I guess one of the many reasons my career as a Priest in the Church of England was curtailed was my lack of faith.
Take prayer for instance. I came to realise the destructive power of prayer quite early on.
It didn’t take long for me to reason how unfair it all was. The jubilation and joy in the faces of those who found their requests granted and the sadness and despair in those who got nowhere. It was a bit like winning the lottery. Chance. Luck.
Like a beggar on the streets who adopts a similar pose (kneeling, hands clasped) watching his or her hat fill (or not) with coins of the realm.
The trouble was in a lot of cases the despair was doubled because the failure of the prayer would often be put down to that terrible guilt-inducer ‘Lack of Faith’. And not just by the owner of the failed prayers but by those who felt themselves in favour with God. Of course, all dangerous nonsense.
And I was expected to sit there smiling and offering up ridiculous platitudes that made me want to gag. Crap such as, ‘Well now is obviously not the right time’ or ‘God has obviously decided that that is not the pathway He wants you to follow’ or perhaps worst of all, ‘God obviously has other plans for you’.
This Priest had no real answer but spewed out the nonsense anyway. AND sat there watching the courage of the unanswered as they swallowed their disappointment wondering what they had done to deserve this treatment (something in a past life perhaps?) and…AND amazingly carrying on not only with their lives but with their faith as well.