Monday, 30 May 2011

Hot and Cross

On Saturday, I spent all day in the Cathedral. This annoyed me and ultimately made me ill. It was too hot and it was airless and the seats were very hard, although that last one may not have contributed to the sore throat, fever and achyness, headache and fiery sinuses.

The morning's speaker was a woman from Kentucky, a very slick, polished speaker. The trouble was, what she was saying started my decline into anger, I feel.

She was speaking to us about parish finances.
On the one hand, she told us basically not to fret about the money we didn't have, 'the resources God hasn't given us', but to use wisely what we did have and to spend the time we save, praying and being nice to people. And you know what, if you say that in a smooth, Kentucky accent, it doesn't sound stupid for a few seconds, a bit like how Kenneth on 30 Rock can say bizarre things in an oh-so, 'this is really quite normal' way.

On the other hand, she told us we should be 'tithing'. Everyone should tithe.
'Wait!' I hear you cry, 'I remember this from history lessons, didn't they do that in the Middle Ages before taxes were formally introduced. And then taxes were formally introduced?'
Of course, good memory.
She (the very large woman from Kentucky who was dressed in bright yellow like the sun), explained to us how Jacob invented it. Mmm..interesting. She entirely left out the intervening four thousand years or however long it is since Jacob, during which time much of the world developed many systems based on the Christian Faith, which is now so deeply embedded no-one actually believes it's there, and one of those systems is taxation.

So then she showed us a little filmed sketch about a family going to a church where tithing isn't practised - ie most. The family had to fish out their dollar notes and credit cards at each stage. Oh my, how much easier would it be if we simply introduced a system of taxation, I mean tithing, was supposed to be the message. However to my now sore and cynical mind it said,
'Why are we going to church? Let's not bother, it's too much hassle, let's just go and do something that isn't so annoying.'

In the afternoon, which lasted over three hours, three hours during which time we were encouraged to go downstairs and finish off the food - the food being in fact, cakes leftover from first thing in the morning, because no lunch is provided, and unless you happened to be on the end of a row, it was nigh on impossible to get out anyway, we all wriggled around on our hard wooden chairs until close of play.

There were the Resolutions, this is really what we were there for, except one man, same as last year, wasted our time by trying to get us to 'direct' the Bishop to play nicely with the homophobes.
We didn't.
But one of the people who felt obliged to stand up and give her opinion on the subject told us that she's learnt from this morning's speaker that homosexual people hadn't been given the resources by God to have sex with the opposite gender, therefore they were not to blame. She actually said that, I promise you.

And the finances.
So, as well as running our own churches, which finances I can assure you are very tight, we have to contribute towards the pomp and circumstance that is the diocesan machinery. Part of that is paying for the event we were attending. Ok, so more foot shooting.

All well and good if you are being paid to be there, or could take time off in lieu, but the majority of us were simply giving up our own time for free, so aside from not providing lunch, and keeping us pinned in uncomfortable chairs, there was unnecessary time-wasting.

A man was there from the Lutheran church, 'observing'. A very dull man who simply told us what he'd seen, because we, obviously, didn't know what had happened. He actually made a joke about the word 'trenchant' because he'd been asked by the bish to make some trenchant observations, as though this was a most unusual word. Clearly he confused trenchant with banal.

Then, there was a woman whose job it was to thank everyone by name. Oh, not those of us who were there voluntarily, no, well, fortunately, but everyone who was there, just doing their job or receiving some kind of honorarium. I know, right?

I was pissed off by the end of it, when they stood up to sing another hymn I ran to the toilet and escaped, my head was pounding and I needed air and I was starting to question everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING.

Now of course, I am sacrificing my third day because it's the second day I've been ill.
And I'm grumpy as all get out.


Anonymous said...

I sense a certain grumpiness. The Glenda also has a cold and had to go home sick today. It's been coming on with her for awhile but I think her 15-hour day trip to Seattle and swimming yesterday in the cold did not help.
Re: religious items. I was recently the Council secretary for my wee United Church church and while I was somewhat fascinated by some of the mechanics behind it I got out after 9 months. Oy, the things I learned, the bureaucracy. Yikes. I realize the Christians I like are those who work with those no one else cares about - the throwaways around the world (including those at Main and Hastings). That's what keeps me thinking Christ might have actually been good for something. That my seem vaguely off topic but it is right at the top of my mind at this very second.
Let us form our own church. (although the power would inevitably get to me)
Interesting facts about titheing that I did not know.
And finally, why is everyone so obsessed with gay people and why they are gay and their general gayness? I mean I have my own vague obsession so I kinda get it but it still seems extreme. As the columnist Dan Savage says (I'm not his biggest fan but enjoy his column) - or was it Brian Kinney from the US Queer as Folk, 'unless I'm f------ you it's none of your business. Yup.
- Karen

Schneewittchen said...

I think we should have a church that uses the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and doesn't treat her as though she's not an actual person, just a good and clever one. We will call it the Church of the Blessed Georgia and meet in the library on West Georgia. Then we can have The Chronicles of Georgia as one of our sacred and made-up texts, like the Acts of the Apostles.

Sorry to hear Glenda's suffering too. Writers' will be depleted this night.

Lisa said...

I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.