Written 01.10.2006

We all Work Sundays

Sunday is divided into two halves. The morning when you sit and read your paper over breakfast, listening to the radio news, and harbouring thoughts of doing something typically « un-Sunday »

In small town France we have a wide selection of « un-Sunday » activities; shopping, going to the cinema, going bowling, going to an art exhibition, the choice is endless.

The second half of Sunday is about not doing the things that you’d like to do, but doing all the shit you haven’t done.

At the last minute, your offspring will tell that they have forgotten all their school homework books. Just before bed they might suddenly surprise you by asking for something exotic, complicated or just plain unobtainable, for school the next day. If you are really unlucky, your kids will tell you five minutes before you leave the house on Monday morning.

Sunday is never a day of rest; it’s a catching up on the ironing day. We all work on Sundays.

Organisational Guru.

Creationists will maintain that God created the world in six days, and then rested on the seventh. How did he manage that? He must be some kind of organisational guru.

Suppose the actual building work was done in six days, God must have spent Sunday clearing up, unless of course by Sunday he had created a legion of angels to do it for him. Even if the angels did help him, God must have at least supervised them, making sure that they put everything back in the right place.

Getting the Faith

In this great secular and republican nation, that is France. I have taken steps to assure my daughter’s religious education.

The decision to « know a little more about God » was my daughter’s. She took it at Christmas last year.

The Sunday school group at the local Church, had organised an afternoon of activities based around the story of Christmas.

Mum and dad asked daughter if she wanted to go. We insisted that it might be a good idea.

« Christmas isn’t just about getting loads of presents. » We said. « It’s also about the birth of baby Jesus. »

The week before Christmas, we traipsed along to the local church hall. The place was full of well-dressed, polite catholic mums. Each one had a horde of equally well-dressed kids. By the time the priest arrived, most of the kids were slightly less well dressed. Dishevelled and covered in dust from rolling on the floor.

Our daughter had played it cool. She just sat and waited.

The priest started to pose questions about Christmas.

« Which king wanted to kill baby Jesus? » he asked. There was stony silence and a sea of dumb faces. Up went the offspring’s hand.

« Herod. »

Incredulous silence from the ranks of « religious » kids

Next question. « Where had Mary and Joseph come from? »

More silence. Up shot the offspring’s hand again

« Nazareth. »

My daughter’s biblical monologue continued for two more questions. Until the « religious » kids got a question they could answer.

In the car home we asked the offspring where she had learned all that stuff.

« You told me last year » she sighed.

« Would you like to know some more Bible stories? » we asked

« Okay. »

Around March, my better half went to enrol our daughter for religious education classes at the local Church.

The same « churchy » mums were present with their numerous offspring. Everyone, a fully paid up member of the faith. Mums and dads firmly married, and every kid baptised.

And here’s us. Happily unmarried, with an unbaptised daughter, the fruit  of our sinful union.That was bad enough. Worse still I’m an Englishman who was baptised in the Church of Scotland.

The priest told us that all this was of no consequence. Non-believers, sceptics and even English men were welcome. How very modern.