A 30 Years Journey begins with, “You’re dead wrong, Ron!”

Mary Magdala Community

A 30 Years Journey Begins with, “You’re Dead Wrong, Ron!”©

by Rev. Jim Ryan,  jimryan6885@gmail.com

Community blog:  https://maryofmagdala-mke.org/blog

At the end of May in 2015 the people of Ireland voted for marriage equality, thereby making love and not legal barriers the hallmark of the contemporary Irish way of life.  The event coincided in that year’s Liturgical with the Feast of the Holy Trinity.  And since the symbol of trinity is so loved in “Old Erin,” I thought why not blend the celebrations.  So, I wrote this (perhaps, it’s a poem).

Trinity Sunday — Ireland Votes

Sing you Irish sweethearts,

she with he, she with she, he with he, he with she.

Awake to this new day that believers won!

It’s about who you love, darlin’, and who loves you back.


She-soul or he-soul imaging he-One or she-One,

this One who starts us, points us, gifts us, ends us,

this One who believers Won.

She with he, she with she, he with he,

She-he with he-she, he-she with he-she, she-he with she-he

She-she with she-she and he-he with he-he.


Laugh, laugh;  jumble, jumble;  fall, fall into Threeness.

Or, sweethearts believin’, make, give, be alive.

Alas, you are love and love is God.

For we are love who is God.


This plebiscite of the Irish people overturned barriers political, social, and  ecclesiastical, as well as all sorts of other institutional means that kept Ireland fixed in concrete for far too long.  For Jean and me it was the kindling of a 30 year memory of our first visit to Ireland.  In April, 1985 we made the crossing from Holyhead to DunLaoighre on the ferry across the Irish Sea.  We caught a late night train from Rhyl in Wales to Holyhead, which is where one catches the ferry to Ireland.

That night train was coming from London on its way to Holyhead.  On it traveled many who had spent more than a few hours in pubs around Victoria Station waiting to catch it.  As is the case with such revelers discussions of great import were had, just the kind that with the clarity of the new day all is forgotten.  We joined the train in Rhyl on its way west.  As we settled into our seats looking forward to a quiet and uneventful trip we could not but overhear an animated conversation that was taking place between two young people, an Irish woman and, from the sounds of his accent, an American man.

The Irish woman was trying to impress on the American that Ireland was a woebegone backwater of a country when it came to sexual morality and practices.  She informed him, much to his disbelief, that if she attempted to bring birth control pills into Ireland she would be subject to arrest and detainment for breaking the law.

The young man had none of it.  He simply could not believe what he was hearing from her and could not accept it.  His case was that, surely, such an offense in this day and age would be overlooked.  Given his American viewpoint, he was arguing that what she was saying was simply incorrect.

To which the young woman, in a voice raised for emphasis backed by evidence of a fair amount of imbibed adult beverages, said, “You’re dead wrong, Ron!”  How naïve could a person be who looked at Customs as barely more than the crossing of State boundaries between Illinois and Wisconsin.

Well, Ron was dead wrong.  Ireland in 1985 was still in the supremacist clutches of the Catholic Church.  And that would change.  Ireland in 2015, all of 30 years later, was a much changed land.  Removing the Church from influence was assisted by the self-destructive scandals that emerged from within ecclesiastical structures themselves.  Abusive priests and deeply punitive nuns were identified for what they were.  In the case of the priests the Church had coddled, constantly reassigned from parish to parish, and in some cases promoted depraved human beings.  In the case of the nuns the Church had shown its willingness to be complicit with governments who saw punishment as rehabilitation.

For this, the Irish people have claimed their freedom to love whomever, regardless of gender and to conduct sexual practices according to the guidance of a responsible conscience.

The journey of 30 years has provided us with a sense of wider, deeper, and broader themes for living and believing.  The constant theme that cannot be denied is the primacy of love in human relationships.

I recall all this as we enter this year’s Lenten journey.  We have one more year to get it right, despite the ugliness that surrounds us.  We have the long view at our disposal, the long view of promises that are fulfilled.  This is the long view which reveals our faith which is rid of barriers and institutions with their claims of knowing what’s best.

On this 2nd Sunday of Lent we hear again the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration and the message that we are to listen to the message of the Beloved One.  We recognize, again, Peter’s response, “It is good to be here,” and consider the goodness of loving each other in the here and now.

When Lent is freed from the things that we’re supposedly “giving up” only to return to at a later date; when Lent is freed for loving, it is then that we experience the joy of presence, the joy of new life looking forward.

Ron was dead wrong 30 years ago for being obtuse with regard to unjust laws and archaic societal practices.  Today, we can hope that he has learned love’s lessons which overcome the power of those who think their smallmindedness is justification for their misguided leadership.

So, let’s embrace the wideness of God’s love and mercy.  As the poet writes:

Laugh, laugh;  jumble, jumble;  fall, fall into Threeness.

Or, sweethearts believin’, make, give, be alive.

Alas, you are love and love is God.

For we are love who is God.





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