Cnr of Park Rd and MacMahon St, Hurstville Sundays at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm

Gotham City Presbyterian

Sharing my suburb with myriad bats makes me sometimes feel that I’m living in Gotham City. It would be impossible to count them, but the colony must number in the high thousands. Each night on dusk, these black-winged creatures fly over my neighbourhood on their way to wherever it is that they will roost for the night. What always surprises me is their meandering and random twirling, and yet their sure and steady movement toward their ultimate destination.

It made me wonder about churches and congregational life. Some churches look like a flock of birds in formation. All aligned and all focused and all moving in the same direction. No individual random twirling. No personal meandering. Just eyes ahead, and beak on the goal, and displaying great unity and uniformity, and solidarity and sameness, and forging ahead in V formation. It’s very impressive, but I wondered if it always needed to be so.

Can there be a place for a bat church? Where the destination is known, and the direction is pursued, and the mission gets done, but not in V formation, but more like in the formation of that shorthand symbol for the word ‘and’, namely ‘&’. The bats seem to share community and to roost together at the end of the day and to not butt heads along the way. Gotham City Presbyterian is probably an unlikely name, but it made me think that there is probably more than one way for the colony of faith to be organised.

DM 8th January 2022


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