Don’t Ask the Heathen!

I drove off to get some space and peace, and found out it’s hard to be on the road. Every space is taken. You can’t stop on the road and you really shouldn’t stop on the pavements. Nor should you block the few pull-over lanes the new South Africa made for taxis. But it was early Sunday morning, so I pulled into a lane that taxis can use outside St Elizabeth’s Church, not far from home. Who was Elizabeth, I wondered? And how do you become a saint? Do you have to be as evil as Mother Teresa?

So I’m sitting and thinking when a car cruises up slowly and stops opposite me. I wave and carry on with what I’m not doing when he winds down his window and I twig he wants to ask me something. He’s neatly dressed and the lady next to him is dressed for church. Lovely friendly-looking people who the Nats would have classified ‘Coloured’ – and the ANC kept these damned fake classifications! Under RACE in govt forms everyone should write NOT RUNNING.

‘Do you know what time the service is?’ he asks. Oh heck, no, I’m sorry, I’m a heathen. I wouldn’t have a clue, I tell him. It’s Anglican, right? I ask him. He says ‘Yes,’ smiling. His wife peers at me, interested, I think. Maybe: ‘So THAT’s what they look like!?’ They drive off and park to watch the church. A few minutes later someone drives into the church parking lot and they follow that car – hopefully to get a more useful answer.


Tom’s Tortured Soul

Tom is in Gamalakhe inland of Shelly Beach visiting his big mate Lungelo. Lungelo has just been with us for a few days. They get fetched by Lungelo’s parents and today they’re going to church.

They leave at 08h30, church starts at 09h00 and on his way Tom messages me: “No airtime, please send”. I say Sing Those Hymns Sweetly My Boy.

At 13h17 he uses his new airtime “I’m still here! Haven’t eaten a thing! Desperate!”

At 14h12 he says “I am never going to another day of church in my life again!”

They got home at 16h15!! That’s torture! That’s cruel and unusual punishment! A mate of mine said his posh private boarding school cured him of church forever. I think this church has done it for Tom!

Tom tired in Church_2


I fetched him in Shelly Beach on Thursday and got another heartfelt tale on the way home. The adults had seats, they had to stand! The preacher shouted over the tannoy for most of the six hours! The speakers would go WOOOH! and then SQUEEEE! every so often. The theme of this six-hour sermon was “scapegoats” or “escapegoats”, and these words were said about a million times, only surpassed by the number of times he said AMEN!

The collection drums came round four times. One round had the injunction to cough R50. He was asked why he hadn’t given, so he gave R2. He was also asked at one time why he was sitting on the floor, not standing. Some adults arrived late, some left early. The preacher would take a five minute break every so often while the people sang. “I’m sure he went out for a snack and something to drink” said an envious Tom.

In the last hour he made a resolution: For every hour he was trapped in this church he would avoid church for a full year! He reckons his next run-in with any church will be in 2024 – maybe.

Maybe he should send the preacher this link:

lengthy sermon.png