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I like Gospels, but I couldn’t manage a whole one

I was previously aware of the term “Full Gospel” and the existence of “Full Gospel” churches, fellowships and conferences, but I was reminded of the term today and my mind started to wander in very strange directions. Part of me wants to stroke my beard and explore the implications for ecumenical relations, but mainly I think the idea’s ripe for a spot of mockery.

Coffee_EspressoThe obvious (and boring) meaning is that it’s the whole Gospel, wi’ nowt taken out, but that makes me wonder if nasty brown bread’s the right analogy. What if it’s more like most things we consume, such as coffee, and some of the things in the Gospel are bad for you? Then it would probably be more virtuous to order a skinny Gospel instead of the full one, but I’ve never heard of a Partial Gospel Church of Christ, and the Strained Gospel Church sounds quite unpleasant. Read More…

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I’ve become everything I hate

Or hated, at least.

Today, I’m attending a carol service, and I’ll be in church again on Christmas Day. I don’t want to have anything to do with the church in general, but I’m quite happy to turn up for high days and holidays. I used to be scornful of people like that – people like me, I suppose. Either you believe it or you don’t, I thought – why would you reject those beliefs and still turn up on big occasions? But there’s a strong element of culture and tradition that I can’t easily shake off, and I’m a real sucker for a good carol.

It’s around this point that someone usually complains that I shouldn’t enjoy carols unless I accept the theology contained in their lyrics. How can you lustily sing along to something that’s making claims you completely reject? If I like carol singing, I must either be in denial about my beliefs, or a plain old hypocrite. It’s an argument that’s superficially convincing, but no more than that. Read More…

Diary of an Exile

Thanks to various events, today was the first time that my self-imposed exile from church required me to stay at home while my family went off without me. It’s a very strange feeling.

The first (and hardest) question was what to tell the boys about why Daddy isn’t coming with them. I wanted to say that I wasn’t enjoying church at the moment (which is simple and accurate), but that would invite the response that they don’t enjoy it, so they don’t want to go either. I’m not sure how I feel about them going to church to be taught things I don’t believe, but nor do I want to be responsible for them not going. At least, not like that. So we just told them I was busy doing things at home. We’ll need to come up with something better soon. Read More…

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