The times they are a-changin’

Whilst here in Britain the Church of England’s General Synod was struggling to find a compromise between its homophobic, traditionalist, misogynist, evangelical, anglo-catholic and liberal factions over issues that the rest of us had stopped worrying about years ago, Michelle Obama held a party at The White House to celebrate the civil rights movement that helped to make her husband the first black American president.

Meanwhile today we can celebrate the 20th. anniversary of the release from prison in South Africa of Nelson Mandela.

None of us are perfect and neither is the World but, the Church of England apart, we can look society in the face today, certainly in our liberal developed and maybe more than slightly self-satisfied Western democracies and think that the times really are a-changin’.

So I am ignoring all the inter-family friction and the political difficulties in South Africa that are reputedly making Mr Mandela’s final years less than joyful just as I am trying to ignore the potentially destructive anti-Obama movement in the States and the hysterical out-pouring of the evangelical Christians.

There was an opinion poll in Britain last month which showed that even if our politics is moving gently to the right in this country then at least our social attitudes have liberalised to a significant degree over the last decade.

So when a venerable old grey-haired man stood there in the White House the other day strumming his guitar and singing The Times They Are a-Changin’ in front of Barrack and Michelle Obama, I wanted to sing along with him.

Bob Dylan too is not a saint but it might be true to think of him as a prophet when listening again to those songs of over 40 years ago when he seemed like a voice crying in the wilderness.

Let’s keep that change growing.


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