"If God comes in overalls, there'll be some sulking faces in Church." - Compo Simmonite, Last of the Summer WineThat's always been my stereotype of English religion. God on the side of the middle classes. Everybody in their suits (or hipster jeans these days), putting on the Ritz for the King of Kings while the poor stay in bed of a Sunday morning.
What on earth happened? The religion of prostitutes, slaves and fisherfolk ending up where, if anyone reads the Gospel in anything less than Received Pronunciation, they might as well have read selected works from Aleister Crowley. It's like the difference between Luther's Reformation and the English one was that Henry VIII slipped in a couple of lines about keeping the chavs out.
He didn't, of course. He, and his successors, wanted all the chavs in their places, every Sunday morning. So they could understand their place in God's great plan - ie propping it all up, without breaking any of the commandments. Then when they died, to prove that God loves the poor, they could be buried in some unmarked paupers' graves while the Lord of the Manor, when his extorting days were over, had the ignominy of a table-tomb, family crypt and/or nice inscription on a stone in the wall, according to choice.
So it's no wonder if, once they didn't have to, the Sons and Daughters thought "stuff this for a game of soldiers" on a Sunday morning, and chose instead to stay in bed nursing hangovers. The whole "blessed are the poor" agenda had been co-opted by the ones who, persuading themselves they were very 'umble, reckoned their social ease and self-confidence would get them through any awkward moments at the interview at the Pearly Gates. And now we're where we are. Where Marx's opiate of the masses has become the post-dinner-party joint of the well heeled holy. Who, goodness knows, will give to the poor. Wish them well, run a food bank. But they're still the moderately well-off.
When God came, he did arrive in overalls. He didn't line up with the bosses. He didn't tell us to gave the royal coat of arms over the church door, and say that the Great Commandment is not to drop your aitches. And he did give us the view of God that a van driver is worth as much as a stock broker.
Glad I cleared that up. Anyway. Off to sort out my tax affairs in case the Trots get in. Didn't Our Lord himself say, blessed are those that allow their wealth to trickle down?