Saturday, April 01, 2006

Church Mongrels

… I just came upon some life altering information. Not that my life will actually be altered.

Anyway, I took a couple of IQ tests on Tickle and while the results are awesome, I think it pretentious on my part to share them here, since I believe these tests are completely bogus.

The real juice was in the description, and I quote:

“You are a quick study and so have a tendency to look for and find the deeper meaning in things. You might intellectualize a situation or muse about its layers of complexity, making grand-scale associations. While others are relieved to have tangible, concrete information to work with, you may find yourself easily bored and so you seek more intellectual content.”

To back up this point, I quote again from a respected and well liked co-worker: “you analyse the shit out of everything.”

This explains so very many things. The epiphany I had this dreary Saturday morning explains why I don’t go to church anymore. I’m a catholic believer, if not practitioner. But I haven’t been to Sunday mass in ages, eons even.

It is now clear as to why: I got bored.

There was a priest in Montreal whose sermons were bloomin’ hilarious. This guy was a real comedian and it’s all I could do not to break into uproarious laughter. Church being what it is, this would have seemed, unseemly?

I remember going there one time with my dad. He was smiling at the stream of non- ending jokes, one liners and double entendres during the sermon. I was holding my sides to keep quiet. The rest of the congregation was glazed over and apart from a select few, all seemed to be in stasis - this is a Star Trek term, which would mean “dead” in any other context. I leaned over to my dad and asked what gives, pointing to the zombies?

He just shrugged.

I understood then, quite unequivocally, that a majority of people were there as a show of face, not so much a show of faith. Except for those select few, no one was paying any kind of attention to the comedian up front.

Upon exiting the heavy but well lit 1960’s cement establishment, I asked myself: what’s the point?

And I could not find an answer.

If the sermon held some secret to the meaning of life, the universe and everything* then I was truly at a loss to figure how this gathering of unlike-minded individuals was helping me understand, well, anything.

The sermon itself may have some deeper message, that in time I would begin to internalize, but so help me, the gathering was for naught. The priest could have simply called me to a meeting in a small conference room with more success.

When I was a kid, my teachers and other powers kept telling us that church wasn’t the building but rather the people gathering inside. In point of fact, church is both. But I did understand their point; I just never understood why this mattered.

I’m a little antisocial to being with, so trudging my sorry ass out of bed to church every Sunday was just a little more than my social demeanour could put up with. The last nail in that coffin was the above incident in Montreal.

My own path took me away from the church, both people and building, but I never stopped believing in a higher entity. Whether the Holy Mary was a virgin or not, I really don’t care, nor do I give the posterior of a rodent about walking on water. Given enough technology, all this is inherently possible, even resurrection! My mention of Star Trek earlier wasn’t a fluke.

The Holy Spirit on the other hand is filled with possibilities in my mind: call it heart, call it soul, call it conscience, sub-conscience, the sole connection to the universe, moral imperative, innate conduct… holy shit! Now this is something worth thinking about.

Yet I still didn’t get the connection with the gaggle of zombies, until this morning.

I was looking for a deeper meaning from the get go! They weren’t. I must now revert to my humanistic side and allow to each his own: it’s reasonable to me that everyone gets something different from their church, or synagogue, or whatever the name used for their congregation.

So my disappointment was actually misplaced: I shouldn’t have been confused about what they were looking for.

But by god, simply out of respect for the rest of your congregation, if you’re gonna show up the least you can do is pay attention!

* The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams


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