difficulties, race, sometimes children, gay folk, even women, and the poor.

In some Pantos there's a chorus child who gets a speaking part.
In the Old Testament that's Haggai, who says to Ezra and Nehemiah,
stop building walls and rebuild the Temple. A Temple for all, an untidy place.

Renew your worship, not your barriers.
OrthodoxA - right glory, - just as important as Orthodoxy, right thinking.

Especially let's put Contemplative Prayer at the heart of Discipleship.
Are we a house of prayer for all peoples?

The Gospel's not about being RIGHT. It's about being CONNECTED.

If you prefer the Buttons of Third Isaiah to the ugly sisters of Ezra & Nehemiah, … being CONNECTED to being CORRECT
please put a big 1 against the name Wyn Beynon.

Thank you!