Decline and fall of a sermon-time doze

From a dissident pulpit . . .

Blithe Spirit

I was neither flummoxed nor gobsmacked when the preacher tossed off a reference to “Captain Grimes in Decline and Fall” this morning.  I was, however, wakened from that pious semi-slumber that too often attends sermonizing.

Of the Roman empire? I wondered, distracted from my fascination with the family of mother, father, and seven kids aged an estimated six months to 10 years old in the pew in front of me.

No, I quickly decided.  Decline and Fall as by Evelyn Waugh.  Said and done.  Without explaining, as in saying, “I was reading a novel the other day called Decline and Fall, by the English Catholic writer Evelyn Waugh, and in it he said . . .”   Blah, blah, and blah.  What you hear in your average parish.

So it goes.  Point he was making would not have been lost, however, on the listeners who got not the reference: Captain…

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