Religion can be a funny thing. Ask me, I’ve had a fair whack of it.
Christened in the Salvation Army and before I was able to blow my own trumpet, the family changed to the Wesleyan Methodists who rechristened me.
Later in life, was baptised in the Church of the Nazarene then soon after rebaptised in the Baptist Church. So, it can be said I’ve
had a through soaking.
I even tried my hand at lay preaching, but looking down on my somnolent audience, I realise I lack the vital pulpit persuasion.
Looking back, I vividly recall the funny bits.
Like our elderly pastor warming to his perennial hellfire sermon and when getting to the dramatic “gnashing of teeth” quote, the top deck of his dentures drops down, sealing his lower lip.
The tittering and guffaws from the congregants immediately cool down the hot subject. The pastor keeps his pose, promising the giggling flock next time he’ll apply more Grip-On to the teeth.
Jannie and his wife motor along the Swartbeg Pass on their way to do evangelistic work in, appropriately, Die Hel.
Halfway down the rocky strip, the car dies. While Jannie has his head under the bonnet, he overhears his wife saying a prayer.
“Ag, Lord, please help Jannie, he knows bugger-all about cars”.
Jannie, although peeved at the put-down, admits the prayer is answered. Almost immediately a qualified mechanic arrives on the usually quiet road.
A pal invites me to Swaziland where his dad is a missionary pastor. On the Sunday, congregants are invited to give testimony to
their spiritual experiences.
First up is the pastor’s home domestic. Speaking in the local dialect, he has his audience laughing out loud with many an amen!
and hallelujah! thrown in.
Surprisingly, I notice disapproving looks coming from the pulpit.
That evening over dinner the pastor refers to the incident.
The domestic confessed he had been using the pastor’s toothbrush and comb every morning during the whole month.
And he had the cheek to say God had forgiven him and hoped the pastor would do too.
These incidents put a human spin to what remains a complex subject.
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