Can Christians play quidditch?

A couple of days into last week’s Christian camping extravaganza, a thought hit me: ‘this is just like the Quidditch World Cup’. Before someone accuses me of either blasphemy or flippancy, I should probably explain myself…

[If you have no knowledge of the Quidditch World Cup then shame on you. I won’t be explaining, you can look it up yourself.]

Firstly, I arrived at the venue without seeing how I got there – much in the fashion of apparition, floo powder or a portkey. (Ok, I was in the back of a transit van, in total darkness, but still…)

Then there was the camping set up. Presumably it wasn’t just me that read the description of wizarding camping and thought “wow – that’s exactly how camping should be!”? For the uninitiated, wizard tents look normal on the outside but are basically a tardis inside – containing anything and everything one might want for a decent sojourn away from home.

Last week, I spotted a few examples of camps that seemed to be emulating the wizarding world. One friend actually had a shelving unit (with wooden shelves) in their abode; another (1970’s number) had a line of neatly pressed shirts hanging from a pole; whilst a fellow church family had created a chill-out area complete with deck chairs, coffee table and tablecloth. My own camp was hosted by a family whose motor-home possessed an iPod dock connected to wireless speakers, ensuring that Mumford & Sons could be played all over our site – all kinds of awesome.

I also wondered just how aware our ‘muggle’ neighbours (the town of Shepton Mallet) were of the activities going on within the Bath & West showground. Could they hear the noise of several thousand cheery Christians singing choruses at loud volume? Or did they only notice when the traffic became awful or when strange people gathered in huddles on the platform of Castle Cary station?

Like wizards, Christians aren’t always adept at adjusting to the real world, especially if they’ve been ensconced with their own kind for an extended period of time. Spending my day off in the amazing world of outlet shopping at Street, I kept bumping into my brothers and sisters in faith – and often swerving to avoid them. Two girls appeared regularly in the various shops I perused, each time shouting “praise Jesus!” at intervals and singing worship songs.

Clothing-wise, they also struggle. Some might say that you can spot a Christian a mile off – just look out for a socks/sandals/beard combo and you’re pretty much on the money. Bringing hoards of them together in the safety of a Christian-only environment means that they can give up trying to fit in with muggle fashion and give in to their Christian tendencies. The worst symptom of this is the Christian t-shirt. I’m not talking about ones advertising charities and campaigns, I mean the ones that look like ‘real world’ t-shirts but are just slightly altered to get a Biblical reference in somewhere. The winner last week was one emblazoned with Lord of the Kings (in the appropriate LOTR graphic) – utterly (un)hilarious. [I’ve come up with a top 10 – this may have to be a whole separate post at some point.]

Behaviour wise, you’ll often find Christians doing odd things. They’re very nice – pretty much all the time. In all the hours I spent on a till last week, I encountered only 3 grumpy/rude customers – not normal for a retail environment. This is a good thing of course, but it results in things I find difficult. Like the chattering in the shower queues… I struggle with mornings – little makes me happy first thing in the morning – except further sleep, or a very attractive man bringing me breakfast in bed. [I joke…or not!] Away camping, the situation’s even worse. You’ve not had great quality sleep, you’re dressed in a random combination of clothing (in my case joggers & an obscure US college t-shirt, possibly without a bra) and I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the mood for idle chit-chat in such a situation. Conversation directly relating to the showers – the temperature of the water or the length of the queue are both acceptable topics – is fine, but nothing else, especially not theology.

Of course I’m stereotyping. Not all Christians are like this, but it’s only when you’re amongst them en masse for a long time that such eccentricities become very apparent (or very annoying). And, like many wizards, for me the transition back into muggle land was slightly traumatic – it doesn’t help when it involves Paddington on a busy Saturday afternoon. But hey, at least I didn’t disintegrate into tears while topping up my oyster card…

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