Probably my favourite verse. I read this in a Mervyn Peake newsletter or review that I got years ago when I was in the Mervyn Peake Society. For the life of me I can’t find where I’ve put it and I can find no mention of it on the internet, so this is entirely from memory but I’ve never forgotten it. Not for the religious.

There is a brotherhood among the kindly
Closer and defter and more integral
Than any of aisle or coven
For love rang out before the chapel bell

I’ve been thinking about religion lately and I like it no more than I ever have. The root meaning of the word “religion” is ‘to curve back in on oneself’ and religion seems limited in that respect. It seems to be more about what some book says or what somebody said hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Unfortunately, what a person’s heart says seems to be lost in a flood of belief’s and of musts and must-not’s. Not that hearing the heart is an easy thing, I hasten to add. The deluge of noise from busy, modern day life can only hinder such a thing, not to mention the clamour of the religious who (well meaning though they may be) believe that their way is right for you. I find this attitude incredibly juvenile. It’s kind of like saying the music I like is better than the music you like (so get a life!). But it aint. It’s just different. Jazz music, for instance, quite simply appalls me (oh, and add Gospel music to that list 😉 ). How anyone can listen to that stuff, I’ve no idea. But, some people love the stuff. On a religious level, Christianity, Islam etc, leaves me cold, but it seems they would have me accept these things as truth. It’s like asking me to suddenly like music I really don’t like. If I did say I like it then I would only be lying to myself and that would not be listening to my heart, right?

As another example, let’s take creativity. People express their creativity in many different ways (or not at all). Some gravitate to music, some to art, some to sculpture, some to gardening, some to film-making and on and on and on. Within those categories there are sub-categories. In art some people prefer impressionism while other prefer surrealism; in music some prefer classical while others prefer folk. Who is right and who is wrong? I don’t think anybody is right or wrong. I think it’s the same with an individual’s spirituality. Some will gravitate to Buddhism, some to Christianity, some to Islam, some to Druidism etc. And, of course, they all have their sub-categories. Who is right and who is wrong? Again, I don’t think anybody is. People are just different, thankfully. I don’t think I could bear a world where everyone was the same.

Anyway, I could go on all night about this and it’s been a long day. But before I get off my soap box, I’ll just say that I think that love is the common thing we share amongst all people and it’s the quietest religion on earth. It’s a religion we’ve all signed up for whether we like it or not and it’s what we will all ‘curve back in on’ in the end. I just think Mervyn Peake’s verse sums that up beautifully.

I’m outta here,

Jimbob