Friday, January 27, 2012

Not often discussed at Greenbelt

Greenbelt is
The gleeful annual festival
Of transcendental self-congratulation
For the omnipercipient;
A sort of
Trojan horsefair
For biblecreeps,
And armchair dogma potatoes
Who wish to widen
The horizons
Of their tunnel vision.

Greenbelt at Cheltenham
Is a lot like
Glastonbury at Glastonbury,
Except without the mud
And the noise:
Not only the scrotums are wrinkly.

But there is a tent
For the under-fifties,
With Chorleywood
Colouring books,
Old Testament
By Soul Survivor,
And black and white
By the African bishops:
Pink not allowed.

Not often discussed
At Greenbelt
Is the fact that
Although post-religious
Christian spirituality
Walked out of church
Decades ago
And exercised its option
Of not returning,
Churchianity at Greenbelt
Is still a
Fashion accessory
Proudly sported by
A minority
Of the spiritually insecure -
Not all of them bishops.

The trousers at Wycliffe Hall
Might object to this
On the grounds that,
In Extremis,
The evangelical God
Must go through the motions
Of noticing the energy
Of the churchbore groupmind
As part of His
Non-negotiable covenant
Of universal condescension.

But it doesn't matter much.
Apparently, Wycliffe Hall
Is only an upgraded
Second division polytechnic
Playfully maintaining
A furtive,
Semi-detached relationship
With Oxford University.

No one of absolutely
Terrific quality
Goes there any more;
No-one of absolutely
Terrific quality
Teaches there any more;
These days it's just
A toothless ghetto
Of masticating misogynists
Chewing the crud
Of Christendom past
And keen
To climax
On Calvin.
Or so it is said
Around the wide acres
Of the Cheltenham racecourse.

But we must tolerate
The new fundamentalism,
And patronise
The Talibanisation
Of Anglican Churchianity
Because it is a legitimate
Voice of dissent
Among the sex-obsessed
Death odours
Of Western religion.
Or so it is suggested,
As a discussion starter,
Before the fish course.

But at Greenbelt
It's OK to be
On these issues.

Indeed, after four days
Of earnest broad-mindedness
And agenda-free enquiry,
Life itself
Begins to feel
A bit like
A stuffed aubergine.


Greenbelt - the view from the Death Star

Disappointed at Greenbelt

Greenbelt anti-pilgrimage

Sermon abuse

Why is church so serious?

Religion is a terrorist behaviour

A new scripture shortly to be published

The Piers Stockton cycle of koans

More Norfolk koans

Index of blog contents

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