Go to church because after all I’m an elder, but mainly because it’s between Crimbo and New Year an’ the minister’s knackered so it’s usually a short service. Also you get brownie points for turning out as most people don’t bother. So there I am making my way to my pew, when I notice that someone else is sitting in it. A woman with a baby. So I say, quite politely, Excuse me Senga, that’s my pew.
But she gets unruly an’ says, I’ve been sitting hear for the last six weeks and nobody objected. And anyway my name is Kayleigh. So how is it your pew? Did you carve it yourself, Ronald?
Totally out of order. So I just say, real nasty, I hope the wean disnae disrupt the service. Then I go and sit beside old Jim Patterson who just grunts an’ says, What a surprise, I thought ye might be deid. Then the service gets going and the next insult is the children’s hymn. The minister reminds us it comes from Zimbabwe. I mean, we took Christianity to the dark continent an’ now we lower ourselves by singing their hymns. Next thing they’ll be telling us to leave our assegais at the door.
But the worst insult is the sermon. Which describes the holy family as refugees, for God’s sake. Disgraceful! I know my Bible and the word refugees is never used: an angel told them to go to Egypt. Does he think there’s an bleeding angel appearing to all these refugees that are flooding the land. And not content with correcting the Holy Bible, he then tells us that because the Egyptians were hospitable to the baby Jesus, we should be hospitable to the asylum seekers – asylum sneakers I call them- fleeing persecution an’ wanting to live here. What sort of logic do they teach these ministers now. So, the Egyptians were nice because it was the Son of God and now I’m suppposed to be nice to the son of an Albanian Drug lord! Look, if the Son of God arrives in Leith asking asylum, I’ll be the first to welcome him, but that’s no’ the issue. It’s these daft, modern, weak- kneed, bleeding -hearts of ministers who can’t bang the Bible and give us God’s truth. That’s what’s emptying the churches.
And I told him so when he shook my hand at the door. And do you what he had the gall to reply?
I have always believed, he says, that the first duty of an elder is to be in church every Sunday. If you were present more often, you might have a better understanding of the gospel. And by the way, there are no reserved pews in this or any other Church of Scotland.
So that’s modern Christianity for you: you’ve got sympathy for illegal immigrants but nane for yer ain members!