Friday, April 3

Reflections - on Good Friday

This morning as I put to "hot cross" buns into the oven to heat for my breakfast, there was a message on the radio about reflecting at this time of year.  That Christ "rose from the dead" and it was a time of new beginning.

My mind started racing somewhat.  I remembered that, as a child and young woman, I attended church every Sunday, and on all Christian celebrations and that I would have attended church on Good Friday.

Long ago though, I became disillusioned with Christianity and even now, while I see some wonderful ideas coming from the religion (I do honour the 10 Commandments), and some of the teaching, I now have little respect for the church and its leaders.

I was thinking this morning about several events in my life where my love of the church started to break down.  One was, when I was in high school and at Religious Instruction class, I asked this question - I was about 14 years old.  "Who is a better Christian - someone who does not go to church but lives a quality Christian life, or someone who goes to church every Sunday, only to rob money from handbags as folk kneeled and prayed."  I was stagger when the Rector gentleman said that the better Christian was the latter.  We argued, but he stood his ground.  I will never forget it - and I will forever believe that he was so wrong.

When I later was in nursing training, I went to the local church one Sunday morning.  I walked - it wasn't far though raining a little.  I had no car - my only option was to walk.  When I arrived at the church I was welcomed by one of the church elders, who gave me a hymn book - as was usual - and went into the church to a pew.

After the service, rain was quite heavy and I stood at the door wondering if I should make a run for it, to get to the Nurse's home, when that man who had welcomed me earlier offered to drive me home.  I happily accepted his offer.

A few hundred meters away from the church he stopped the car, put his arm along the back of the car seat, and offered to take me to his home as his wife was away!!  I could tell what he had in mind!!  Horrified, I insisted he take me to the Nurses home, and he reluctantly did so.  It took me a long time to go to church again, and I regularly attended services at the hospital chapel where I became the "altar girl" assisting with Communion.

Many years later, when my son was attending a church school I got involved in a war against pedophilia - one of the teachers was molesting the boys.  It was a long and ugly war that went on for years.  I had many run-ins with high officials in the church who chose to ignore what was going on.  In the end one of the victims, then an adult, came forward and the former teacher was jailed.

I no longer go to church.  I refused on the grounds that I do not want to be preached to by hypocrites.

Sad, as I still love some aspects of the church.  I still listen to hymns on Songs of Praise on Sunday mornings.  I love visiting wonderful old church buildings, and I claim to be a Christian.  Much like the story I invented for my Religious Instruction class.  I am the one who does not go to church but tries to lead a good Christian life.

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