“They tell God what he ought and ought not to do, and inform him of things of which he is already well aware, such as that they are miserable sinners, and proceed then to admonish one another to feel guilt and regret about abominable behavior which they have not the least intention of changing. If God were the sort of being most Christians suppose him to be, he would be beside himself with boredom listening to their whinings and flatteries, their redundant requests and admonitions, not to mention the asinine poems set to indifferent tunes which are solemnly addressed to him as hymns.”
This is Alan Watts, quoted by Ozarque, talking about the Anglican church. Of course, some of the very best poetry and most transcendentally beautiful music ever written has been sacred music, but I don’t know what they sing in Anglican churches. (If you entirely missed the part about the music, I will now wait while you go back up and find it. It was, naturally, the most interesting part to me.) Watts has some interesting points, of course, but Eddy Izzard is funnier on the Anglican church “Eat tea and cakes with the vicar or die!”
Today, Orgue bribed MM and Egypt to come sing Purcell with us at the early service by offering them breakfast, so we sang our bit and then skipped out and went to a restaurant. After discussions of cholesterol numbers and presbyopia (not a religious term, but an optometrical one) which revealed how old we all are getting, we settled into a discussion about the church. And however hard we tried to get away from it, we couldn’t help returning to it. I abjured them all to forget whatever indiscreet things I had said as we left (“Oh, yeah, sure” sneered Orgue.) Orgue told them that I am singing with the Methodists, too, so my double agent status will be over in my home church — word travels amazingly fast in a town the size of ours.
So then I went down the hill to sing with the Methodists. One of the other choir members asked me whether I had been attending the church long, and then, when I admitted that I was just a visitor, asked whether I had just come to town. I am trying to answer these questions without revealing anything, but also without appearing to be hiding anything. How do people with real secrets keep this up? If nothing else, my close attention to the bulletin surely reveals me as a non-Methodist. And, as Orgue so penetratingly pointed out, it is tough to do two public recitals of the Lord’s Prayer every week, one with “debts” and the other with “trespasses.”
Then I had a pleasant lunch with all my menfolks before seeing them off to their various social engagements, putting on the R-rated movie I cannot watch with the boys present, and settling down to work on the quilt. I have traced the pattern, and have begun the cutting out. It is easier this time than it was on the sample. I am taking this as a good sign.
I finished up that skein of Morocco, and am just not quite finished with two repeats of the pattern. My bathmat will obviously be smaller than I had intended, and not quite the same shape, either. Oh, well. #2 son, checking out the redone bathroom, said “It looks insanely different, and you didn’t buy anything! You should be on one of those decorating shows!”
He is the most encouraging person I know. Everyone should have someone like that around. This is the characteristic that his teachers and coaches have always commented on about him. I hope he doesn’t outgrow it.
In an emergency — say, if you were marooned on a desert island — what would be your value to the group? #2 son would keep people cheerful through the sheer force of his enthusiasm. My husband has numerous practical skills and a level of sang-froid in the face of physical danger that we rarely encounter in the U.S. #1 son would not have any particular value on a desert island, unless his amazingly skillful whistling could be of some use. I am physically strong, and cooperative, but none of my skills would have any utility on a desert island. I guess #1 son and I would have to depend on the charity of the group not to throw us to the sharks.