My last brush with religion before I gave it up for Lent

I’ve never been particularly religious, something never quite clicked with me. Each to their own and all that, but personally I’ve never felt it. Before I was allowed to be sure of this, I had one last test when I was 17.

A good friend of mine from back then, Andrew, had been to Greenbelt a week before (the Christian Glastonbury Festival, imagine), and had come back raving about a band he had seen there, as they were “Funk-Metal, very much like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers”. He told us excitedly they were playing in St.Albans that very week, and begged us all to come. “Don’t worry, they’re not very religious really”.

My first clue should have been that the venue was a Catholic church hall. This should have been a hint that they weren’t to reach the raccous heights that Flea and his fellow bandmates normally managed. That I let pass me by though. They were, well, alright. They had guitars, and amps. Funk-Metal was something of an exaggeration. Then after 20 minutes, they stopped playing. And started talking. About how drugs and women had been their downfall. For a long time. We all sat down on the floor, listening to their tales of woe. And then they explained how luckily, Jesus had sorted it all out for them. I was starting to feel I had been somewhat missold on the purpose of the gig. Andrew, whilst Christian, certainly wasn’t the sort to try and convert us on the sly, I don’t think he expected it either. However I decided that I would listen, give it all a try. Maybe they did have a point after all.

Then they asked us if we could see Jesus. Sitting cross-legged, we all closed our eyes, and looked for him. If we could see him, we were to go to the front with the band, if we couldn’t, we stayed sat down. I looked. And looked. And looked some more. Nothing there. All of this did start to strike me as classic tricks of persuasion. Finally, after about an hour of this, all the heathens were encourage to leave. Now, I’ve never been the fittest and lightest of people, so an hour sitting cross-legged had sent my legs completely to sleep. Unaware of this, I tried to stand up, and shot across the hall at a 45 degrees angle and smacked into a wall. A helpful Christian picked me up, and reassured me “Don’t worry, sometimes it’s quite powerful when you see him”. That was me done with religion.