Monday, 30 December 2013

This is a local church....

I have recently managed to watch through the 3 series of "The League of Gentlemen", a black comedy series from the late 1990s, early 2000s. I know, I am a decade late, but they are still superb, and there are some striking thoughts that come from them. I have no idea if the ideas were in the writers heads or not, but they are worth pursuing, I think.

Firstly, the Local Shop strikes me as very like so many churches. Before you rule this out completely, let me draw a few comparisons:

1. It is a local shop, but actually stuck way out of the town.

2. It is for local people, and when strangers turn up, they are subjected to strange rituals, and finally disposed of, unless they chose to become local.

3. Despite being a shop, they are delighted when they have not sold a thing.

4. There are the precious things that people must not touch.

5. Tubbs is all very friendly at first, until someone upsets their local ways.

Of course, these are all taken to ridiculous levels for the sake of comedy, but that is the point - the image we see is what some people experience when they visit your church. And what other people expect will be the case. And in the end, visitors are just sport for Edward and Tubbs.

And then there are the Dentons - obsessively concerned with order, wanting Benjamin to feel at home, while making this impossible, because of their obsessions with things being done "properly". It is interesting that they argue, at one point, that all they are trying to do is make things straightforward and ordered, neat and tidy. If only others would just accept their system and structure, all would be OK.

Not forgetting, of course, Rev. Bernice, the vicar, whose role is generally to rant at and abuse her congregation. It is clear that her own faith is somewhat shattered, which drives her to this.

I could go on - I think there are many of the characters that are reflected in Christian society. What strikes me mostly, though, its that while it is funny watching this in a TV series, being subjected to it is not so much fun. Royston Vasey is not a place anyone would want to live.

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