I am in the process of pondering a passage of Scripture as I prepare for a sermon to be preached this Sunday. The passage in question is Ephesians 4: 1-16, and is a delightful essay from Paul about unity and the different qualities of person needed in any given organisation. As I sat an watched the girls murder one another this morning (yes, it snowed and yes, the world stopped again [Global Warming is to blame, I tell you]), I wondered about the different types of Christian that make up Mother Church. These are my long considered (ten minutes or so) findings:
Grinning Christians: always happy, at Christmas, at Easter, at funerals. They are full of the Spirit and it burns within them like a lamp burning in the night. They very often have extremely straight teeth that are white as snow (they would be lost today) and floppy black Bibles.
Self-Apologetic Christians: always feeling sorry about anything and everything. They can't take a breath without wanting to say sorry for doing so. They consider themselves worms; unworthy, in need of some serious penitance. The effervescence of their self-apology can become an art form, with even the sinews of the face adopting the 'I am sorry that I am alive, and I am just plain sorry' style. They are often seem wringing handkerchiefs feverishly, in a very apologetic way
Self-Righteous Christians: the 'I am right and so therefore, by definition, you are wrong' types. You are different to me so you must be wrong, because I am right (and God told me so). They are the 'God calls me but doesn't call you because you don't conform' type of Christian. They have been known to snort whilst giggling.
Psuedo-Intellectual Christians: They are often to be heard using meaningless terms like 'powerful' and 'post-modern' in almost every conversation that they have. Often talking with their heads at an angle, they will smile at the rest of us in a pitying way. You will never see one without a copy of 'Silence and Honey Cakes' under their arm, because Rowan (they are always on first-name terms with others they aspire to being as bright as) is so 'powerful in this post-modern age' of ours.
Good Christians: that great army of the faithful who put God and his wounds at the centre of their world. They typically have an on-off relationship with the Lord, trying as hard as they can to fathom it all out, while clinging to their faith in one who knows better than they.
Self-Aggrandising Christians: 'Sorting out the Postcards on this stand is my job and has been for 657 years'. They are rarely seen outside of a clique which comprises six or seven of likeminded territorialists. Often seen frowning on the way to the church ... becuase the postcards will have been messed up by some n'er do well.
Blokey Christians: These are the 'this is all very nice, fella, but so what?' type of believers. They are not silly but typically not highly qualified. They are more likely to be able to name the players in their favourite footballist team than the dates of Paul's imprisonments. They believe in God and that is that. Not sorry, and frankly not too bothered what anyone else thinks, Blokes feel so at ease with their faith that they can still enjoy beer, gadgets and cars without feeling somehow impious. Not given to taking a scriptural truth at face value, they are often heard asking the 'so what' question. They are often hard to find as they are so very rare, but more often than not wear fleeces and know the BHP of their vehicle.
Grumpies: never without a Tonsure Collar (when ordained), they are normally wound up about the quality (or lack thereof) of the liturgy. Lay and ordained Grumpies will lose an entire week to the mysery induced by the wrong incense being used at High Mass and an entire month to the mysery of a poorly performed polyphonic setting. Please note, those who crave apparelled amices are not Grumpies, but rather just a little odd!
I have probably been uncharitable, but I only leave a 'if the cap fits' kind of caviat to this post. I am, without doubt, a Bloke Christian (with a mix of Grumpy). In my peer group at Theological College, there were a couple of us among a whole host of others. Each of the above groups were represented and each will go on to foster and nurture more of the same.
And I say 'good'. God love 'em all, the Church needs every single one of us. Thankfully, Good Christians represent 99.99999998% of all God fearing folks, and the others know who they are. All types are valid, and all types are acceptable (mostly), or else we would all be clones. From my point of view, though, I hold some consolation in the fact that the Disciples were conspicuously Blokes. Cracking!