While I was wearing my cassock one person told me I should have become a priest. I replied that I don’t have that strength of conviction. One person understood what I meant. I have a religion of participation, not one of conviction to belief. Immediately the conversation jumped to the believability of god. It’s an amazing trick that I noticed among secular people, as if my admission to religious practice wasn’t recognised. Imagine if it had been a group of white people discussing racial politics in front of a coloured person.

I have been dwelling on the thought that the majority of people I meet socially do not have religious experience. They see it from the outside. Although I don’t have a nonreligious viewpoint I expect it as normative from others. It is not to be challenged. That would be dangerous.

I was talking to a friend about the New Zealand anthology of religious poetry, Spirit in a Strange Land. I had not found it useful as a devotional guide. The New Zealand poets compiled write from a ‘spirituality of suspicion’ (or a suspicion of spirituality, let the reader decide). In hindsight while the poetry was not experience, it reflects the wider culture in which I participate.

“A fish cannot distinugish between the gospel and a culture of sea-water.”

The preacher at the induction service was a recent immigrant minister from Scotland. One person observed that it was a typically ‘Scottish’ sermon: Scots rationalism with romantic hooks. I found it odd for its lack of application, especially directed at the incoming minister. Culture, again.

Attendence at the first service of the new ministry is noticeably up as nominal members begin to participate again. There is a happy feeling in the congregation. Graeme goes to the hospital tomorrow for a hernia examination. The hernia is in his groin and affects his water retention. Ah! The things I learn at church! At one point in the prayers he was going red in the face as he pulled at a pendant hung on a cord around his neck. I gave him a hug and he relaxed.

GURPS session moved this week to Saturday night – two of us, including myself, were unavailable on Thursday. The games master has thrown us into a spin with the current scenario. We are in an enchanted forest between worlds. The forest guardians are regularly attacked by twix-world magicians who want to release dark forces imprisoned in the forest onto the conscious world. The demizens of the forest know that the forest’s preservation from these attacks will cost their own lives. In the last attack, one of their own, a scryer, was badly injured. They want to use risky magic to heal the scryer to regain her information about the attackers. The benefits of the healing magic on the woman could be short-lived and ultimately kill her. As witnesses to these events our party has to decide whether the potential saving of many lives is worth this one life.

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