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The Glebite - Religion

by Franklin McWhittle

The Glebite - Religion
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

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