It has been a tad too long since I last ‘blogged’ but you will be pleased (I trust) to know that I am back.
I fear that the excuse I am about to proffer for my prolonged absence will appear somewhat lame, but I can only say it as it is.
My enforced ‘online exile’ was precipitated by an unfortunate incident at the outset of one particular Sunday morning service at St Cliff’s.
It is rare that we see fresh faces at our services but on this particular Sunday we were graced by a middle-aged couple who wasted no time in asking this and that about the church.
I felt that I wasn’t doing too badly until the gentleman slipped in what I considered was rather a ‘curved ball’, (considering that the clock was ticking inexorably towards our service ‘kick-off’ time) and it is more than my job is worth to be absent when Mrs Higginbottom, our erratic and tone deaf organist, strikes up for the opening hymn (or chorus, if I’m feeling brave).
The question my inquisitor asked was not one that I had ever expected to answer at St Cliff’s (if you know anything at all about the general lack of spiritual appetite resident within my flock) and I was thus theologically unprepared.
“What is your end time theology?”
This pertinent poser reminded me of an occasion early on in my Christian walk when a fellow enquired of me as to whether I was a Calvinist or an Arminian. Likewise, not having a clue at to what he was referring I retorted that I was in fact British (thinking that he was meaning Armenia, a mountainous country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia and I had not the foggiest what a Calvinist was).
In that I was ‘ready to roll’ for our morning service I delivered (unwisely) the first answer that popped into my head.
“Midday at the very latest I should imagine”, (thinking that he was referring to the finishing time of our service and not things pertaining to the ‘mark of the beast’ et al) “though sometimes we run a few minutes over if our organist loses the plot (a not uncommon occurrence) and adds a few additional verses to the last hymn, lack of words to accompany them not withstanding.”
Not only was my reply met with what appeared to me like a suppressed chuckle but to make matters worse I subsequently discovered that these incognito visitors were in fact ‘Mystery Worshippers’ reporting back to that comedic internet portal, Ship of Fools, no less.
Perhaps I would have been a little more on my guard had I but known that this was the case, but then again I supposed that is the whole point of this unofficial church OFSTED.
The icing on the cake to my embarrassing downfall was that the bishop just so happens to be a regular visitor to the aforementioned website and thus my gaffe was well and truly exposed.
That a church on his patch should be led by someone with such gaping hole in their theology was too much for him.
Having deduced that I perhaps spent more time ‘surfing the net’ than I did in sermon preparation I was summarily issued with a ‘’blogging’ ban until my biblical understanding of the ‘last days’ was brought up to scratch.
I will admit that I did not take kindly to being presented with a copy of ‘Revelation for Dummies’, feeling it a tad patronising having successfully delivered many a sermon in my popular (with me at least) ‘Leviticus Highlights’ series.
The good news is that I now know my Amillenial from my Premillenial and I achieved full marks in the helpful test at the end of the book.
What I had not noticed was precisely how many questions the author of this handy tome had in fact concocted in the interests of slipping in (under the radar) a spot of cheeky ‘end time’ humour.
I am not sure whether I am to be applauded for attaining 666/666 or not!
Onward and upward