Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Laurie Taylor

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Laurie Taylor

Article excerpt

By a vote of five to two, we agreed to exclude the Christian from our fortnightly dining club

Sarah has let us all down. Only a week after we had agreed that she would be a valuable member of our fortnightly dining club, she turned up at our planning meeting in The George and casually announced that she had decided to become a Christian.

Geoff could hardly contain his exasperation. "But only a couple of years ago, you were running around telling everyone that you were a bleeding Buddhist." Sarah was ready for him. "I was not a 'bleeding Buddhist'. I simply told you that I was searching for some meaning in life and had been considering Buddhism. All that's happened is that I have continued my search and found what I was looking for in Christianity."

You could feel the tension around the table. How could any of us look forward to debating contemporary political issues at our fortnightly dinners when we knew that there was someone present whose idea of redistribution was coloured by the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and whose sense of the future was not so much bounded by the next election as the prospect of eternal life?

As is usual at such moments, Mike tried to be conciliatory. "What exactly do you mean when you say that you're a Christian? You're surely not one of those Christians who believe in angels and Jesus being the Son of God. You mean you're a metaphorical Christian. You believe that Christ had a lot of valuable things to say, but that his basic teaching has been contaminated by a lot of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo."

Sarah refused the lifebelt. "No, I'm not a metaphorical Christian. Any more than you were once a metaphorical Trotskyist, or any more than Geoff is currently a metaphorical supporter of Sheffield United. In fact, I rather relish what you call metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. At least Christianity has a certain internal logic, which is rather more than can be said for the feeble attempts that most of you have been making over the past five years to find some residual elements of socialism in new Labour. …

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