- November 27, 2017
Every few weeks I am joined in the Latest TV studio by a man who I now consider to be a friend. The Reverend Michael Hydes is the minister at The Village Metropolitan Community Church in Brighton’s Kemp Town. He joins me for recordings of Queer Say, our discussion programme that looks at global LGBT+ issues and he brings a sense of balanced reason to every episode. That and a sense of humour.
It’s great to share the stage with a man of faith. I grew up involved in the church partly because I believed and partly because in a small village outside a small town the church was the only way to have any kind of social life. I didn’t think of it in that way at the time, but in hindsight it certainly played a part. I now question my decision as a teenage boy to join a military styled church youth organisation, especially one with a marching bagpipe band! I left pretty soon when I saw that the moral code employed by the leaders could be influenced by how well-to-do one’s parents were perceived to be – a long story that I will happily tell if you bump into me.
I now question my decision as a teenage boy to join a military styled church youth organisation
Back to Michael and to faith. I respect Michael’s faith wholeheartedly, he is gentle and sincere. More importantly he listens and so far has never tried to bulldoze his beliefs into the programme or indeed into my life. Nor does he disrespect my lack of faith.
In a way I envy him. I envy his faith or more specifically I respect and envy that he has a faith, something to genuinely believe in, something that he uses for the greater good. There’s no bible-bashing, lectern-thumping evangelical clap trap, but there are some very pure Christian values and it makes me realise that perhaps after a childhood steeped in religion, at church and at school, I am something else. Could I be a Christian who does not believe in god? Does that exist as a concept? I sort of hope it does, and at the same time I hope it does not because if it does – and it is an attractive option – then before you know it, it could become a new kind of church. I’m now so uncomfortable with churches and what in so many cases and over centuries is done in their names, whatever faith they might be, and there are plenty to choose from.
Michael talks of truth, truths being at the heart of good, and as I get to know him I think he is right. Live as true a life as you can, be true to one another, and hope that others will be true to you.