Linden Kemkaran

Is church the last bastion of boredom?

I was listening to Thought for The Day on Radio 4 the other morning. Well, I say listening, as most parents will know, that is something you can do only in an empty house. What I mean is: the radio was on, a religious man was speaking and I caught probably every fourth or fifth word in between shouting at my kids to hurry up. Anyway, the gist of what the man was saying was that it is good to be bored as it frees up the brain, and going to church may well be one of the last places on earth where that is entirely and routinely possible.

I realised this was true. Full disclosure: I semi-regularly trot off to church. A Methodist church. Not because I particularly adhere to the Methodist doctrine – I like a drink and, over Christmas, I delighted in receiving a poker tutorial from my brother-in-law, while drinking (did I mention that I like a drink?). But I digress and as I do so, I realise something else. Saying that you are a regular church attendee is a bit like saying you’re a Conservative or that you voted Brexit; not something routinely brought up in polite company for fear of causing offence or being on the receiving end of unpleasant comments or a superior sneer.

I go mainly for the singing; those Methodists adore their traditional hymns, having been founded by Wesley and all that. I’m in the choir, usually flanked by my fellow sopranos Barbara and Dorothy, two beautiful ladies d’un certain age, who are always immaculately attired and smell simply divine. I tip up often straight from the hockey drop-off in my jeans and scuffed boots, usually having missed Thursday night’s rehearsal due to yet more sporting commitments, and have to frantically scan the order of service so that I can swiftly thumb through the hymn book and apply my little multi-coloured flags.

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