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This is a question Churches, temples and holy places

Tell us about the times you've been to a place of worship, and - this being b3ta - how you are now consigned to the everlasting fires of Hell.

(, Thu 1 Sep 2011, 13:50)
Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Quick, last minute entry
My Dad is a Baptist minister, but is blessed with a rather twisted sense of humour, that echoes throughout his methods.

One of his favourite tricks at his old church was to make up a book of the Bible that he'd be leading the reading from, and start reading, whilst watching the old dears desperately rifling through their dog-eared bibles, trying to find the correct chapter.

Another was to (very) loudly sing the wrong words (he took the idea from the ISIHAC game 'One Song To The Tune Of Another'.) He'd do it loudly enough to put people off in the first few rows, because no-one would dare question the Church leader.

Sadly, due to inside politics, he stopped preaching for a number of years. This is a shame, because he is a fantastic public speaker, and I've seen many people drawn into his sermons, due to the charisma he exudes. I was very glad to hear he'd started again. He's one of many people to make me realise that just because a person is religious, it doesn't make them a book-thumping fuckwit. The majority that I've met have been kind, friendly people, many of whom I'm still acquainted with to this day.

However, the major downside to having a minister for a Father, is the number of times you'll have 'Son Of A Preacher Man' sung at you.
(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 12:06, Reply)
Harvest festival story
Speaking of harvest festivals, in our school, once all the marrows etc had been havested and put on the altar, it would be the job of us, the school children, to distribute them to the elderly and the poor.
Unfortunately I'm from Godalming in Surrey, where there are plenty of elderly, but no poor. So when Richard and I turned up at the mansion door of the first place on our elderly people list, the elderly lady opened the door and shouted "side entrance please", and slammed the door shut.
So we went around the side and knocked on the door there, and waited for a few minutes. The elderly lady flung the door open and shouted "yes?!". We said "we're from the middle school, we've brought you a courgette and a tin of lentils".
"We don't buy at the door", she shouted, "please leave".

So I took the lentils back home again where they'd come from, to wait in the slide-out cupboard til next year.
(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 11:55, Reply)
The things we got up to in the seminary
Me and the lads, once we mitched off to see a Dana concert.
(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 11:47, Reply)
The Vicar of Dibley is based on my best mate's uncle's wife

(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 11:28, 4 replies)
Worship me
I appear in many holy places, despite being an atheist. A while ago I got a call from an artist friend, who was doing the illustrations for a prayer book. He needed a model to pose as Jesus, and since I have long hair and a beard, I got the gig. I remember having to adopt an expression of deep piousness, which turned out to be not dissimilar to constipation.

So all over the US Bible Belt, there are copies of a book featuring ME as Jesus. Presumably some folk even pray to it.

Always makes me chuckle, particularly when I'm working hard at breaking as many of their rules as I can manage simultaneously...
(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 9:36, 21 replies)
Welcome to the Shrine
I have a mate who is a fully paid-up pagan and druid. He's also one of the most gregarious people you could meet, and is happy to talk to anyone. In fact there's nothing that gives him greater pleasure than meeting new people. So, when a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses appeared at the door one morning, rather than slamming the door or muttering some feeble excuse as the rest of us do, he invited them in for a chat. They must have thought their luck had changed.

At that precise moment he was up to his elbows in a startlingly full nappy, so told them to wait for a moment while he sorted out the little tyke, and left them in the living room. A room which, in one corner, is a kind of shrine to Pan, with various goblets, candle-holders and pentagrams scattered around, and as a centrepiece, a large - 2m high - painting of Pan.

Now Pan, for those who don't know, is half man, half goat, with cloven hooves and horns. In this picture he was depicted rising from the flames of a fire, and surrounded by dancing creatures, and more pagan pentagrams. Quite similar, in fact, to the christian depiction of Satan, even though there is no actual connection between the two.

So it was probably not surprising that, when my mate returned to the room, the two polyester-suited ones were nowhere to be seen. Apparently there were scorch marks on the doormat, and a cloud of dust disappearing over the horizon.
(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 9:24, 1 reply)
Heretic godfather
Due to my dirty hippie upbringing I never had much to do with christianity. I mean it’s fine if you do, I just don’t give a damn. My wife calls herself a christian, but is not at all missionary (except at night time, hehehe, but I digress).

When my niece was born, I was asked by my brother if I would like to be godfather, and of course I would. That was fine, even if I am not a Christian myself, i am ready to give her a Christian upbringing in case of my brothers death, according to his wishes (which is what being a godfather is all about).

But then I made the mistake of being honest when asked by the priest If I was baptized, which I am not. Therefore godfather was a no go (which is ironic, because any bible-burning child stomping satanist could be godfather as long as he or she was baptized as a child. I was very bitter, I even wrote the Bishop, and shook my fist to the sky, but to no avail. I should probably feel lucky just to be allowed to stand next to the font at the ceremony, being a heretic and all.

But then my son was born. And my wife wanted him baptized (Sure honey, but I get to choose the colour of the kitchen cupboards!). And there was my non-baptised brother, who is probably a better Christian than many priests out there. So I asked him if he was prepared to be godfather, and to lie to the priest about him being a heretic and all. He was, so I kind of smuggled a non-christian into being a godfather to my son by have him lie to a priest.

And I still think Jesus would have done the same damn thing.
(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 7:29, Reply)
Unwitting satanic imagery...
I say unwitting, it struck me about two seconds into my beloved aunts cremation that either someone had a seriously dark sense of humour or they were too devout to see the funny side of anything. You decide.

My Auntie Rosie was a lifelong keen churchgoer, though fortunately not the kind to force it on others as that would probably have caused a schism in the family. When she was 82 she developed stomach cancer and succumbed fairly quickly, and I found myself at a modern crematorium near Kings Lynn iirc. The coffin was placed on a freestanding brick plinth at the front of the room. I was puzzled as to how they were going to do the curtains and conveyor thing wherein the curtains part and the coffin and contents slide away serenely to meet their fiery doom as there were no curtains, and no conveyor, rollers or anything similar. The coffin and it's plinth were an island.
I began to get a bad feeling that something funny was going to happen and hoped that I'd be able to contain myself.

Sure enough, that point in the service arrived and the vicar pushed the button...
and my lovely old godfearing auntie descended vertically, slowly, down into the fire...
(, Thu 8 Sep 2011, 0:44, 5 replies)
does ...
naked shenanigans with two of the local Baptist Minister's daughters [1] count?

[1] sadly not concurrently
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 21:28, 5 replies)
For family reasons I recently had to attend a religious ceremony conducted by members of a faith to which I do not subscribe.
Unfortunately I in no way acted like an attention seeking twelve year old with delusions of hilarity.
Where did I go wrong?
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 19:37, 7 replies)
Cod Almighty.
I went on a fishing holiday on the Cumbrian Coast. A combination of boating and camping. Never again, I swear. After a decent first day's fishing, we left it a bit late to set up camp anywhere, so to save time I started collecting all the camping gear together so that as soon as the boat pulled up to shore, I could start setting up the tent while my friends got on with cleaning and gutting the fish for our dinner. Would have been a great plan too, but as we neared the shore teh wind picked up and the boat started pitching all over the places. I went flying left, then right, then forward and all the metal rods for holding the tent up flew from my arms towards my mate who was holding the fish. God knows how, but I had gone forward with such force that I managed to spear every single fish straight through. Talk about Lurches, Tentpoles and Holey Plaices.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 16:04, 10 replies)

I shagged a girl in a chapel of rest.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 15:27, 9 replies)
I made the mistake of giving computer lessons to a vicar
and then asking him what his favourite font was.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 14:45, 3 replies)
I once stole a prayer book from Finsbury Park Mosque.
Luckily I've previous experience of one handed typing.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 13:57, Reply)
trust is a terrible thing.
Some years ago I worked in a community teaching the gospel and evangalising various schools and unis across this fair land. I lived in a new part of this community situated in a wing of a convent girls school. Now, I know what you're thinking but apart from a few cheeky glances I avoided the pupils. all was well until a lovely petite blonde started alongside me. We worked well together, on and off stage, and started getting serious, despite such things being forbidden. it was at this point that as we'd behaved ourselves in the eyes of sister bernard (older nuns still have male saints names) that the allowed us out of school hours use of the facilities. Now the basketball, tennis court, and pool were ours to use. yes, a pool. Blondie and I started 'swimming' almost every time we got and were interrupted a few times forcing us to actually swim. one night, during underwater coitus sister michael, a lovely ancient and thankfully very badly sighted old nun came in through the unlockable (and very rarley used) door to their quarters to ask if after swimming could I please come and see them as the fuse box or somesuch was playing up. She stayed and chatted for a few minutes, then left, oblivious to both the other locked doors and the fact we were both completley naked. we stopped swimming after that, and stayed in our rooms giggling about the missionary position. The school's shut now and I still can't see a nun without smiling.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 13:48, 7 replies)
I once shat myself in church.
I'm going to leave all the details to your imagination.

Also, the only church I'd consider going to these days is Oran Mor, and then only if I became the sort of yuppie who went to converted wine bars that charge you £6 for a watered down Staropramen and have laminate flooring.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 13:04, 4 replies)
Live Sex Breeds Church
The pub in south London that we used for band practice, unexpectedly decided to host a doors-closed strip show in their function room one night. Prior to the event the land lord asked us if we’d like to provide live music for the girls, to which we instantly agreed. Cue lots of wah-wah guitar and sleazy riff improv.

Closer to the date, the land lord informed us that it was probably best if we didn’t bring any instruments after all, as they “might get messed up”. We could still have some free tickets though.
We arrived on the fateful night, and were greeted by the girl’s (I assume) manager distributing jimmy hats around the venue. This seemed odd, if not a bit intimidating, but we stuck it out.

Anywho, by the end of the night we’d been treated to an anal garden sprinkler trick, mimsy/mobile phone ensconcing, lady on lady clam diving, and the sight of my scrawny stripped physique being man-and-arse handled by two blonde eastern European girls during the ‘audience participation finale’.

*Church bit*

The pub has now closed down, and the building is now used a local church congregation hub. Thinking of the sins committed within the four walls, and the lurid cocktail of natural and synthetic liquids that soaked into the floorboards, it’s a tremendous bit of irony that the patronage now consists of god-bothering hand-clappers who couldn’t envisage the sordid history of their little community centre.

I bet they let their kids play on the floor, too.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 12:37, Reply)
I once had a shit in a Church
Turns out she's quite partial to a bit of space-docking, the dirty little Welsh songstress.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 12:29, 3 replies)
Out of the mouths of babes
My ex used to be an odd one. Rabid drunk coke whore one minute, wanabe Mother Theressa the next.
During one of her pious phases she befriended a Christian family who persuaded her to take the little one to their rather happy-clappy church.
Off they went, mother feeling a little worse for wear after a relapse into the land of sin the night before, and sat at the back.
Everyone in the congregation, apart from the ex and daughter, are getting into the God bothering, singing hymns at the top of their voices, eagerly hallelujahing and all the rest.
Little one turns to mother, taps her on her lap and asks in the loudest socco voce since Brian Blessed trapped his nut sack in a zipper "Mummy, don't they know Jesus isn't real? He's just a made up story for kids"
The congregation seem to turn as one and glare at the blasphemers at the back before returning to their worship.
After the service, the ex was approached by various people suggesting that she should send the little one to Sunday school and should probably come along herself more often.
Needless to say she ran away from there and never returned. I'm surprised she didn't burn up when she first entered consecrated ground.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 10:19, Reply)
Not strictly a church
My father finds it almost impossible to say no to a priest when he's asked for something, which has ended up in several awkward situations for him (my absolute favourite being where he was made to drag a cross through town on Good Friday.) So when a nun told him that we were the lucky family who had been selected to take some special statue of Mary to pray around her for a week, my mother gave him a look that said 'don't you dare agree,' and my father ended up saying yes.

We were hardly the most devout family ever, however like good Catholics my mother thought we should at least give it a try, and we gathered round and said a rosary (a set of prayers.) After that for the rest of the week it lapsed, and the statue had its own corner in the dining room safely away from where most of the action in the house went on.

Except of course it doesn't. A game spills into the room, and I go crashing backwards into the Virgin Mary who topples over and snaps her head off. Did I tell my parents who would undoubtedly be angry? Of course not. I rearranged her and balanced her head on top of her broken neck (I had serious form for breaking vases and busts.) The next night was the final one, and seized by a sudden fit of piety my mother insists on a few more prayers, with the inevitable result that my father sneezed viciously and the head came off again to the general shock of all. With the aid of a little bit of super-glue however the head was reattached with only a hairline crack running round the neck.

A week or two later however, there was a tight little note in the parish newsletter to the effect that the statue had been sent away for repair and 'for the time being' would not be circulating, and the nun never really spoke to us again.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 8:44, 5 replies)
Demon child?
Like Que?, I'm not religious, and neither was the mother of my child at the beginning. This all changed when she joined the Army. The military, it seems encourages a belief in an afterlife, so you're not so worried about getting shot at.

So, it's off to the church we go for a good-ol' dunking.

Now, my boy is a bit aspie, not full-on autistic, just... left of centre. But, when he was little, it was much more pronounced. Aspie kids have serious issues with very specific things. My boy's issue was anything on his face. And music, couldn't stand it...

So, when it came time for his baptism, he bravely toddled up to the priest, who then dunked water on the boy's head. Some trickled into his face, while the little old lady kicked in a hymn.

The water on teh face and music were too much for the little bugger, who started screaming, dropped to the floor and tried to wipe it off on the carpet, all the while screaming 'It hurts, get it off!'...

Child's mum, evidently worried sick, goes to pick him up but at that *exact* moment has last night's curry make a reappearance at both ends.

The funny thing was- it wasn't any of the upright churchy ladies, or gents in thier Sunday finest that did anything to help, it was my dreadlocked, goth'd up pagan mate who'd come for a laugh at me being forced to endure this that got up and helped carry my boy's mum off the stage.

Still. Something to poke fun at him about when he's older..
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 7:42, 8 replies)
The Shrine
I once lived in a very French Catholic area of very rural New Brunssick. My job required that I get around the environs and one could often see the faithful with various religious effects to either remind them of their faith or show it to everyone else.

There were quite a few grottos, with the Mere de Dieu hanging out. One was actually a half-buried bathtub that created a sort of bandshell effect around the Virgin.

Many people would have shrines in their homes with candles, paintings and often statues or busts of Mary or Jesus. I will always remember going into one house with a sweet elderly woman who had a whole corner of her living room as a shrine, complete with candles, red foil paper as backdrop and a large shelf with three large busts of the personnages who would surely carry her back home to the Creator: Jesus, Mary and Elvis!
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 4:33, Reply)
Baptism ...
Dear oh dear oh dear. I have a habit of sticking my foot in it with the in-laws. They're devout Catholics, and I through no fault, or effort on my part, am a Protestant. I don't personally believe in God, but when the sprogs turned up, I found myself unwilling to bet their eternal souls on it. And on this basic human fear Christianity continues to increase its headcount.

So off we toddled to Mass one bright sunny Easter Sunday. The Godfather, a fellow Heathen, and I were the only ring-ins and found ourselves bumbling along in a play where we had not seen the script. We were doing fine until the priest asked our Godfather to light the baptismal candle from the Paschal candle.

Godfather holds our wee baptismal candle up to the super dooper five foot special Easter High Mass jobby, which promptly goes out. Oblivious to the gasp of horror from the congregation, Godfather compounds his sacriligious faux-pas by turning around and picking up the Altar Candle! He then relights the Paschal candle and our baptismal candle.

When we were laughing about it later, I told him he should have lit up a joint too, just to guarantee his ringside seat in Hell.
(, Wed 7 Sep 2011, 2:14, 3 replies)
Tom Hollander's character is based on my mate's dad, the vicar of Shoreditch. They use the same buildings and very often employ stories from the parish's colourful history.

One time I skated over there with some friends to hear the steel band playing in the gardens; it was a fund-raiser for a local caribbean community's storm-hit home island. Inside, there were 14 cots made up for local street and homeless people, including some pretty hardcore junkies, who were looked after and, when suitable, put in the adjoining halfway house. At night, the church was kept open and the homeless typically fed and sheltered.

The Church hierarchy can't bear this, and desperately want to kick him out for someone a bit less useful, stop his work with the homeless and addicts and sell the vicarage and halfway house to the Hoxton square developers.

Personally, I detest the Church and all it stands for, and frankly the same goes for the Jews & Muslims (no prejudice here), but if ever there was a man working in the name of Christ, it's Rev. Turp and he deserves to be known for it.

Oh, and I'll most likely be going to hell by default by flying Ryanair.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 19:48, 26 replies)
I kept flipping a Nun the bird once when I was younger,
I didn't realise she was a nun, it was a dodgy habit.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 18:25, 3 replies)
Crucified teddy bear.
On a youth weekend many years ago we had been making the church ready for the Sunday service removing the evidence of the game of poker that had taken place on the communion table etc. We had put someone's teddy bear on the cross with the help of elastic bands. (No nails were available) I wanted to leave it there but it was taken down on the grounds that Jesus has risen.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 18:21, 4 replies)
How I left the Church
I was never a religious child, but in my early teens I felt a little lost and went searching for something. I found the Church up the road inviting and the preacher, April, was fantastic. She was a white preacher in a very black Church, a little Happy-Clappy but in a good way. I found my place in the community, went on some weekend outings with the young people in surrounding churches and have a bloody good time mackin' lips with the daughters of conservative Christian dads while they were inside praying.

Anyway, as one of the youngest adults I was invited to help with the microphones in the Church and other techie bits that no one else could do. I did that for a couple of years, still mackin' chicks and having the occasional joint with the organist. Life was pretty sweet.

Eventually, the calling came for April to move, soon to replaced by a thoroughly incompetent vicar called CBain (name changed - obviously). She saw the congregation as beneath her and always talked down to people, I remember that she used horribly weak connections of pop culture to explain the message of God, such as David Beckham's sending off in the World Cup as an allegory for Jesus and the crucifixion. Awful preacher.

So I decided I could do better.

I said my intent, there had been guest speakers before, but never one from our own congregation, especially not someone who hadn't been ordained and was still a child in the eyes of the law.

My intention was to do a little bit on Samson, we hadn't heard much about him recently, CBain kept to the New Testament and we were starting to hear repeats. Jesus did this; Jesus did that, who cares? Let's throw some Old Testament God into the mix.

But CBain kept cockblocking my sermon with fake bureaucracy, 'you need to have the sermon vetted by myself and local Christian Council', 'I need the sermon written out in full with timings', 'there isn't enough time in the two hour service for a 5 minute sermon'. I can't remember exactly what she said to throw in front of me because it was always so trivial, whatever I did for her, she demanded something else.

One Saturday night I decided I'd had enough. I threw out my Samson sermon and opened my Bible. It fell open on Matthew Chapter 23. Where Jesus opens a can of verbal whoopass on the Pharisees, the political and religious leaders of the time. This was the only time I genuinely felt that I had been given a sign.

So the next day, I reminded CBain that I wanted to speak, she nodded and whirled away to the Vestry. During the service, I waited patiently for my time to come. Of course it didn't, she had again ignored me and failed to put me into the order of service. Instead, I waited until the very end when it was asked of the congregation if there were any other notices.

I put my hand up. She tried to ignore me. So I switched off her microphone, turned on mine, stood up and read verses 1-12.

Here is a snippet for you now. "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."

It goes on and I read it in full. I then declared CBain to be the Pharisee in the Church, how she will not listen to the people and keep pursuing her own agenda. I kept it short, otherwise I'd have started swearing and spitting with rage. I received a splattering of an applause, which in a Church when you are defaming the Vicar is a pretty good reception.

Job done, flicked the microphones back, turned around and stormed out the Church.

The last thing I heard was "And if anyone wants to discuss the points raised with MrTeapot, I'm sure he'll be around after the service."

No I wasn't. I never went back. I dabbled in other Churches, other religions and I'm now an Atheist of some kind.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 17:21, 17 replies)

My family used to attend a local church and I used to go to the Sunday School and then the youth group. We knew the minister quite well and held many family events in the church hall. At youth group one night I went exploring in a back room and found a box of very dusty and forgotten wine. I was 14 at the time and in my eyes I'd hit the jackpot! I plotted with my two best friends the following day at school and during the next family event I was to sneak a bottle out and go get tipsy on the park. The next family event is only a few weeks off and we put our plan into action. I sneak the bottle out under my hoodie and meet my friends round the back of the hall where we proceed to wipe the years of dust off the bottle. We all lick our lips in anticipation of our ill gotten gains only to find it was non-alcoholic wine! I'm probably going to burn in hell for stealing from a church and all for a bottle of glorified fruit juice!
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 17:02, 1 reply)
Great, it must have been a sign.
I am not religious, but I love religions... for the history and stories, but mainly for the architecture. I love visiting cathedrals and the like. Marvelling at how these huge structures were created all those years ago.

Rewind wavy lines 10 years ago ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The very last time I went into a church I realised I was in there at the wrong time. It was a catholic 'church???' and I happened to go in whilst the god botherers were giving out wine and biscuits. I sat down at the back, taking in all the architecture, not having a clue what was really going on.

It came to the point where everyone got up and started to walk to the front, I thought it rude for me to take 'communion??!?!' as I am not Catholic, but some old chap near me ushered me to the front, where I fumbled and copied what everyone else was doing. I felt like a tit. It soon ended so I was able to escape. I lived 3 minutes away on my bike (pedal) which was chained to the railings outside. I may have had a few pints that lunch (6) in the students union, and perhaps a few shots too... I was looking forward to getting back to my digs, to smoke drink more and play on my dial up internet connection.

I unchain my bike, hop on... it's a major road so all my cycling was conducted on the pavement. 100 yards down the road is a narrow road that forms a really awkward 5 junction intersection. There are traffic lights, blind spots, and heavy heavy traffic as this was early evening commuter time.

So I decide to do what I had done never before (I am really usually cautious normally) (I ride at a walking pace) (rode) but for some reason this evening I was trundling along, I glanced to my left, saw nothing, proceeded to cross this narrow road. BANG... I was full sideon hit by a ford mondeo. I was knocked out cold. Luckilly this was outside my local pub and everyone rushed out to cover me in coats and make sure I wasn't dead. Minutes later I had the whole of the Hagley road shut. Paramedic motorbikes, two ambulances, and a plethora of police vehicles surrounding me. If you've ever woken up in the middle of the street, hurty with a man in a helmet staring at you then you will realise you may be in a bad situation*.

So my story to keep this on track kids, is never take communion when you're not religious, you will get run over. This is also why I will never ride again, and haven't been into a church since next time I will be hit by a meteorite.

*I was ok, just bruised and battered, however I had to take out all my piercings for the full body xrays and couldn't bend to put them back in, I also had a cough at the time which when you have bruised ribs is not a pleasant experience. My heap of shite solid metal 4 million year old mountain bike took most of the brunt of the force, it was really mangled. The guy admitted going through a light right as it was changing, I was asked if I wanted to take it further but couldn't be arsed. He had to get a new bumper and bonnet.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 16:56, 6 replies)

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