Tuesday, 4 October 2005

Mystery Worshipper ... Who, ME???

Have you ever been a Mystery Worshipper? I must confess, I have been, and probably still am to a certain degree. And it makes me wonder if, just possibly, God in all His mysterious ways could be one, too.

I came, or rather stumbled, across this concept by somehow finding
Ship of Fools: The Magazine of Christian Unrest. At first glance, I embarrassed myself (it can happen), because I thought I was accessing something that might be just a tad bit blasphemous. But then, I cooled my American heels when I realised this webzine is loaded with British humour. We Christians can and need to take a good jab at ourselves and lighten up! I admit this site has given me some great belly laughs.

One might describe Ship of Fools as a sort of ‘consumer’s group’ for Christians or Seekers. And this is where the Mystery Worshipper takes a grand bow. As the state of Christianity keeps getting reported as being in serious decline in this country, bold Christian believers in the UK have taken on the task of searching out different churches of the Christian faith to see what’s on offer for those seeking a fellowship or a place to grow spiritually. Their recommends are pretty great for newcomers to this Island who feel somewhat perplexed with where to start looking for a Biblical and wonderful church to worship. And extremely helpful for American Christians who come here and cannot understand why their brand of American denominationalism (or the non- variety¸ if we must get picky) just can’t be found.

For variety, here are a few of my favourite Mystery Worshipper picks:
  1. All Saints, Blackheath
  2. Southwark Cathedral, London
  3. The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Tooting (in case you get lost, this one meets above Snappy Snaps, The Photo Specialists)
  4. Equippers, London School of Economics
  5. The Drive Methodist Church, Ilford, London

A couple of the Mystery Worshippers even received comments back from some of the members of the churches they visited. All very insightful and thought-provoking stuff.

Another funny feature of Ship of Fools is the section ‘Gadgets for God’. Oh, that Wesley-Owen Bible stores might become so inspired!

As you choose to read a few samplings, I’ll leave you with the most popular joke voted on by Christians as part of Ship of Fools The Laugh Judgement, their recent ‘search for the funniest and most offensive religious jokes of all eternity’. 65% of Christian respondents submitted the following joke, written by comedian Emo Philips :

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: "Stop. Don't do it."

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

"Well, there's so much to live for!"

"Like what?"

"Are you religious?"

He said: "Yes."

I said: "Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?"


"Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?"


"Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"


"Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

"Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"

He said: "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."

I said: "Die, heretic scum," and pushed him off.

So lighten up ... I would love to hear about some of the places you have discovered God in as a Mystery Worshipper!

And may you be a blessing to the next church you might happen to visit …

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