On Wednesday evening Grannus Musings bookclub discussed Fathomless Riches or How I went from Pop to Pulpit, an autobiography by Rev Richard Coles, an openly gay Church of England priest, and the host of Radio 4’s Saturday Live. He achieved fame and success in the 1980s as a member of the pop group, The Communards, who recorded the chart topping hit single, “Don’t Leave Me this Way”. In his memoir Coles gives a deeply personal and revealing account of his journey from a middle-class upbringing in Northamptonshire through difficult teenage years when he attempted suicide, then onward through his self-absorbed, hedonistic career as a rock star. His life of drugs and sex moves on to ‘the moment that changed everything’ when he finds religion and begins his life devoted to God and Christianity. The book ends with his ordination.
Although the group did not score the book highly in terms of “a good read”, it prompted a wide-ranging discussion. It was generally agreed that this book would not have been published thirty years ago. Views on gender equality, abortion, homosexuality, women in the priesthood, etc, appear to be products of time as well as place. In the next 50 years what further changes will come about in the generally held views of society?