The Glebite - Religion
by Franklin McWhittle
I'm not really what you'd call a religious man,
in the traditional meaning of the word. I guess you could describe
me a dyed-in-the-wool agnostic.
I was an avowed Marxist in university, and although you might not
believe it, I'm still a left-winger politically. There has always
been a tension, I've found, between the left and traditional mainstream
religion. This tension has been exacerbated for me personally in
the numerous altercations that I have had with the parishioners
of the Catholic Church across the street from my residence.
This house of worship has services each and every night of the
week, not to mention lunch hour services every other day and breakfast
sermons Tuesdays and Thursdays, mid-afternoon services every Wednesday,
etc. Now, I am in no position to dictate to these people when it
is or is not appropriate to worship a higher power, but can't they
turn it off for a day? My goodness, even God took the seventh day
off to rest.
The main reason my partner and I find the 24/7 worshipping so infuriating
is the chaos their vehicles cause on our normally quaint little
side street. Out of respect for mother earth, I try to limit the
use of our automobile to the occasional weekend away from home at
a bed and breakfast, but one Monday night (you were just at church
yesterday, don't you ever get 'churched' out?), a boor in a Sports
Utility Vehicle bigger than a Sherman tank had blocked our driveway
in his haste to praise the almighty, precluding me from an urgent
trip to pick up camping supplies at Mountain Equipment Co-Op. I
actually confronted said worshiper upon the termination of the service
(and 20 minutes before the next one was scheduled to begin) and
asked him in so many words if he thought Jesus would approve of
his parking job, although being a rational individual, I phrased
my inquisition more tactfully.
Well, the language that this individual spewed upon me in response
was most unchristian. In fact, it would have made a third baseman
blush. Were it not for the timely intervention of my dear level-headed
spouse Cynthia, why I could have found myself in a physical altercation.
If this individual is representative of the Catholic Church of today,
you will never get this sheep re-joining the flock, even though
I was raised an Irish Catholic. (which is something that I had forgotten
until recently undergoing regression therapy.)
Another incident involved the mass of bright lights the church
puts up every festive season. I think that they are trying to be
seen by the Lord himself with all the lights that they put up-perhaps
they feel that their ascension to heaven will be accelerated on
the basis of the brilliance of their Christmas lighting.
My problem last Christmas with this tribute to their devotion was
their reluctance to turn them off at a sensible hour. I am a fifty-something
gentleman who believes in the adage 'early to bed, early to rise.'
Yet some evenings, they would leave these incredibly bright lights,
which shone right into our bedroom, on well past 9 P.M.! Some of
us aren't up worshipping until 11 o'clock every night and would
like to get a good night's sleep, thank you very much! I had to
confront the Priest, and only after several minutes of negotiations
were we able to hammer out a compromise: they turn their lights
off every evening by 9 if I stopped leaving fake parking tickets
on the church goers cars.
One night, they were still on at 9:07, and I was ready to call
Father Albert to complain, but right as I picked the receiver up,
out they went. I think my telepathic messages were received, although
they probably don't believe in that sort of stuff.
Everywhere you turn today, you hear about declining church attendance,
the lack of the next generation's participation in churches in this
country and congregations folding. These statistics certainly are
not backed up by the ultra-active church in our neighborhood. I
would say the Catholic Church, at least in our corner of the world,
is in the greatest of health. What I want to know is if some of
the parishioners from our area's congregations could be transferred
to these allegedly empty churches, wherever they may be located.
Maybe I'll compose a letter to the Pope outlining my concerns.
Posted on July 13th, 2001