Church/religion 4

She seemed to be a bit paranoiac about a thing called EST (Erhard Seminar Training) which sounded a bit like the Moonies without any mention of God; she seemed determined that some of her husband’s friends who had been captured by this system, if that is the right word for it, were going to drag him into it. Their friend certainly didn’t seem to think much of EST methods of brainwashing, in order to ‘build you up’ with whatever it is they teach. But I found it difficult to discover exactly what that was!

Their son was there, now 23, quite brilliant, but got himself into a state that I can only see a psychiatrist getting him out of. He left the C of E and joined the Assembly of God and was very involved and talked in the extravagant way they have which embarrassed me. Somehow he feels they have let him down, and he’s completely turned into himself.

[re a new vicar] What is worse a whole lot of the older people have stopped going to church as they don’t like his charismatic approach and it is generally thought he doesn’t care for anyone over 50. You can’t please everyone, and he’s wonderful with the children and most of the young couples, and the Sunday School has really bloomed with him, but the older ones he’s put off are the ones who could perhaps afford to come up with $500 a family which he hopes for [to fund the planned building project].

We had a very heavy dose from the Word – my fellow retiree has fundamentalist leanings, and in addition to ramming them home proceeded to illustrate from the problems of abortion, sex education in schools and nuclear threat. ‘Has he covered all his hobby horses?’ whispered X as he finished – and indeed I think those are the main ones. His method of dealing with the nuclear threat is typical. 2 Peter 3.10 ff, he says, obviously refers to nuclear war and its results, tied up with the Return of the Lord. So not to worry or do anything to prevent it coming about. End of problem.

We have a small boy in our Sunday School who regularly comes up with classics. Doing the Ascension last week he produced this drawing. When asked what the funny black things were, he said scathingly that it was Jesus going up past the birds!

the Ascension

I could scream – they’re talking about ‘… many shopping days to Xmas’ already – it means the whole thing becomes a drag and chore – so sad – the other day was when a disc jockey came up with ‘Only … many days to Xmas – God forbid’!!!!

We had a true American to preach last Sunday morning who won a prize from the Order of St Luke (an Anglican society aiming to encourage the healing ministry of the church). He boomed on for 15 minutes (not giving any precise examples from the vast experience X said he had) and ended up by telling us how to get a ‘blessing on our bodies’. The method was not in fact to ask God for it but to ‘concentrate on the indwelling Intelligence’ (or some such phrase) and then to relax each part of you separately speaking the Intelligence in your eyes (for instance) and saying ‘Eyes, you have never seen better’ and so on. When he got to ‘Stomach, you’re doing a grand job – keep it up (or was it down), Stomach’ I nearly burst out laughing, and alternatively felt like walking out in protest against the nearest thing to the Christian Science heresy I’ve heard from an Anglican pulpit in a long time. But in the evening we had Y and he went on for half an hour and kept me awake and attentive every minute of it (which is high praise indeed, as you know).