There are certain things that should never be discussed in polite company: religion, politics and the state of one’s bowel movements. Unfortunately for some, my definition of polite company is rather malleable and so it is, with some trepidation, that I shall touch upon religion. You may have been wishing for a frank and honest discourse on my bowel movements, but that will have to wait for another day, for recently I discovered that the danger of hot summer days, isn’t wasps getting in your open window, it’s religion .
I was sat in the lower east wing of PFPT Towers, which is where I do my writing, looking studious and pensive (it’s usually just trapped wind) and as the weather was particularly clement, I threw open my windows with gay abandon (N.B. no gays were harmed in the opening of my windows). As I enjoyed the evening air that filled the room and my fingers tip-tap typed away, a blur of undiscovered genius and unbridled creativity, a smiling face rounded the corner of the building and peered in at me. Mistaking her for one of my new neighbours, come to bestow free wine and words of wisdom about bin collection, instead of stabbing at her with a biro, I cracked my face with a smile and chirped “hullo!”. She wasn’t my neighbour.
“Hello. I’m from the church down the road. If you’re ever lonely or need advice, it’s free. At the church. Down the road…”
And with that, she trampled the flower bed to stick her face through my window and a chubby hand snaked in also, thrusting a leaflet at me. Not having my biro to hand (the curse of the silicon age), dumbfounded, I took the piece of poorly folder paper and stared aghast at this unwelcome intruder, stomping the geraniums (clearly not a true lover of “God’s” great green borders) and disturbing my peaceful leisure time with a theology I had not invited. I felt riled. It would have been less enraging if someone had climbed through the window and changed my TV channel without so much as a by your leave, or changed the temperature of my wine cabinet (that’s a fridge to anyone else).
It wasn’t the Christianity that bothered me per se. I don’t personally believe in any particular religion, but feel it is the right of any person to have a set of ideologies and imaginary friends to offer comfort and a moral code as they see fit. I may not agree with them, but they have been around a lot longer than I have and are the basis for the modern society in which we live today, plus they make some people feel better when they have no-one else to blame for losing their car keys (mysterious ways, indeed). I would also like to point out that I have some simply lovely friends who are deeply religious. I wouldn’t know that of course, as the fact they are lovely means they keep it to themselves. And that is, in my opinion the only proper way to deal with religion.
Like your STDs, your body odour and your opinions on the size of my posterior, please keep your religion to yourself. I neither require it nor desire it, and if I should need it, I know where you are – generally in those big tall pointy buildings, singing funny songs and feeling guilty. I choose not to live by the teachings and judgements of any of the religions, but I respect the rights of those who do, and I do not go into their private spheres to convince them that my way is better, because that would be arrogant and ultimately futile. A more cynical me might even postulate that the reason these religions are so keen to send out recruiters is because bums on pews means funds in holy bank accounts, but that would be a disservice to the vociferous train or street corner preachers who are merely there because there aren’t enough mental care homes in the UK. Like I said, a more cynical me.
So, what did this leaflet offer? What was this friendly local God Squadder pushing? I shall transcribe, with my own personal comments for your entertainment. I’m nice like that.
“Are you worried about the problems life can throw at you?” – No, I’m worried about people stomping on the perennials and sticking their snout through my window while I have a deadline looming.
“Do you find yourself in need of peace?” – Yes, from Bible bashers.
“Are you in financial difficulties?” – I see the church has turned to loan sharking. Maybe they can offer Kerry Katona a job fronting the advert.
“Do you ever get lonely?” – No, I have a life. I also have social media and a plethora of pubs to turn to if I want questionable company and a half-baked idea.
“Come and find help and all the answers for free!” – Free, you say? Nice to know there’s a special offer on religion this week, I was scared I’d have to pay for an annual subscription like normal. As for their claim to have “all the answers”, Google won’t like that.
Go ahead, worship whatever deity, cult leader, shiny silver alien you like, that is your private personal right, but please respect the sanctity of a woman’s home. An open window is not an invitation, it’s a ventilation system – use the doorbell like a civilised person so I can ignore you like a civilised person, or better yet, carry on living your life the way you see fit and leave me to live mine as I see fit, which from now is with the windows closed and a sharpened biro to hand at all times.