When I was young God was just there.
I wasn’t absolutely sure what his name was and who was the father and who was the son but I spoke to him and was in no doubt he listened.
I went to Sunday school of my own volition. I can’t say I learnt a great deal more than sensible advise on what surface it is best to build ones house upon, or that Jacob had a ladder that we, and apparently servicemen, were encouraged to climb, but there was something nice about singing and clapping ensemble and being a child of God. The smartly dressed ladies smiled at me a lot. I liked that.
I wasn’t sure either as I grew up, whose churches I had attended. I never studied the boards outside. Jesus always came up and saved the day, so I knew we were Christain.
It smelt nice. Incense or civic hall. I didn’t mind which. Polish or dust. They all smelt safe.
At some point I discovered that in France I had in fact been christened Catholic.
I found that exciting. I was a signed up team member after all. Colour and statues and noble fellows waving smoking golden balls and making shapes in the the air with two bendy fingers.
Apparently we had an official spirit…great!…candles, history and each a personal saint, superb.
A devout Irish Aunt came to visit and offered to take me to mass. I was thrilled and jumped at the chance, but soon found out it was a club to which I could lay no claim. They had secret squirrel speak. The priest said something that I gathered was not off the top of his head, and everyone but me knew what was coming next and replied in unison.
I felt as I always did when I couldn’t recite my times tables in class, and half expected being asked to leave the room again, to the same sound of laughter.
Some people got to eat and drink something up front like prefects, and made an orderly queue. They didn’t invite me or some of the others, who seemed to know why.
My aunt went too without a by your leave. Rude!
I had never had my white dress day which wasn’t my fault, so I had to stay put.
I felt foreign. I didn’t know any of the songs.
I decided I should stick with the gang that owned the hymns in school assembly. The songs I knew well. Theirs was a benign God, an inclusive God and a charitable God. We had only to listen. We had to say Amen after the finale and learn one prayer. All were welcome and Jesus loved us each and everyone.
Were they Protestant?
Is everyone that follows Jesus’ teachings, who is not a Catholic – a Protestant?
Even the nutters who kiss snakes in His name and have Beelzebub
bitch slapped from their temples?
Who tells you what the difference is between a Baptist and a Methodist and an Evangelist and an Anglican and a Seventh Day who ever they are, and do that last lot have anything to do with Craig David?
I left school and lost touch with my class mates. I lost too any chance I had to ask who we were.
I miss the God of my enfance.