Back from church and a quick lunch later, am at the comp, looking for a movie to see, but then decided to type out a few lines of the happenings at Wesley today, and then I went back a lil bit more.
The church I go to is a small beautiful place, made further small by the games we play on them grounds. It’s really a large space in the sense of a fast shrinking city spaces. It’s a Church of over 129 years, and though we say we are that old, we really are a small lot with a history (memory) of one generation. Memory so weak that we rely on the letter of the constitution which big made men and god’s chosen use to whip its sheep, we also have the memory of men who speak loudly telling us how a festival or event should be, and add a emphatic fullstop to discussion with: it’s ‘traditions’! (because of the previous year precedent)
o feed my sheep*. This reading has been interpreted rightly as, feed off the sheep. The definition of the kingdom JC spoke about in the words that come out of the pulpit sounds so limited, that most in the congregation would feel that they could go out and buy it. So, the sanctity that would heal has been so diminished we cling to our purse dearly as if it was the lord himself, and thus our riches are vast here. The fears manifest as greed and we hoard up enough to live the heaven on earth. The relevance of our succor being the lord, a very thin tale whined out of the old wood-works of the pulpits and lecterns and alters. So much so, that the decision of the priest that churches like ours need is a person who has a degree in management. The present incumbent is no less in that degree, he played out the first corporate boardroom maneuver (read as the manipulation of the naive people who opted to serve the congregation in its vision and mission). And that very man, this morning said, he will work the next two weeks (the only time left before he moves to another site) to see that there is no one from the present committee will be in the next PC. This right after a Big Man asked him about the election processes he has to start before he left us in the care of another Priest. I thought you wanted the new Priest to conduct your elections? He retorted in his big voice reserved for big men. So, I chipped in with my small reedy voice: they still want that Pastor, they only want you to start the process which is a need given the specified time.
heaven waits only for those who congregate
I made it worse by asking him, if the destruction he set out to achieve was not complete? He retorted to that, with the reference to Paul, yes, the man from the bible, no, not the one who walks our grounds, though that would have been more apt. So, when I realized it was the man whose scales fell off he was referring to, I begged, ‘aren’t we going too far with this?’. Well, in tamil that sentence has the right meaning (neego engyo poyteengo)
He unleashed a poison dart and spat a Molotov spittle spray into my face. I straight batted with a smile, also reserved for Big Men. He continued, with his eyes reddened and aglow with the teachings of the lord of the Sunday: I will see to it that I do that, it’s my duty as a shepherd!. My smile slipped into my coffee cup and came out full grin: ‘you will do work, when the last 5 years you didn’t?’ and then as my stupid genes prompted me I said, the lord must be speaking to you. He blew a hot breath he had borrowed from Lucy (formerly) in the sky, and I wilted under the summer sun. He pronounced his curse: yes, you have to sit inside (the church he meant) to know the lord. Hey Don (Williams ie) eat your hat: heaven does wait only for those who congregate! **
I left the preist in the company of the Big Man who ofcourse didn’t want the heaven on earth he works for to be put on the same table as the unfortunate few who will face the wrath of the shepherd, when he will work to get them out. This Big Man has served many terms on the Pastorate Committee. And he also was on the PC of the last term and therefore would want the God-man to not add his wrath to the position he needs absolutely for his very relevance. We have in our shallow history a dude who serves a lifetime on the committee to attach the 2 letters with the full power of the Police Constable to his beloved name.
So moving further on in the compound, I introduced the talk of the man to a few who were around: the ring of the tittle ‘encounter specialist!’ rang clangy true as the bell in our Church tower that never ever rings to the clock hour ever. It is said that the bell strikes nine o clock on a Sunday morning when the pastor shows up. Oh! for those wondering about our traffic issues, he lives in the same compound which is 100 feet from the church building. The encounter reference is to the many killings that UP witnesses with the new CM who is a godman and an askance it to the encounter with the lord he said only he with the white robe was privileged to!
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
A lady told me about the parable of the man who stood outside the temple and said, ‘I am not like that fellow….’ *** Ah! Nice! She told me this cause she thought the priest’s view of god was very limited and very troubling therefore and she offered me this bigger god. And yes, I sure was glad that I was not the only one who came there to lean on to the invisible hard.
Live @ a funeral!
The first incident of this Sunday came with this one: Hey, K asked, did you see, that dude was live on FaceBook at a funeral. Ah! Right! Oh death where is thy sting! All in keeping with the season (passion) I suppose. The Lazarus pit did need a resurrection! Oh lord! Ofcourse we need healing!
But then, that dude was the same guy who went live on FB at a Church service, rather officially, and he nor the ‘shepherd’ nor anyone else informed (let alone ask) the sheep (the congregation with apathy as wool cover). And, yes, nobody seemed to have any thought on this act. Who is this nobody? Nobody (or everybody as the case maybe) is the silence that is taken for consent by the folks who do as they please in this public place.
It’s like informing a father about his son having a camera placed in the bedroom, and he says, ah ok! Yes eh? Oh! and make some such sounds. When I asked this powerful priest who is going to work hard in the next 2 weeks and also after he leaves the place officially, if he allowed such an act? Oh no? I did not ask the bedroom question just the one on having the camera on a service without informing the congregation, I hadn’t even asked who permits such acts. Just the question: did you know there was a camera on our service today and it was being beamed to the world outside? He answered meekly (this was last week), no, I did not know of it. And? I prompted. And got how bad it would be for him… and I waited to hear more, and he said: I don’t know what they do. I left with my think coat of apathy over my shoulder, which refuses to stay on.
But, this much he will work towards: take the people down ie, and the women especially who are anyway a lesser race. The 7 women shed tear and wrote bitter letters with it, but, the torrent or abuse and disruption from the top office continued, and he just with the supreme power bestowed on him from the lord above, he declared them defunct and took the secretary (the man who is in charge of calling the meetings) who understood his role as taking the pastor around in his car and other such personal acts as his role, with him to sup and drink, which has lasted more than 6 months to this day.
Just a Sec
A line on the secretary, this man came to our church only a couple of years before this priest was posted to our place, he was new to the faith too, and the priest sold to the rest his good intention of doing much for the church because he was a business man and with us easy going folks must have seemed like heaven sent. We are also the same lot who had the service under a shamina because someone decided to give it to us free. Oh, you must hear of the things we got for nothing. it’s a long list. We got a decoration of the church at a carol service for free. But, no one knew of the church premise he used to store his many furniture and other articles, and the catering service contracts to all the events on the grounds. Free free!!!! I shouldn’t mention the bell here, which we got 125 years after the church was built and no member to beckon to service staying anywhere close to this lovely building to hear it’s chimes.
The Purse and our idea of…
And now it is time for farewell (because good bye is too good a word) and a Purse for wonderful service to the flock. This purse is a custom that a congregation gives the priest for his service in the ministry in their midst. Well, what to give now? The coffers itseems is empty and our outreach programs don’t make money! Oh yes, the treasurer once made an announcement that the Sunday School was not making money. The people who heard thought that was a joke, or the dude was having a senior moment. But, itseems not, that announcement was made with a powwow that involved the sec and shepherd too. Sweet no?!
Oh you found that sentence problematic? We have no outreach, the one we called and were proud of and were aware of was the Old Age Home for Women. Which in our path to self serve, now houses men and pastors who have ‘served’ us. So much for outreach. So help us lord. And it is so with most other services we work at in Church. The Sunday School is run by parents whose kids are of SS going age, and they drop it once their children are out of it. The p & w team is a one-family affair, I think it’s cool really, they are the only ones who make lot of ‘sacrifices’ to come in early every sunday. I don’t know many who can say they do that or even want to do that. The church kind of fills up around the time the 4 songs and mini sermons are done about 45 minutes into the service. So, really, it’s big sacrifice. So the problem with it?: it is not part of our worship structure but we continue even though it involves very few. It is an emotional whip-up which works in the evangelical and Pentecostal set up followed by a moon-walking priest with hi-octane sermon in multiple octaves. Not at all intented for the meditative and please bring your brains to church kind of service that is our tradition. Some of the CSI churches adopted this p & w (really just a session of chorus singing, like the ones they have at the start of sunday school), which the ‘church elders’ at that time thought would help stop the flock migrating to new age churches which delivered gratification, instantly, and Sunday after Sunday at that, for a lot of folks. This has been reversed in many churches that had adopted this, and they have gone back to reinforcing the real meaning and fellowship and message of love to tend to the flock, knowing that half baked was never going to get the bread ready for the wine. But, no, we can’t have that conversation, cause the guitar will weep more melancholic than Sir. George (Harrison) . And tears are good tender at our place. It is said, a man was given a position on the PC one more time, which he had held for a few decades before that, because he wept.
To be continued….
More history and such like when we encounter the ridiculous in our midst and I am moved again.
*The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. – John 21:17
***Luke 18:9-14 New International Version (NIV)