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Goodly not Godly

A picture for GOODLY-NOT-GODLY

There was a quote from Martin Luther King jnr. In a Norfolk Deanery’s Community Magazine this month.

‘Being a Politician doesn’t make me a Christian, but being a Christian does make me a Politician.’

Now too few admit to being either a Christian or a Politician let alone both. Some dipping a toe in either muddied pool do so hoping to harness Faith and or Politics as a force for good, but oft becoming disillusioned, ‘move on’ having found the waters either too hot, or chilled to tepidity in deference to ‘Political Correctness’.

All may enjoy attending a good Church Service. The music of the organ, the polyphony of a choir, and the chance to voice old favoured hymns (the which I for one can be relied upon to sing louder and more out of time than most, but how sweet my sound to ones own ear.) Then there is the conviviality of the Congregation. One can always rely on having one if it is Easter, Christmas, Harvest Festival, a Wedding or regretfully a Funeral, but what of other times?

As I don’t do Sundays, I don’t do the High Days and Holidays either, but where is that latter Congregation all the other weeks of the year? Which the excuse for its absence? ‘Where for art thou’ when I am reading the Sunday Papers or singing along to Sunday Half hour with Katherine Jenkins on the Television?

In a Norfolk C. of E. Parish a couple of Sundays back there was a Questionnaire concerning ones pattern of Church Attendance. Being a supportive Guest in the Parish Church one dutifully ticked the boxes as best one might, hopefully providing the right answers to what were seemingly the wrong questions. There was certainly no opportunity to state ones case, nor provision for ‘left footers’ merely an assumption that a box to tick had been provided for every circumstance. Which was my Parish ? Should I have mentioned the Church I happened to be in that Sunday, or St. John’s Tisbury ? As an lapsed Catholic I presumed on the ‘Sacred Heart (Tisbury) in the Diocese of Clifton’ where I had once attended a Funeral. I had been tempted to upgrade to Wardour but resisted such elevation. Unfortunately fine though Catholicism is , I had never accepted the main tenets of the Faith. But as was said ‘Once a Catholic’ ( Mary O’Malley.)

Being something of an easy touch when asked my opinion, it is hard to resist being co-operative. Having noted an Open Invitation from the Bishop of Oxford to tell why one no longer attended Church I rendered him a free style version which he very Graciously acknowledged, as prior to him had the Bishop of Salisbury acknowledged a letter on another matter. Possibly the courtesy of Kings where others seemed less communicative. A while ago I made an e. mailed ‘Fund Raising’ suggestion to our local Hospice. All these months later one still awaits an acknowledgement!

People still tick the ‘Religion Box’ (There is never a box for the Ecumenical ) when joining the ‘Services’ or going into Hospital. If occasionally one visits anyone in the latter, only the very sick object to a friendly word from a Stranger passing their bed. Do men in Holy Orders chat up stray patients in an ungodly way? Does the Congregational member still ‘happen’ to Prison Visit without messianic intent, doing so purely on a person to person basis? A while ago a friend seemingly sought Visitors for Prisoners at Shepton Mallet, the which used to be a Military Establishment but may now welcome all comers. I didn’t see the possibility of getting there from Tisbury, and too was slightly concerned that I might not be let out again. However rightly or wrongly ‘Corporal works of Mercy’ have always seemed more important to me than doing the Church Thing. Which is not to say that one made much of a contribution to either, since ones minimal Civic Aspirations were never fulfilled . The ‘Conservative Party at Prayer’ being less than supportive of my cause. But ‘They also serve who stand and wait’
(The last line of the poem “On His Blindness,” by John Milton. The poet reflects that he has a place in God’s world despite his disability) (P) Undoubtedly Martin Luther King jnr. Got it right. So too did the Jesuit Preacher Fr. Joseph Christie of Farm Street, who, if I understood him correctly, was all in favour of ( I paraphrase) Strong rather than Limp Wristed Christianity.

Corporal Works of Mercy
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Shelter the homeless
Clothe the naked
Care for the sick
Visit the imprisoned
Bury the dead

SCOTLAND Has Got it Right too.
It plans to start building Council Houses again.

It is pointless to go to Church on a Sunday, if one sells off Council Housing on the Monday .

contact : John B. Pope
Email : pionono@tiscali.co.uk