Sunday, July 27, 2008

Arrogant Christians

This morning I awoke to my alarm going off. I hate alarms – especially shrill ones. It is therefore fortunate that my alarm is not shrill, but rather dulcet. I don’t need a shrill alarm because I am a fairly light sleeper, so it doesn’t take a lot to awaken me.

When I wake up on Sunday mornings, I like to lie in bed for about twenty minutes before getting up and facing the world. Anything longer and I start to feel that my life is being wasted. It’s an odd thing, but it really is the case that the older you get, the quicker time seems to pass you by. It was explained to me once that the reason for this perception is that the longer you have lived, then the shorter any period of time you are currently experiencing is in relation to the total of the time elapsed in your life to that point. I am sure this is as clear as horse muck, but if you think about it I am sure you will get the picture.

Anyway, as I lay in my bed I switched the radio on (digital – not your old fashioned namby pamby analogue) and found myself listening to an interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife for the obligatory newsy religious affairs programs so beloved of the BBC on Sunday mornings. What really struck me about the woman was just how incredibly annoying she was. She sounded extremely posh, which I suppose is no sin, but she came across – to me at least – as really arrogant. If I had been the interviewer I think I would have been extremely tempted to ask her if she was actually a Christian, as her husband supposedly is.

I hate arrogance, especially when it proceeds from the mouths of people who should know better. When I was in the Royal Air Force, I used to be a keen Christian. Any regular (or even not so regular) readers of my blog will know that I am now a very keen atheist, so I have changed quite radically over the years. I attended regular Bible studies and on occasions even led them. Our little fellowship comprised of service people and civilians of all ranks and socio economic categories. We were proud of the fact that, in line with New Testament teaching, there were no class barriers between us. Even so, you always get one who has to be different from everyone else who should know better. The one of which I speak in this context was an army chaplain. There were two chaplains shepherding the flock of our Church, one air force, and the other army.

My job throughout my time in the RAF was a photographer. At this time, I was stationed at RAF Rheindahlen in Germany as a NATO public information photographer. I was tasked to photograph a “National Reception” at the Officers’’ Mess where the local, and not so local great and good were invited to shake hands with the base big cheeses, quaff the wines, scoff the cheese and generally have a jolly good time. I was stood, doing my thing taking my usual artfully crafted photographs of the esteemed guests as they shook hands with this General, or that Air Marshal. I was tapped upon the shoulder by a lady from the fellowship. She was married to a Flight Lieutenant. She said how pleased she was to see me and, it being a quiet moment in the proceedings, we engaged in conversation. Suddenly, the Army Chaplain appeared on the scene, butting in on our conversation.

“Why are you talking to the Corporal” said the chaplain. Incredulous, my friend replied, “This is Steve, you know him – he’s part of our fellowship”.
“Well you know you should be talking to the guests and not to the Other Ranks" (a term I hate). Gobsmacked, my friend replied, “Really Chaplain, what kind of a Christian are you?”
Pointing at his rank badge on his uniform – “A Colonel Christian” he replied, and then stomped off into the melee.

I wonder what rank Jesus was?

1 comment:

Candace said...

I have found arrogance everywhere not just among those who refer to themselves as Christians. Some people refer to themselves as Christians even though they are not, but that is not for me to judge.
You said you were once a Christian, what happened that you decided you were an atheist?