Monday, 4 October 2010

church yesterday was an interesting kind of affair. one of our regulars is a homeless dude by the name of chucky. now, chucky was making a dramatic appearance as st peter's assistant at the gates of heaven and as it was his debut performance he invited a mate along, who i will call lucky.
lucky was managing to stay upright in between staggers and the two of them sat in the front row, stage whispering to each other and calling out professions of undying love to the congregation. time came to sing and lucky had his arms around chucky's shoulder and sung about as loudly as the rest of the people put together (dont get me on that soap box)
i'm not here to okay the drunkenness but the two of them had a relaxed joie de vivre, a kind of carefree boyishness, a life affirming cameraderie and i couldnt help but grin broadly as i watched them. chucky performed his part with flair and the two of them left, loudly proclaiming their embarrassment, on the way to the pub.
nobody was judgemental but not many folks were amused by the clowns in our midst and i just thought it was a pity.
i get that those guys are not helping themselves and, i suppose, my grinning is like encouraging a naughty child but just occasionally i would like to see that kind of unrestrained behaviour, that kind of enthusiasm, that kind of un-selfconsciousness, from church people. sometimes i would like it remembered by the hearts and not just the minds, that these guys are the guys Jesus would have hung out with, these guys are the people the salvation army was started for.
just sometimes i would like to see a little more JOY


  1. Kia ora Kylie,
    Well written, and your observation and sentiment are very moving. Jesus would appreciate that. It is something the world needs far more of these troubled days. Kia kaha.

  2. It's a long time since I went to a church service but I know exactly what you mean about these being the people Jesus would have befriended, and the lack of joy. If religion is about anything, it's about enjoying your life, not wearily plodding through ritual worship.

  3. I probably would have soberly gone up and sat with them and had a hell of a good time in church.

  4. my father in law was a happy drunk who got to love more people the more he drank<><>of course that is what eventually killed him by pickleing his kidney and liver< but when he was alive we all enjoyed his humaness...ONCE when he thought i had too many kids(5} HE SAID THAT I SHOULD KEEP MY MOUSE IN MY POCKET AND thAT WOULD SOLVE ONE PROBLEM.>>>I LAUGHED AT THAT ONE AND HE WAS ITLAIN and hugged all he met>>>loved people as much as his boooze>>>so thanks kilie for remembering the drunk

  5. robb,
    thank you.
    i hope that it is well enough written that everyone understands i make no judgement on anyone concerned, just trying to figure out my delight in the scenario :)

    as i said to robb, i make no judgement, i'm mostly pretty sober in church myself but i hope i make up for it other times!

    walking man,
    i was tempted to do just that!

    a mouse in your pocket? if he was truly kind he could have upsized to a rat :)

  6. Great post. If I were there, I would have written very much the same story. It's not for us to judge them for their problems. And the Jesus I learned about growing up was the same as yours - he would have welcomed these dudes with open arms.

    I write about homeless and "outsider" people often - I think its so tragic that we try to make them invisible. Imagine having something to say and nobody wanting to listen.

  7. "The Founder" William Booth would have loved it. In fact Chuckie has improved because of the Salvation Army's work in alchohol and drug rehab : is why, in the main, he comes to our corps.

  8. Sometimes in synagogue I look around and am amazed at the lack of kavvanah (the Hebrew word for intention or concentration in prayer, it's come to mean also spirited prayer)...sometimes our rabbi will say "come on people, i want to hear everyone!!! you all seem sleepy!!!"

    I love the idea of just letting go in one's house of worship--but it is so hard to do without crowd support. Great post.

  9. Whilst the personal subject of this post,Chuckie and his mate was the cause of amusement for me there is the other side. Chuckie's happiness and bravado was alchohol fuelled and therefore a befuddled and false happiness and a regression on certain undertakings he's made .

    Worship. Sometimes it's good to have a service of reflection at church with a not unhappy yet low key planned service. Liturgy and logic are not unworthy phenomena. After all much of it has evolved with much prayer and thought over centuries. Many "churches" have ditched all that is more than 10 years old to theit detriment and lasting spiritual poverty.
    I have heard an Australian Army soldier, a commissioned officer, who was part of a guard of honour
    say that he was glad of the structured ceromonial of the military funeral of a comrade. He was pleased of the structured service of remembrance too. It helped him and his mates cope emotionally with the sadness.

  10. jennifer,
    good to have you here!

    i'm probably no better at "seeing" the homeless than anybody else is but mindfulness is the first step, i think....

    i become very frustrated when i feel like the only person who actually wants to be in the house of God. it is, indeed, impossible to let go without crowd support

    i was waiting for someone to point out that chucky's mood was alcohol induced!

  11. Amen! Totally loved this post. Crazy thing, my word verification is "bless".
    My even beginning to open my mouth on this would become long-winded. I just loved what you said.

  12. mollie,
    long time, no see!
    i'm glad you like it

    hows the wee one?

  13. Awesome - thanks! Growing like a well-tended garden! Garden looks like crap. ;) I get you on my reader so it is pleasant to stay caught up. I suck at blogging right now.
    The wee one is almost 18 mos. old and he seems very wise, kind, and funny for his britches. Being my only one I think he is incredible!


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