Wednesday, 21 September 2011

An Atheist and an Anglo-Catholic at Greenbelt

I was at Greenbelt this year, for a day - to be helpful. That I was nearly refused entry is a tale for another day, but I have to confess to having enjoyed the whole experience. I was able to draw some conclusions about how Christians ought to look, and I have resolved to think about buying a hoody in due course. The tie-dye patchwork dungaree things won't trouble my inner-monologue, but they too were much in evidence. 

But this, kids, is not what I sat here to write about. A mate of mine, known to many of you as Gurdur (on Twitter and other places), known to me as Tim - a finer antipodean resident of the German state you will not find, was also there. The thing is, he is an atheist. He styles himself as 'extremely' atheistic, which is to say that he not only doesn't believe in God, but that he really seriously doesn't believe in God. Hold in your thoughts that I do, of course. 

We spent a good amount of time on that day wandering together talking about many things, approaching stall-holders and taking interest in their 'product'. This followed one of those embarrassing social-media moments when, thinking you know someone really well because you have 'chatted' many times, meant that upon seeing him in the flesh for the first time, I greeted him as an old friend, embrace and all. He thanked me very sincerely and then asked who the hell I was. How we laughed ...

Tim is a remarkable man. He, like I, had experienced painful times at such gatherings in our pasts (though not Greenbelt, I should state). Be both felt like fish out of water, for similar yet wholly dissimilar reasons. In fact that sense galvanised us in our encounter, Christian to Atheist, as we moved about the place looking and watching. It generated, I thought, some rather helpful discussions - and I think helpful for us both. What aided us in this endeavour was a the fact that he is about the most open-minded man I have ever encountered, and I wasn't remotely interested in converting him. We were simply two humans, talking about levels of existence within our frameworks of reference. 

My day at Greenbelt was a source of much pleasure. Helping people work forwards in their vision to engage with Social Media was a particular honour for me. Time spent walking with my friend the atheist just about capped it off perfectly. 

The beer wasn't bad either...


  1. OK second attempt.

    Not a lone Anglo-Catholic. David used to work for USPG and root groups.. ;)

    Also one's daughter.....

  2. A hoody is an essential when camping - covers a multitude of sins, and great warmth at night... not so sure about the tie-die trousers!!

    I also got to meet Tim & David for the first time F2F, was excellent!

  3. Met one of your parishioners in the High Street today, conversation revealed that Pip & Jim's doesn't have a men's group.

    It doesn't seem to be known that a men's group from St Augustine's church gathers in the Nelson on the fourth Tuesday in the month from 8.30pm. It is an informal group, church attendance not compulsory, has been going for some years, provides support, guidance, fellowship, laughter to those attending, including my other half. Our previous vicar used to join the revelry, I am sure you, and your male congregation, would be welcomed.

    More details on the St Augustine of Canterbury, Whitton Facebook group.

  4. Religion is a waste of time; Greenbelt is a pathetic, self-important Anorak gathering.



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