Just enough snow for someone to build a tiny snowman down by the river and the temperature must be just low enough for it to survive. Good wintry scene. Russell T. Davies is a good writer who came to my notice when he completely revamped Dr. Who which I had not watched for years. He also sometimes writes about gay life and the results will not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially the explicit sex scenes as in last night’s ‘It’s a sin.’ Whatever you may think he brings to life an era extremely well. Last night it was set in 1981 just as Aids was coming on the scene. It took me back to that year when I was hitch-hiking round America (not to be tried these days unless you really know what you are doing.) The rides I got were often hilarious, sometimes dangerous or pretty dodgy, many just very kind. Americans are amazingly hospitable and love to show you their country, as well as listen to our accent. I got one lift with a retired gay cowboy (a character I never thought existed but obviously there would be) from Minneapolis all the way to Arizona. He was pretty open about his sexuality which he told me as soon as he stopped (which I am afraid did make me pause), but he seemed Ok and by that time I had met all sorts of people, and I needed a lift. When we walked into a diner in Utah in the middle of nowhere, as soon as he walked in, him in his pretty dramatic gear, and I opened my English mouth, no-one spoke, they just watched us. We ate quickly and left. He was still using bath houses (which he had to explain to me) and invited me; kind, but I had to say no. In a year’s time or so, because of Aids, the attitude to them would be very different. The Church rarely manages to engage with the question of homosexuality in a welcoming and understanding way. The Pope came closest not so long ago with his ‘Who am I to judge?’ remark. But the institutional language and that of the teaching can only be read as harsh if not antagonising, certainly off-putting to put it mildly, some would be more condemnatory. So often we never get beyond physical acts to the question of love, which surely should prevail So many families (including Catholic families) now love and welcome gay relatives, it is not unknown among the clergy either. Surely this positive human experience can start to make inroads into, and inform, the language of traditional teaching and help us explore better and more loving ways of welcoming all kinds of Catholics and others. We are after all all made in the image and likeness of God. Not the snowman though.