Having been attending church for a while now, I am building up a short list of occasions when not to attend. Principal among these is Easter: all that blood-sacrifice stuff gets a bit much at this festival.
I’m adding Mothering Sunday to the list. I thought it would be along the lines of nice little homilies on Motherhood – something none of us can really object to. However, it turned out to be a lot of nonsense about our “Mother Church”. Usually Christianity seems to go in for full-on patriarchy (“Our Father”, etc) but, like a Thought for the Day presenter shoe-horning Jesus into the latest football score, they seem keen to explain how the Church is like our Mother. And Jesus had a Mother as well, did you know.
It was all pretty awful and made worse by the fact that we had to turn to a stranger and hug them at some point. The only saving grace was that we were accompanied by one of the in-laws who, although she doesn’t attend church herself, thinks it is a good thing that we do and that our children will go to a faith school. A classic case of what Dan Dennett calls “believing in belief”.
I am glad to report that she was as embarrassed as we were by the whole thing. Hopefully, she’ll be a bit quieter about the joys of church-going in future!