Sunday, 7 August 2016

Heckled in church!

Yesterday was very different...I went to a church about half an hours drive away...it's one I've looked after during interregnums. They know me and had been told I couldn't get there due to a sudden bereavement.
They were very warm and welcoming when I turned up but slightly disorganised as they changed from Morning Prayer to Communion .
The worship leader had prepared a sermon so I joked with the congregation that they would have two for the price of one.
Mine was on the familiar theme...one God with many names for him..
Suddenly a man was on his feet. I had apparently said that Allah was God.
I had reeled off several names for God at one point but he was incensed.
I allowed him to make his point and then answered...
I said that Allah was the name that Muslims call God....
He repeated several times that I had called Allah God. The man now angry repeated it several times and said that he was disgusted for a woman of the cloth to describe a false God as a God.
I stayed very still...knowing by this time that he was probably irrational.
The lady church warden tried to stop him but he was intent on making the point...several times.
Eventually he marched out of the church taking two ladies with him.
At that point I sat down...my main job then was to stem the tears lying in wait for the unwary thought. We got the service back on track though not necessarily in the right order.
After the communion everyone gathered around to try to comfort me...but I got into my car exhausted...
The man was not a regular. He only dropped in occasionally. I think he had taken me to task once before but after the service not during it.
I came home confounded.
It seems such an obvious point to make...one God, many names for Him..but here, now we are surely one people , brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is our job to love one another...
This bit was very definitely missing yesterday.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

7 comments:

  1. He would have really lost it if someone told him it's what Jesus Himself would have called God
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allah

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  2. I think Rat Bites has put it well. The man concerned is obviously acting under a total misunderstanding of the word Allah, its origin and meanings. Perhaps someone who knows him well could take him to one side and explain things in detail before he makes an even bigger display of his ignorance which gets him into REAL trouble. The world is full of fools and we can not avoid coming into contact with them - even in the Roseland peninsula.

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  3. Oddly enough we had an opposite "invasion" last night - a bearded stranger who looked like everyone's idea of a Scary Brown Terrorist (except he had a carrier bag full of rubbish instead of a backpack) and marched up to the new curate in the middle of the service to hand her a note. For all we knew it could've been a death threat but everything carried on regardless and he returned to his seat until the end, when he accosted the senior Rev and it soon became clear that he was barely able to give his own name, never mind that of God, and one or two apparent quotes that didn't sound either Islamic or Scriptural and which he had on permanent repeat as some kinds of mentally ill people do. Several of us including choir and churchwardens (one of whom is a former magistrate and unfazed by this sort of thing) unobtrusively prolonged our after-service chat until a policeman (to whom it transpired our visitor was known) came to gently persuade him to the gate and away.
    Prayers and thanksgivings to be sure but it's sad we may be the only place some people may think of coming for help.

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  4. A difficult situation for all concerned. It reminded me that we all have a tendency to filter what we hear (or think we heard) through the distortions of our own prejudices or ignorance. I wonder if he is someone deeply prejudiced against ordained women and was just waiting for you to slip up in some way (in his own mind).

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    1. That thought had occurred to me too.....the incumbent, a woman was on holiday so he may have been expecting a man!

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  5. church!":

    It does seem to be quite outlandish to interrupt a sermon or service in that way? Surely he could have waited until the end of the service? But people with anger issues, coupled with perhaps mental health issues can have quite a short fuse.

    What you said, makes sense to me, and Islam does describe God as Allah, it also acknowledges that Allah is the Same as God that we worship.

    But such a point might have been difficult for him to accept, given his state of emotional upheaval, but who knows what might have happened if he hadn't stalked out - and he obviously has some acolytes, the two women who left with him.

    I'm new to preaching, but wouldn't have been prepared to be confronted in the way that you were - Lord knows what my reaction would have been, but dealing with anger has been part of my life training - so, perhaps I would have managed. I do hope so.

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    1. The above comment was from Earnie not me....I inadvertently deleted it! My finger hit the wrong bit! So I've copied and pasted it.....sorry!

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