Cnr of Park Rd and MacMahon St, Hurstville Sundays at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm
I thought I’d better read it, since not far from our church stands a statue of Miles Franklin, author of My Brilliant Career. It’s romantic fiction, thankfully sans-vampires, and possibility autobiographical. Certainly Miles Franklin, who typed some of her novels in a Hurstville hotel, was known for her “feminist preaches”, and the book is famous for its contribution to sister empowerment.
One side-swipe at the church caught my attention, and stung my face like a stockwhip, (let the reader understand). Reflecting on a visit to a Sunday church service, her lead character Sybylla says: “… the play is done, and as I leave the building a great hunger for a little Christianity fills my heart. Oh that a preacher might arise and expound from the Book of books a religion with a God, a religion with heart in it – a Christian religion, which would abolish the cold legend whose centre is respectability, and which rears great buildings in which the rich recline on silken hassocks while the poor perish in the shadow thereof.”
The thought that the Sunday church service is merely a play, with actors and audience, is a painful charge, as is the thought that the privileges of the squattocracy and the deprivations of the peasantry are carried into the pews. Church pews are typically uncomfortable, but their most painful feature may be their levelling design. May God keep us from silken pillows, soul-destroying shadows and play-acting, and may He be pleased to keep the pews even.
DM 14th January 2013