Having our services in the afternoon makes Sunday morngins quite strange. Often I end up doing church work but summer means life is less busy and Iget to blob around a bit. Some channel surfing picked up a fascinating conversation that drew me infor a few minutes. It was E4's 'Big Brother Live' and a couple of people were having a discussion about religion (not a clue what their names were, I don't watch it) one turned out to be a nonpractising Jew from Finchley the other a stripper from Wales.
The conversation was about strands of Judaism, respectfully explained by the Jew, who said 'I'm sure all religions have their own magic' - interesting comment - who clearly had a good overview knwoledge of world faiths and traditions within them. The other person then said, 'I'd like to be Jewish, I think its a really glamourous religion."
This made the temperature of the 25% of my blood that is semitic rise more than somewhat, but the Jew just smiled and said, really? before going on to explain how she might go about finding our more about what was involved in converting.
I was not impressed by the idea of Judasim (or any faith) as being glamourous. Was this person really unaware of the 6 million Jews killed in the Shoah? Was she really so unaware of the difference between culture and faith? To be fair to her, she appeared quite genuine in her questioning and her comments, if maybe not thought through, were authentic. Overall it was a positive experience to watch - if interrupted by the bird song they seem to have to play every few seconds. This was a deeply respectful conversation between two people about questions of faith, culture and lifestyle. The questioner even felt safe enough to ask if being a stripper would matter, and received a gentle, respectful answer.
I'm not a great fan of these reality shows that seem to thrive on showing people arguing, getting drunk or engaging in sexual activities, but to eaves drop on this little conversation felt like a privilege. It also gave me an insight into the way that one person, at least, perceives religion, not as matters of faith but as attractive or otherwise cultures.
A bit more channel surfing took me to a discussion about the mooted Mega-Mosque (seating at least 12,000) which was far less respectful, though its participants were all very knowledgeable. I had to smile at the idea expressed by one person that building a mosque four (or more) times the size of Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral (the largest Christian place of worship in the UK at 3k seats) was about triumphalism - doesn't he know that that's always been the case with churches and cathedrals - taller spires, more seats, more ornate decoration, etc.... Even dear old Dibley had a Baptist chapel for 600 (thin) Victorians when the population was never, ever going to sustain that.
Now, back to the unglamourous business of getting ready for this afternoon's service...