I was brought up in the Church of England, which translates as me decked out in choir costume for morning and evening services and attending Sunday school. Although to use a soccer analogy, I wasn’t really playing for my side, if you like, I just stood there like an agnostic left back as God’s ball zipped around me but never went into my net. In my stiff and starched vestments, I was thinking, “If Gnosticism really was a seductive heresy that the evolving early Christian church worked hard to suppress, why the sacrificial lamb?”
Here’s a little side note about Gnosticism by Jeanette Winterson that sums it up nicely: “Pre-Christian in origin, Gnosticism is a doctrine of dualism that allows for an untainted spirit and a corrupted body. Salvation is through knowledge, (gnosis) of this composite self. We read the world in binaries: black/white, good/evil, love/hate.”
Now, getting back to Anglicans having more fun. Well, it all started with Henry VIII, didn’t it, who, due to religious constraints, had a hard time keeping his codpiece on and so in order to spread his monarchial commonwealth, he had to boot the papal in the pants.
And so as a young boy who was slowly losing his religion one choir practice at a time, I definitely saw old Henry Tudor as a my hero, allowing me to fondle, to grope, to taste tongue and lips while “Oh come all yea faithful” played like a ditty in my head and the idea of sin had already departed on the Intercity 125 to the London, the hotbed of lasciviousness.
Thomas Mann: “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”