Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Pisky and the Press

The astute/interested/bored reader of this blog will know that I've been otherwise engaged these last few days - benign activities to do with grandmotherhood have taken all my energies. But normal service has now, sadly, been resumed and I need to pick up on the story that flitted by in a haze last week, when the visiting grandchild was sleeping in the study and the computer visited only briefly.

The story is the one that appeared last week in Scotland on Sunday. You can read it, and you can fill yourself in on another point of view here, where another Pisky blogger was quicker off the mark than I am. A week ago I merely reflected that I had been, perhaps, fortunate, in that I too had received a request: This year instead of the printed Synod Summary, there will be an extra edition of inspires online. We are asking different people from around the province to write up the various sessions and wondered whether you would be willing to write 450 words about the final session - but had in the end not been able to write about the Standing Committee because I was prevented from attending the final session. Fortunate? Well, yes - because by the last morning of Synod I tend to be a bit brain-dead and I'd have had to listen carefully and understand what was going on, but even more so because I'd probably have indulged in some light-hearted comment and got myself lampooned in the press for so doing.

Actually, it's not the press I'm cross about. If Scotland on Sunday has nothing better to report on from a Synod that displayed common sense and humanity on several issues, that's their problem. Their sales dropped by almost 10,000 in the past year, declining, it would seem, at a rate that would make the church blanch. No, I'm afraid its the anonymous church spokespersonman who disowned a lighthearted remark about the potential wiping out of synod members by legionella as being "insensitive and unfortunate". 

So why am I so fed up? In one way, it's because I'm not surprised. And how depressing is that? Do I still feel, as I used to, that actually people like me have no place in this church? People who like a joke, who think unruly thoughts, who ... who are actually ordinary? Maybe it's also a bit of a drawback being young? In addition, I'm fed up because it reminds me of how it feels when you think you're doing something good as a Christian and a church member, only to find that the church disowns you. It can take a while to get over that sort of thing, in my own experience. Maybe one never does. Certainly, the church that seems to have no sense of humour, that bends before a feeble bit of journalism, that seems anxious to toe whatever line a secular society sets for it - that's not an institution I want to be associated with.

But let's end on a positive note. Had I been approached for my take on the original story, I'd have told the newspaper, politely but firmly, that there was no problem in someone having a humorous slant on something we were all talking about at Synod (for we were, and there was much black humour, even among the elderly who might be expected to take umbrage). But let me also say this:
Being a Christian does not mean I've had a humour bypass. Being a Christian does not mean I have no temper. Being a Christian does not automatically make me  less outspoken, less prone to irritation or rushes of blood to the head. Being a Christian may have made me more aware of elements in me that I need to think about - but I do not feel it requires me to be subnormal. Above all, it does not require me to be boring, dull.

I respect - and indeed love - many of the people I know through the Pisky church. I find them stimulating, inspiring and gracious. And that, I guess, is why this story makes me so very fed up.

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