Log in

No account? Create an account
Whit Walks - Eroticdreambattle — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tony Grist

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Whit Walks [Feb. 24th, 2009|10:17 am]
Tony Grist
Ailz just bought a scooter. It arrived this morning. I had to help the delivery man- still in my pajamas and dressing gown- carry the enormous box into the house.

"I can ride to church in it", said Ailz, "And take part in the Whit Walk".

That made me panic. I'd forgotten the Whit Walk was coming. The Whit Walk is a north country thing- so not part of my heritage at all.  Every Whit Sunday the churches dust off their banners, hire a marching band and parade their membership round the streets with the kiddies in uniform- scouts, guides, church lads, whatever- swinging along like the Hitler Youth. It's sectarian, triumphalist, tribal.  My skin crawls at the thought.

"So, I'll have the scooter," says Ailz. "I don't need you to come along. You can stand on the pavement and wave."

Here's where we differ. Ailz really likes the idea of being caught up fully in the life of the church.  And I..... don't.  I'm not a team player. I'm going to church because....

1. I feel the need to stand up and say, "Fuck you, Richard Dawkins!"

2.  I'm in the process of embracing- and forgiving- my younger self.

3.  I like the idea of having some links to the local community.

But that's it. I'm not a Christian. I don't in the least regret having hung up my cassock a quarter century ago. My position is delicate, contradictory,  false.

I wish I could suspend my niggling and just relax into the situation- all cool and zen- but I can't. God gave me a brain and I use it for niggling. That's me. It's what I do.  And I view Whit Walks- like so much else in the Christian tradition- as a monstrous lapse in taste. Here it comes then, the monstrous, tasteless thing- like an end of level Boss-  and I can't just go round it.

Or can I?

[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2009-02-24 12:00 pm (UTC)
I am not a Christian either, but I like going into a church. I like the old smells of prayer book dust and moulding bindings, candle wax and just age. I especially love it when I find a little carving in a church made by some medieval mason that was not a very good Christian either and got a bit of a stone jab in here and there.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 12:28 pm (UTC)
I love old churches too. It was loving old churches too much that gpot me into this pickle :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2009-02-24 01:22 pm (UTC)
There's nothing that says "the church is in the community" like a nice march around the neighborhood, banners waving and band ooom-paaahing.

Seriously, it's mostly tribal and I think it's lots of fun.

One of the Catholic churches here in South Philadelphia does a march in the spring, complete with "Pin the dollar on the Virgin" processing statue. I love it!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 04:38 pm (UTC)
In this part of the world it grows out of the former rivalry between catholic and protestant congregations. I'm not saying there's anything dreadfully wrong with it- it's just not my thing.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-02-26 02:12 am (UTC)
"Pin the dollar on the virgin" is an almost weekly occurrence all spring, summer and fall in the Italian North End of Boston. It's an ethnic/religious thing with Italians, complete with brass bands (like in the Godfather movie)and processing kids in their first communion and confirmation outfits, and important people from the Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus in the parade as well.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2009-02-24 01:50 pm (UTC)
Given my Southern Irish background, I completely understand your misgivings. I say give it a skip if you don't feel like it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 04:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, I'm definitely going to give it a miss.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2009-02-24 01:52 pm (UTC)
Oh! They still do Whit Week walks! That's wonderful!

I was afraid they'd all died out. And yes, they probably are tribal and all those other things, but it was a genuine piece of working class traditional culture and everyone had fun. We girls always got a new dress and a new pair of summer shoes, which we were allowed to wear for the first time at the Whit walks.

It was a case of marking out one's territory and displaying one's members, but there was never any trouble and those banners were a mark of great pride and it was an honour for the men to carry them.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 04:41 pm (UTC)
I understand why people like them...but....

It's just not me. Marching bands, uniforms- they give me the creeps.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: sunfell
2009-02-24 02:11 pm (UTC)
You're just going to have to create your own sort of thing. How about a nice, Pagan-esque beating of the bounds? No triumphalist nonsense, no tribal fooferaw- just an acknowledgement that this place is your home, you are its steward, and life goes on.

I have a niggly brain, too. I've heard about 'marching season' and similar things, and I just shake my head in sorrow. Happily (?) there aren't such things here in the US.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 04:48 pm (UTC)
I like that suggestion.

The Whit Walks have their origin in the rivalry between protestant and catholic congregations in the late 19th century. I just hate anything that smacks (however faintly) of militarism.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-02-26 02:16 am (UTC)
We used to have the Easter Parade. We would all get new outfits and after church and Sunday dinner the whole family would get on the El train and go in "town" to Commonwealth Avenue Mall and walk the length of it among other dressed up celebrants. We did not have a Whitsunday (Pentecost) walk, though. I guess the idea was "only one new outfit per season".
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2009-02-24 02:29 pm (UTC)
Congratulations to Ailz on the scooter. They're great for more independence.

Niggling is fine! And now that Ailz can do the Whit Walk by herself, you don't really have to even think about it. It's not a part of who you are so why make it so.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 04:51 pm (UTC)
The scooter's good- and we got it in a sale, at a really knock down price!

My fear is they'll ask me to help carry a banner. I hate to be confrontational.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: wlotus
2009-02-24 03:45 pm (UTC)
Couldn't you not attend? I'd be surprised if Ailz expected you to do something that was so entirely distasteful to you, especially now that she has the scooter.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 04:54 pm (UTC)
Ailz is quite happy for me to stay away. And I almost certainly shall.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mummm
2009-02-24 05:01 pm (UTC)
I bet you two are going to love that scooter! My mother had one and it served her well, even though she tended to nick walls and doors with it...
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 08:17 pm (UTC)
It will mean we can "walk" side by side- instead of one behind the other (with me pushing her chair) a position that makes conversation extremely difficult.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: algabal
2009-02-24 05:51 pm (UTC)
I guess my question is: what does Jesus have to do with church? It's wrong to try and tie Jesus to temporal sensory phenomena, i.e., Jesus is a certain smell, Jesus is a certain building that I was in when I was a child.

Jesus, to me, is a symbol and a radical impulse: he leads us away from the common, the vulgar, the material, into sanctified realms (Matthew 19:12 could never be the words of a moderate teacher). While this may be antithetical to your attitude as a pagan, I still don't think Jesus would recognize the Anglican Church (or the Catholics, Russians, Serbians, Romanians or any other church) as his own.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 08:23 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. Jesus is one thing; the churches are another. I have a certain feeling for Jesus, a certain feeling for Anglicanism, a certain feeling for historic Christianity- but I can't commit myself to any of them.

Actually, I don't want to commit to any of them. I just want to be on friendly terms with them all. The trouble is- I suppose- that they demand more.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2009-02-24 06:31 pm (UTC)
I would not have thought one could
easily find something in better taste
than christian tradition?
then what is good taste etc?
there are and have been various sorts of chic
from elitist to proletarian but I wonder about
their good taste...
but you know all that
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-02-24 08:37 pm (UTC)
I think the Christian tradition was- aesthetically speaking- more or less faultless up until the Reformation. After that things rather went to pot- and a lot of very poor stuff was churned out. I'm talking about the catholic and protestant churches here. Your own communion, not that I know that much about it, seems to have done rather better.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2009-02-24 08:41 pm (UTC)
maybe its because Ive been reading leon bloy
but I guess i am questioning the category of
taste :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)