The insidious creepingness of all faiths and none

I am writing a daily blog (Monday to Friday)  on preparing spiritually and physically

to lead a Pilgrimage of 100 miles in September.

for details of the Pilgrimage, click on the dropdown Cotwold Pilgrimage bar at the top of this page 


Elation and excitement.

Arriving at Highgrove, home of HRH The Prince of Wales.

Being waved through the gate, shown where to park.

And Leave your cameras and mobile phones in your car. No photos. None whatsoever

Welcomed and led into the Gardens.

Our Guide, she was all pink and purple, with a peep of bright green wellies..

-Now, d’you see? she says, pointing out this plant and that.

- And His Royal Highness has such good sense of humour: d’you see? and she waves at the duck egg blue board which proclaimed: Entering an old fashioned establishment. GMO free.

- He is such a fun gracious man, she enthuses. He plans it all, chooses the plants.

He wants a garden which delights the eye, warms the heart, feeds the soul.

- D’you see that little statue? A thank you from the Welsh children’s charity.  He has them here for a Christmas party every year.

- Oh and when he takes us round each year and points out all the new things, it’s such an honour.  D’you see?

We did see – and there’s the boss!

That IS him, isn’t it, my boss, the Bishop of London.  Beheaded and on top of the wall.

- Are you a Vicar then, she enquires wide eyed? Yes, that’s the Bishop of London. And the other heads too: all people that the Prince admires. Dr Kathleen Raine, the poet and scholar; Sir John Taverner, the composer; Dr Vandana Shiva, the environmental campaigner. D’you see?

The rain is obliging and holds off. It’s damp and windy but dry.

And there we are, standing at the front door of the house.

Right at the front door. Did you ever think you would get this close, she asks? He wants you to see it all.

We do, we are -  in awe and wonder.

Is that his bedroom window, opened a crack, curtains parted? Does he sit hereon this garden bench? And here? He must be glad when we all are gone.

- And one last thing, she promises, d’you see? D’you see this plain wall and these simple wood doors?

She throws them open. The Carpet Garden. Based on the design of a Turkish carpet in the house.

It’s so beautiful, calm, tranquil. D’you see?

Nature to heal and restore the soul.

Healing plants.

Life giving water properties.

All the best of the Islamic faith, nurturing and healing and life restoring. Not what you read of when the extremists get hold of the faith; but Islam at its best, its basis. A place for nurturing and restoration.  D’you see?


And I want to cry out, to intervene.

We are being fed snippets of positive Islamic faith.  Were I to do the same with my Christian faith, I would be hounded down.

But it’s there in our culture each day.

The insidious, creeping takeover – whether it’s gay lifestyle, civil marriages, all faiths and none:

just as long as it isn’t Christian.

You can do what you like, say what you like, believe what you like – as long as it’s not Christian.

I gaze up at the The Crescent which dominates this beautiful garden.

And I don’t say a word.

My silence is my acquiessence.

What might Ann have said?

Why in the world don’t I say these words aloud to strangers more often? Why don’t I live them more clearly? I am ashamed of how many times, unlike the apostle Paul, I have been ashamed of the gospel, the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16)

And what are we really here to do but to live the Great Commission — not the Great Optional? 




Or even thought?

Our Guide smiles.

- Your Champagne tea awaits. She points to the tea room.

And I gratefully flee.