The Ely Grumpster’s Easter column

The Ely Grumpster

The Ely Grumpster - Credit: Archant

The Ely Grumpster’s Easter column

• Although I am a Christian (albeit a useless one), I steer clear of religion, unless directly asked about my church, faith etc (in which case, I will happily answer questions, talk about my experiences and hopefully apply a little water to a thirsty plant).

What I won’t do is shove my views down somebody’s throat. That approach was attempted on me aged 16 and it proved utterly counter-productive.

But tomorrow is Good Friday and as the most momentous period of the Christian year approaches, I would like to use my 450 words to talk briefly about religion and faith: what is good, what is bad and to close, what I feel we should strive for?

• The good? My faith in Christ is the core of my being. Without it, I would feel like an empty shell and nothing would make sense. Secondly, my church in Ely is rammed full of the most devoted, caring, committed, kindly, accepting, broad-minded people I have ever met. They are my second family and I love them all.

• So, for balance, the counter-view. Not all churches are like mine. A Baptist Church in Kent, for example, where the warmth of welcome was proportionate to how much cash they could extract from your wallet. No donation - not even a smile. Over £200 a month - a dinner invite from the Treasurer. £300 - a game of golf with the Senior Minister (who prided himself on never buying a drink).

• My friend’s gay son won’t step inside a church because he feels shunned and condemned. What a shocking indictment of certain conservative elements of the church. So, if you appear “normal” to these anachronistic, self-satisfied fossils (who would prefer to see their church die than admit “undesirables”), can I, as Mr Acceptable, expect a warm welcome? Like hell.

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Doris and I attended a High Anglican Easter Sunday service last year in Dorset and were regarded with such coldness and distain that I felt like stripping naked, clambering into the pulpit and yelling “Lucifer, he ain’t so bad” or “anybody up for a bunga bunga party?”.

• What should we strive for? Here are my secular top three: (1) it is fine to strive to improve your lot, but not by treading on others; (2) put others before yourself; (3) never be afraid to apologise (and man, I am an expert). A very happy Easter to you all.