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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars

on 27 April 2017
A very honest account of the support and prejudice met along the life of of a good man in a prominent position in society.
Will we ever learn?
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on 7 September 2013
Anyone who has been following the remarkable transformation of gay life in the UK over the past twenty years must have noticed how much more favourably disposed the public and many institutions are towards LGBT people and their lifestyles. But in the 1960s and before, things were entirely different, and to be gay or lesbian in religious circles, particularly in the Church of England, was an unmentionable subject. Even today there are huge prejudices and reluctance to accept the concept of gay marriage, for instance. Malcolm Johnson was often a lone voice in the wilderness, loyally sticking up for the rights of gays and lesbians in the church, thoughout those bleak times. This book is his record of some of the down times as well as the occasional victory in the fight for recognition. It's by turns tragic, moving, and funny, but always a rivoting account which makes Dr Johnson one of the unsung heroes of the gay and lesbian community within the Church of England. I read this book in just a few hours and was enthralled and indeed enlightened about how one person can cope living against such odds. A brave man indeed, this is Dr Johnson's story of how it was back then and how much better things have become. .
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on 8 September 2013
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.
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on 12 October 2013
Vicars are not noted for their bravery or courage. But Malcolm Johnson is brave and courageous.His diary records his battles with the Church of England's hypocrisy in its attitudes to gays and lesbians. He describes how he bothered about homeless people,established hostels,now housing associations.He was an astute fundraiser.His tenacity and persistence are wonderful.
But what the Diary really conveys is Malcolm Johnson's humanity. He is not heavy handed,earnest or self regarding. His heart aches taking the many funerals of young men dying of Aids,some of whom were his friends. Butwhen he is cornered his anger is palpable;he is strong and unflinching in the face of bigotry and stupidity.

The Diary is written with a light touch. His very English wry sense of humour raises a smile on every page. This is a most compelling autobiography. If I have one criticism it is too short. We need an unexpurgated version. But I guess that may be libellous,so we have to make do with what we have. Buy it.just right for a Christmas gift.
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on 16 October 2013
This book is written by a brave man who happens to be a priest, pastor, academic and creative. The book is sometimes light hearted and often serious and sad. It tracks the history of the Church of England's unhappy track record with homosexuality.
This book should be read by every bishop and on the compulsory reading list of every ordinand. My only niggle is the front cover illustration. It gives the impression that the content may be akin to a Carry On film. A Carry On Screenplay it is not. There is much in the book to be considered and prayed about. There is much the Church still needs to reach out to and fully respect to those you still find themselves on the edge of Society.
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on 7 October 2013
This diary should find its rightful place in the history of the struggle for gay rights in Britain. Malcolm Johnson is a gay Anglican priest in an organisation where, as with the RC Church, there are a significant number of gay clerics and where the hierarchy buries its head in the sand - or worse - when it comes to their rights or that of other LGBT people. Malcolm Johnson did not just fight the system, he was a pioneer of the rights and welfare of LGBT people, especially when, in the 1980s, HIV/AIDS was being treated as a gay plague. He was also a champion of the homeless.
There are plenty of heroes and villains in this story, and plenty who stood on the sidelines. The overall picture is of an organisation (the Church of England) with some wonderful and brave people in it but whose leadership is often timid and weakened by the church's position as an official organ of the state.
Malcolm Johnson has been a courageous hero of the struggle for Gay rights and this diary is a compelling account.
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on 9 October 2013
A frank and moving diary that shows how much progress parts of the church have made and also how far the church has to go. Father Johnson's courage and integrity shine through on every page.
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on 11 October 2013
This book lifts the curtain on the hypocrisy of the Church of England and many institutions about homosexuality and sexual behaviour generally. It is often hilarious and terribly moving. Readers who are not familiar with church institutions need a few clues, like knowing that a cross in front of a name means the person is a bishop. Malcolm Johnson's description of being chaplain to a Jewish Lord Mayor of London is perhaps the most bizarre part of the book - very funny, but it really makes one wonder what the Corporation of the City of London is up to in fancy dress. Overall, Johnson's perception about the people he encounters - most importantly homeless people, the transgender, lesbian and gay communities and people dying from AIDS - and the events he lives through is deep, humane and liberating. Buy this book, you need it!
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on 27 December 2013
Although I already knew that Malcolm had stood up for the rights of gay people I had never before realised how much courage this must have taken nor how many vitriolic and vindictive vendettas foolish church leaders launched against him for standing his ground and being honest. Nor did I realise what effort this must have taken and what sadness Malcolm has endured.

But this is not a sad book. It is a delightful book, both moving and funny and well worth buying. Malcolm's wonderful humour and kindness shines through on every page.

My only regret is the title because Malcolm is much much more than a gay priest. He is loving and sincere in his care for people. He is kind and fun and easy to talk to and deeply compassionate. He has not only stood up for gays, he has also worked for the homeless and the disadvantaged and the marginalised. Malcolm is indeed an excellent priest and he has written an excellent book.
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on 6 October 2013
If you wish to get an idea of what it is to be a gay priest then this is the book for you. It is written with honesty and one feels deeply for what Malcolm went through and can only be thankful that he has shared it with us. BUY.
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