On Christmas Day, 1982, Rod woke at his home in Newcastle after a night on the tiles and the accompanying handover [sic.] and thought, “a bloody man should do the right thing and go to church”.
“I was 20. I had plenty of money and I was living the high life in every possible manifestation of that,” he chuckles.
But he went to church and was “captured”. He went back the next week, and the next “and I just kept going back”.
“I was still living it up. I was turning up on a Sunday with a dreadful hangover but I was still turning up,” he laughs.
People started saying he ought to be a priest. To shut them up, thought he’d ask the bishop, get knocked back, and lay it to rest.
The Bishop said yes. Rod said: “Shit.”
“For me, religion was both comforting and disturbing. It was a mystery that both fascinated and terrified me,” he says. “I was drawn in and repelled at the same time. It was the mystery of whatever God is. And it still fascinates me. But I’m more comfortable with it being a mystery now than I was with it being a mystery 30 years ago.”
He started studying to be a priest and tried to sabotage it every step of the way.
“I figured they’d work out I’m a fraud and they’d throw me out,” he says.
On the day he was ordained, aged 30, in 1992, he sat supposedly deep in prayer, but in reality “counting the bricks in the wall thinking, What the bloody hell am I doing?”.
“Then I knelt before the Bishop and when he placed his hands on my head, I knew it was right. I had absolutely no doubt that that’s where I should have been,” he says.
No further comment needed.