Saturday, May 31, 2008

ORIGINS: LIFE & DEATH or CHURCH HISTORY

There's theo-oh,gee! in everything we read. Just don't miss the fineprint.

Time was, we believe everything we were told. Fine young presbyterian boys should read and at least know who John Knox is. Know where Scotland is on the world map. rent Mel Gibson Braveheart. and experience real live bagpipes tunes. Time was, presbyterian boys were allowed to visit their anglican cousins at St James. Trouble is, St James only held service once a month.

There's theo-oh, gee! in everything we read. Just don't miss the fine print.

Time later, young presbyterian boys were allowed to step beyond boundaries. It was a wet and wild world outside. I mean, there were Baptist everywhere! and they serve coffee and biscuits every sunday morning. thats what Stephen told me. he would make it a point to make the walk to that first Baptist church every sunday. the second baptist church that i went to did not serve coffee as they meet in the evening. but they had a filipino choir. makes me want to believe there are angels on earth when they sang. the third baptist church was an airplane ride, a van transfer, a boat ride upriver and a trek up country roads. a church on a hill, looking down over an entire village. right in the heart of everyone's existence. Time was, they built a church up on a hill. Time now, they build underground so the pastor wife's can sing undisturbed.

There's theo-oh, gee! in everything we read. Just don't miss the fine print.

There was another church up a hill. It was Lutheran. It was old. It was a big building with high ceiling and open windows. Time was, air-con was unnescessary. Its okay to sweat inside a church. and presbyterian boys sweat buckets when confronted with liturgy. Liturgy was strange and very un-presbyterian. By the time one get used to the temperature and stop sweating it was necessary to get back down to the valley. Time was, presbyterian boys would make it a point to visit that Lutheran church up the hill. Time now, presbyterian boys hide inside blogs.

There's theo-oh, gee! in everything we read. Just don't miss the fine print.

A lady brought me to a brethen assembly. I was told only men can speak. So, behaving as a good presbyterian I did not. But communion was served and I was passed the bread. Despite being a presbyterian I broke it and pass it on. Then I was passed the wine cup. Like any presbyterian I was looking for those tiny small -shot sized ribena plastic but was told to take a sip from the wine cup. Unlike a presbyterian I took a mouthful and dutifully sat silent for the rest of the assembly while the other men stood and spoke. Time was, young presbyerian learn first-hand that real wine are used in some churches. Time now, I sit quietly while the bishop drinks on behalf of everyone else.

There's theo-oh,gee! in everything we read. Just don't miss the fineprint.

Many years later I found myself down south where there are no hills around. Churches are found by the latest banner that is hung outside. So I make it a point to revisit the anglican but stumbled into a contemporary setting where people queue up to learn new creation talk. Unlike St James they can meet for up to 5 times a week.

There's theo-oh,gee! in everything we read. Just don't miss the fineprint.

Time was we learn history from real life experience. Life, death, existence, God, man, woman, reasons. All was encountered, none was spared. Just like a movie. But real.

To Stephen: No free breakfast. Time now, you have to pay for coffee and biscuits.

1 comment:

Cikgu Screwtape said...

Read this with La Tey in Starbucks on Sunday morning. Agreed that there is a great difference between knowing about *denominational-distinctives* and actually experiencing them first-hand by visiting all these weird locales and seeing the unique practices.

La Tey's house is near St James in Bee-Pee but he's never seen that church open its doors. Business must've been bad...

~ Edmund