Micheal Gurr’s Days Like These
I haven’t written anything for a while because in the past three weeks I’ve had three funerals and a wedding. Anytime I haven’t been doing anything I’ve been slumped on the couch staring into space, because this ministry thing is hard work. It feels incredibly worthwhile and my sense of vocation has been confirmed one hundredfold, but these services have also confirmed just how exhausting ministry can be.
Yesterday was the third funeral, and for the first time I wasn’t finishing one funeral knowing that there was another one to prepare. So I’m hoping that I can now take a short break from burying people.
The wedding was amazing. I think I had a stupid, goofy grin on my face all the way through the service because I was so happy to be marrying these people to each other. They did pre-marital counselling with me, so I got to know them before marrying them, and their relationship is beautiful.
(And the groom started crying as he watched the bride walk down the aisle towards him.)
I’ve been reading Michael Gurr’s memoir, Days Like These, partly because it is a collection of vignettes and I could pick it up, read a page or so, and then put it down. There’s been no time to engage in serious narrative arcs recently. But I’ve also been reading it because it’s a great book and I strongly recommend it. And it’s always nice to have my prejudices confirmed:
I’m quite happy around old-fashioned Christians. I like the dagginess, the interest in the world – in small doses I can even take the holy stuff. What I like the most, though, is their lack of embarrassment about wanting to do good in the world. Christ seems to make them unashamed. New Testament parables are pretty straight-forward. Big nude ideas like justice and relief from suffering don’t seem to freeze on their lips like they freeze on the lips of the secular Left.
The new Christians, though, scare me with their smiling certainty. The Prosperity Gospel of the mall churches – that God wants you to have a bigger television – is just the latest import, of course, and it’s interesting how rarely you hear them talking about the poor, the downtrodden, the foolish and the ugly: all the people their prophet worried about.
Michael Gurr, Days Like These, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2006, p. 281.