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The story of a 'diamond' in the Church of England,
This review is from: Diary Of A Gay Priest: The Tightrope Walker (Paperback)
I have known Malcolm Johnson for about ten years now both professionally as a priest and as a close friend.
My connection with Malcolm began when my mother's first job after leaving school in the 1950s was at Malcolm's family's factory as a machinist in Great Yarmouth. Malcolm and I both come from Great Yarmouth and I knew of Malcolm's existence and what an amazing priest he was from talking to a friend. We felt that he was a `Yarmouth Boy made good!'
There is always a danger when you meet someone who you look up to and respect that they may not live up to your expectations! This was not the case with Malcolm.
As a priest he is caring and compassionate. He has the great gift to make people feel loved and very special. His kindness and warmth has helped many people in times of trouble. As a friend he is loving and sincerely interested in you.
I have been looking forward to reading his diary for a very long time. Having listened to his many stories I wondered just how many more there were to tell: this book proves how little I knew about his past. The book was fascinating to read from start to finish. I laughed as I was reading the very first page. It was the part about having been shown how to wring a chicken's neck when younger that there were several bishops he would have enjoyed doing that to in later life!
It is not long into the book before you start to tap into the very deep sadness that Malcolm lived through while serving in the army, training to be a priest and then his early priestly ministry. When he meets his long term partner, Robert, it is like the sun has come out and Malcolm's life is transformed. The book gives a true insight into Malcolm and Robert. Nothing is held back. The story about Robert and the bishop and the `Tits or Bums' incident is hilarious.
At times I had to stop reading the book as I found it so very sad. These episodes are usually caused by the church hierarchy of fellow clergy, area deans, archdeacons and bishops. Malcolm is described as a priest who is just holding onto the Church of England by his eyelashes. After reading his book I am so glad that I jettisoned the C of E two years ago. I was shocked to read the vitriolic actions that were launched against Malcolm and his work with the poor, down and outs, the homeless, gay people and people with AIDs.
My one criticism of the book (apart from it is not long enough) is the title. Yes, Malcolm is a gay priest but being `gay' is just ONE of the many facets of the diamond which is Malcolm Johnson.