Last week I was in Ireland and while I had a great time, it was not all perfect and one of the difficult things was meeting my dad.

My dad and I have never been friends and since Jesus came into my life even less so!

How after him working so hard that I could just give it all up is beyond his ability to understand or accept and when he looks at me it’s like he’s looking at an extraterrestrial.

Such are the mysteries of God and in the Bible Jesus makes it clear that we must follow God and love God more than our mothers and fathers and yet at the same time we must honour our parents.

So I suppose you could sum it up by saying “I love you guys and thanks for everything but I must live my own life and follow God’s plans for me and not yours!”.

Some parents can understand and accept this better than others and to be fair even though it took her some time, my mum eventually got it and accepted the calling of God for my life.

She’s a mean cook too!

But understanding and accepting takes efforts and to understand a life like mine one must learn about the Holy Spirit and his ways and also be willing to learn about things like homosexuality etc.

Sadly my dad hasn’t been able to make this effort and so besides very trivial conversation about the cows we had nothing else to say to eachother.

Often in my life I’ve found this hard, like an empty hole where the love, encouragement and affirmation of the father was missing and where I had to paddle my own canoe as they say!

This of course isn’t just for me, this is the story of an awful lot of people both gay and straight and is quite typical of many Irish fathers.

Which is why it’s even more sad that outside the church last night there were a few people protesting and it all being led by an Irish man!

Just in case we haven’t been wounded and hurt enough by our fathers, we have this little man dressed up like a leprauchan on Saint Patrick’s day accusing us and pointing the finger and if that wasn’t enough, with him was an Irish lady from the travelling community who mentioned something about keeping paedophiles away as I was taking this photo.

It is very sad that instead of being able to come into the church and pray the rosary with us and love and encourage us in our ministry that these people do the exact opposite.

Between John who has a gay background, the traveller lady and the black woman, how terriby sad that these people who are no strangers to discrimination should now discriminate against us!

If any group of people should know the effects of bullying and the pain and injustice of the world it would be a gay, a traveller and a black and yet helas, here they are to rub salt in our wounds.

Now don’t get me wrong, our prayer evening went really well last night and I may write about it tomorrow but one thing is for sure and that is that it would go even better if these people changed their hearts and helped us in bringing hurting members of the gay community (including black and traveller gays) to merciful Jesus and helped heal the wounds of rejection and pain from the lack of love from family and church.

‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.