Monday, 4 March 2013

Hobby? Yes, I'm a Christian!

Intriguing conversation regarding what people do in their spare time, especially with regard to what we usually refer to as a 'hobby' (which I am defining as something done, for pleasure and enjoyment, on a regular basis outside one's usual work life); for it appears that alongside stamp collecting, railway modelling and toenail painting we also have that really, once most, popular hobby, that of  'Being Christian!'

All you need to do to thick this box is turn up every now and then (Easter and Christmas being the most favoured) and plonk your pound coin on the plate (see, admission hasn't gone up since the late sixties). The bestest bit of this 'Christian' bit is that it doesn't require any equipment and you don't need to keep rushing out buying stuff to keep it going either.


Great, then let's do some comparisons and see if we can convince you to join a church near you - here are two of my (many) interests laid bare for you:

Fishing: To do it properly you have to buy rods, reels, lines, floats, flies (and if you're one of those coarse types - bait too!). Those who like the smell of salt can do it from piers or boats (or on beaches too) and get stuck in to a spot if sea fishing. The key to doing the fishing bit is that it takes you off for long periods, frequently and costs a bit : licence, day tickets, club memberships, bait (or flies and lures) and see you standing, sitting (or even sleeping) in sun, wind, rain and snow.

You need to be really committed to be able to say you're a fisherman. You need to put the hours in mastering the cast, the tactics, which sort of water and how to fish it and much more besides - fishing takes long periods of talking about the hobby in tackle shops, lodges and pubs. There are specialists for the type of fish - yes indeedy being a Carp fisherman is not a typo that denigrates one's abilities but more of a lifestyle!

Gliding: More of my passions and both powered unpowered flight are heavy on both wallet (especially if you fancy owning your own bird) and draining with regard to time. Gliding - once you've paid your subs you have to pay for each and every launch on the road to solo flight and then pay for the launch and the time you're aloft. The longer you're up the more you pay -which might explain why attempting to thermal in sink results in a cheaper hobby!

When you're not driving to and from the field and flying there's other stuff that demands your attention. It might be studying all the stuff you need to stay legal, understand the weather and navigate between launch and destination points. The arrival at the clubhouse in the early hours to make the dreaded 'eight O'clock draw' (when you each take a number and the lowest goes first and the highest flies last - usually meaning not at all!) on Saturday and Sunday (if you can get away with it!).

Then there's the hours in the bar when the weather stops flying and the club nights and the time taken just to arrive, even though not flying, to talk about flying, dream about flying and learn from the experiences of others who might have been flying longer (or are just better at it) than you. This occurs whether you have an engine or not - the bar is the chapel where aviation is worshipped and taught, where sins are addressed and rectified and dreams are made (and dashed) and flyers are discipled and grown. Yes - the clubhouse and the bar especially is more like Church than church for those who fly!

Even more strange is the fact that pilots (and fishermen too perhaps) are always pilots and fishermen and this is something that exists as a reality for them on a 7 * 24 * 365 basis. Meet a pilot at a party and they will almost always, in a short period of time, tell you that they are flyers. They will work long hours to get more money to support their chosen lifestyle (for hobbies are ephemeral whilst flying is always and for ever). They will talk about aircraft and flying and make you aware of everything about being a pilot and the benefits, challenges, demands and blessings that embracing the faith - whoops, I mean flying - brings!

Christianity: How great is this for a hobby? You turn up when you want and there's no need to go if you don't feel like it. After all if you're not making the tea or doing a reading or something else, you can go shopping for the day secure in the fact that you won't be missed.

'What do you need to do this Christianity thing, ', I hear you cry and that's the really cool bit, for the answer is, 'Nothing! Not even a Bible if you don't want one - after all they're either provided on projected onto the scree should you fancy reading it during the service.' There's no pressure on you to turn up to learn stuff - no ground school or classes (well not unless you're one of those 'keen' types anyway!) and if the weather's bad, then no one will miss you.

Better still - church fits in when you want it to and if you don't fancy it - then you don't do it. There's no standing outside in all weathers like those fishermen and no turning up early and, having drawn a high number, finding yourself pulling gliders about and doing jobs around the airfield to get others into the air.

Yes indeed - Christianity is, for most of us, something that we can do in under two hours on a Sunday and yet we can still wear the badge. Of course we don't tell people that we are Christians (after all we're not pilots for God's sake are we?) when we meet them at parties and gatherings, that would be weird (wouldn't it?) and we don't talk about services we've been to, book we've read and films we've seen - because (again), we're not pilots.

Being Christian is that little 'personal' thing we do when we feel the need; and of course when it fits in to our lifestyle choices (like flying) and work-life.

Do I have any hobbies?
Of course I do - I'm a pilot!


Anonymous said...

you mean I can stop doing it full-time and only do it for a couple of hours a week??? why did no-one ever tell me that before? :)

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Full-time? What are you, a fanatic or something?

I bet you read your Bible and pray and expect God to answer in many different ways too!

Yeah, me too :-)

DrJ said...

Hmm, ever read "The Gospel According to Peanuts"?

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Short's book? Have it (and parables according to) on my shelf.