What should never suprise me, but always does, is how religion endlessly tries to hack off its own limbs in the pursuit of perfection.
Walking past a private Christian school nearby I noticed a book in the recycling binbag outside. Since I have an aversion to the unnecessary disposal of a book that I could either profitably read or sell, I took a closer look, wondering if I’d have time split the bag and whip out the contents before anyone noticed. A middle-class fear of discovery that I have been unable to shrug off… although funnily enough in the circumstances I did once get a copy of Skelton’s ‘The Practice of Witchcraft Today’ from an overflowing skip in Rye.
Nestling next to a copy of the pre-budget report in the recycling bag was a lonely and unloved Book of Mormon [see picture]. Now the Mormons, or the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are an interesting group and their Book is the translation from golden plates found in a hill by a farmer who upon translating them, gave them back to an angel called Moroni. Moroni was a pre-Columbian Christian prophet-warrior who died after a great battle between two ancient civilizations, and was subsequently resurrected to become an angel. Heady stuff. But too much for the Christian school. It sets me to wondering – where had it come from and how did it end up in the bin? Possibly that is the kind of contraband that is furtively handed round in these types of schools – in my day it was Richard Allen’s ‘Skinhead’ books but perhaps we were less infused with the holy spirit at the time.
This is a factional split in the Christian groupings in Rochester – much the same as can be seen with the inter-communal antagonism between the Sunni and Shia Muslims in troubled parts of the Middle East. When forces become split like this one wonders where alliances will be made and what will be the coming climate as winter takes hold.
Another arresting image caught my eye in the graveyard of St Margaret’s Church overlooking the fair banks of the River Medway. This time something quite odd – the decoration on a tomb showing a crucifix with the design inverted below – this inverted crucifix has a place in Christianity as the cross of Saint Peter and is really nothing sinister. However, here we see the damage done to the lower cross, possibly in a naive attempt to expunge any Crowleyian symbolism (despite the obvious Christian intent of the mason who created the thing) Collatoral damage in a psychic war.