This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The religion that threatens Christianity

Am I going to attack Islam again? Am I going to have another kick at secular humanism (atheism)? No, there is a worse threat to church-goers. Every Sunday morning one of our great cities is blocked by some "half-marathon" running event (today it was Oxford): the streets are closed, and Christian worshippers cannot get to church. The event could just as easily - and less disruptively - take place on Sunday afternoon, but no, it has to take place at the worst possible time for Christians.

fancy dress Marathon

Bad vestments worthy of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori!

I admit that in my childhood my religious education, although mostly Christian, did include heretical elements such as cross-country and road-running. Every Tuesday we did a 4-mile run, and woe betide you if you did not complete the course in 30 minutes. Being supremely fit I clocked in at 26 minutes, every time. However, being sent on runs could also be used as a punishment, which is why so many "baptised" runners later lapse and follow other forms of worship.

London Marathon

World "Yoof" Day. A huge congregation turns out for a London Marathon Service.

These days I do occasionally run for a bus, but of course this is actually a breach of the 1st Commandment, and needs to be confessed and forgiven. Pope Francis has suggested that we "walk with" people who have dabbled with running. It is true that if a person with running tendencies is truly seeking God, then who are we to judge?

Running is an ancient heresy. The Church of Half-Marathon was founded by the (false) prophet Pheidippides in 490 BC (which is somewhere between Zechariah and Esther in Old Testament terms), and there are references to this religion throughout history.

Peter and John run to the tomb

Peter and John running to the empty tomb. But they were forgiven.

Some runners have become radicalized. Whereas "moderate" runners will dash past you on the pavement with an apologetic "Excuse me", the militant ones shout "Get out of the way!" and are prepared to knock over those who do not follow their faith.

Nowadays, running is the major religion in the Western World. The Islamic countries are less troubled by it - it's too hot - and it is good to see that older people run far less than the youngsters, putting away such childish things as they prepare for the after-life.

As all religions spawn heretical sects, a modernist religion has arisen that also causes great inconvenience to Christian worship - cycling. There are Le Tour de France, Le Tour De Yorkshire, La Tour de Babel, ... all events designed to take over the streets for several days and make it impossible for people of other religions to worship.

cycle lane

Cyclists have special places where they can carry out their disgusting rituals.

Still, all is not gloomy. Pope Francis is expecting to meet the Chief Cyclist soon, and to pray with him as an ecumenical gesture. In these days, we have to live with our neighbour, even if we are shocked by his beliefs.


  1. If it's a religion now, then running has effectively gone the way of Rastafari. Because I'd always thought it was just something to get high off. (Is it bad that these are Mormons who taught me that? Usually this is an entertaining bunch.)

  2. Real Catholics don't run. They swim. The fish being a symbol in the early Church for a follower of Christ.I learnt that from Cecil B De Mille movies starring Charlton Heston as God.

    1. I am so relieved by your grounding message. Yayyyy for Charlton! Or Cecil. Or the winner.

  3. If running's a religion, it's a false one. As a method of losing weight, it's inefficient; reduced risk indicators for the major diseases are ridiculously exaggerated. A "fit" heart is not a healthy (ie disease-free) heart.

    Scientists know this. However: sick people make money for everybody. Sell people cheap junk starch and make them diabetic, sick, and fat. Then, the sick people = money for doctors. Sick people = get them to take up running and buy sports gear, take on personal trainers, and pay for the latest celebrity diets.

    Sick people? It's a no brainer.

    1. Can I "reply" to myself?
      There is an article on p.18 of the Daily Telegraph today, written by an expert, that makes the selfsame point as mine above. Running is a waste of time, diet is king.

      Personally I think the craze for causing yourself pain and discomfort (by jogging etc) is a substitute for the arduous moral discipline of the Christian religion. But then, what do I know? I'm just a reactionary right-wing imperialist running-dog.

  4. Happens in London almost every week. They do it deliberately, I know it.

  5. Spongebob Squarepants is the New God ? Where are Patrick and Squidward ?

  6. We have this same 'fun' on the West Coast (surprise!) of the US of A. Very frequently we are routed around some freeway or another. It gives me something special to pray about when I am, yet again, late for Mass.