Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Hot Milky Brew

Why take a collection? Pay a set price and make your own selection. Preach to your friends about it. Whatever it happens to be. Read the paper, browse your laptop, clink cups, and wise up. It's the gossip, not the gospel, the best seller, not the bible, and blueberry muffins, not wafers. Wash down your crumpets with a hot milky brew. Do this in remembrance of me.

Everything happens in the pub or cafe. It is the church. Take a pint of communion beer. Meet the locals. Rip open the crisps. Catch the news. Catch a whiff of that fine perfume. Look at that guy's ass. Do you think he's a doctor? I don't care what he does. I'm not looking for an operation. Wash down your thoughts with another look round. That is the body of Christ.

You know so-in-so took that Alpha course. She said it was full of people recovering from addiction, or beatings, bereavement or job loss, divorce or drugs. It was like a five star all inclusive AA meeting. Pleasant company. She laughed at her own atheistic joke. She's been invited to the Vicar's house for dinner as she is married with kids and polite. She wasn't mentioned in that list of people who are equal in the eyes of the Lord.

Vicar Valentine: a man of the people. He knows the score. He knows that twenty five years from now, there won't be any churches....only mosques. He jazzes up the hymms with electric guitar and sends the old congregation out the door. He reaches down and scrapes up "the poverty stricken, the single mums, the homeless, the people who can't converse in English, the blacks and the people in wheel chairs. We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord." But that's the Lord. That ain't me. I am a pillar of the community. Harry Krishna.

Trying to lift everyone up and meanwhile, going through a nervous breakdown for being so jolly. Actually, it was partly the jolly and more partly....that he was one of the first people to go down into the Russell Square tube station after the July 7th bombings to be with the victims and hold their hands or what remained. That whipped the jolly off his face for a while.

But it can appear sometimes like a scene from a religious game show--better than tv. He gives a throaty heart felt .....Hallelujah....and no one responds. So he throws his arm back as if he's throwing a baseball. Hallelujah....and he lobs it out the park.

People get it. They're supposed to Hallelujah back. But we're not in deepest Georgia at a late night Baptist do in the basement. Nobody has brought a dish to pass. In fact most of the people aren't even locals. They drive in from miles away. Quite a buttoned up crew of cracker crunchers. They couldn't Hallelujah at gun point. And sharing the peace. Piece of what? The interval where we turn and shake hands with the next hand over? I look. I think sweaty, dry, or clammy?

I joined the church. We're not here to befriend each other. We're here for Jesus. Where's he? He'll be back soon. I joined the Mothers' Sewing Club of the British Museum. No, I didn't. You had to be from Bangladesh. I joined the gym. We're not here for conversation. We're here to gas you with our deodorant. Minus a few good chats in the sauna....and a man who flashed me while I was swimming...several times. I still had ten laps to do, but I did twenty. He had a bad wrist. Apparently, a woman had jumped off a bridge into traffic and landed on him as he was riding his motorbike. Interesting. He apologized for the flashing and said it was his special way of getting rid of tension....vowed never to do it again. So I run in the park. There are no members. No queues for the shower, no pews, no higher power. I get a smile, a conversation, a glance at the trees, a hi from a regular walking the dog, a chat with the gardener, a puff of fresh air. And that's what I need.

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