Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Camels and Needles

Canford School was High Church and today I can still recite, not only the Lord’s Prayer, but the Catechism: ‘I believe in God the father, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ his only son . . .’ Towards the end of my first term there, we were ‘invited’ to put our names down for Confirmation. (Def: the sealing of the covenant created in Holy Baptism.) I was summoned to the headmaster's office. ‘Wilson, I am told that you have not registered for Confirmation.’ ‘I don’t believe in God, sir.’ ‘That has nothing to do with it. You are letting the school down.’ They couldn’t force Confirmation on me, but they could harass me. Summoned a second time I was told, ‘Wilson, you’re not kneeling in chapel.’ ‘I told you, sir. I don’t believe in God.’ Again I was told this had nothing to do with it. ‘Do you believe in God, sir?’ I asked. ‘My beliefs have nothing to do with you. We are not talking about God, Wilson. We are talking about loyalty.’ The last straw was when I confronted the school chaplain when he read Matthew 19:24: ‘And I tell you, it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven.’ My hand shot up. ‘Isn’t that about socialism, sir?’ ‘This parable is not to be taken literally, Wilson. Sit at the back of the class and get on with your Latin.’ There I remained, banned from religious studies, but I got a good grade in Latin. Cave ab homine unius libri -Do not trust a man with one book. Read more about my school days at 'Left Field'.

PS and here's some music about camels & needles

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