Revival…

preaching1

 

If you’ve attended church for any period of time, then you’ve certainly had the opportunity to participate in a revival.  These affairs usually last anywhere from a weekend to a full week.  They consist of repeated efforts to compel individuals to surrender to the Christian experience.  Night after night the message is resounded with enough guilt thrown in for a lifetime of misery.  Each night the same people listen intently nodding in approval that they are not as bad as those others who aren’t present this very evening.  God will get them and we all will be so much better for it.  Amen.

These revivals usually include an evangelist who brings his traveling show from week to week to the ever faithful.  These men are some of the most arrogant, pompous people who tell of their sordid past and perfect present.  Their stories perfected after years of telling to get just the desired emotional effect.  Pastors who bring these men into their churches usually give wide berth to the evangelist as many freedoms are needed for the event to work.  Lesser staff members (like me) find their roles changed to gopher status and the requests tend to the extreme.  Any failure to grant a vapid desire results in a breakdown where the Spirit of God will be withheld.  Who knew how much trouble could result from not putting enough cream in a cup of coffee.

I served a church that took great pride in their annual revivial.  The anticpation was felt for months prior to its inception.  Everything seemed to dovetail into making this years revivial even better than last years.  Imagine how many people will be touched if we just make sure everything is perfect was the unified battle cry. 

I must remind the few readers of my blog that my youth was filled with misadventures and mischievous actions designed just to make me smile. As I aged my maturity didn’t advance proportionally.

The evangelist arrived complete with his camper trailer and I was chosen to help him get the setup arraigned behind the church.  Seemed like I had reserved a wonderful place for the camper but my location just wouldn’t do.  Back and forth moved the camper until just the right spot was found.  I experienced similar adventures watching my dog pace back and forth across the yard looking for just the right place to pee.

He immediately determined I was available to take care of his every whim.  While working as a minister one has many opportunities to be of service, unfortunately,  I lacked the important gene that allowed me comfort as others used and manipulated me.  It didn’t take long to realize this man of God who was going to straighten out our church was a complete  ass.  My salvation experience was relatively new and I didn’t suffer an ass with much kindness nor generosity.

I knew quickly this man needed to be brought down a notch or two and I was just the man to help him.  I would minister to this man in a way he hasn’t experienced at any time in his career, after all,  I was a servant.

Our church had an early version of a wireless microphone that the on/off control was managed in the sound booth.  Somehow,  I was chosen to run the sound during the evening revival service.  Miracles come shaped in all forms.  Just before the service was to begin the evangelist wanted to do a sound check.  Wouldn’t you know it, I seemed to do everything wrong.  Surely the Spirit couldn’t work in a situation like this I was reminded.  After what seemed like an eternal browbeating, the sound was just right for an evening of worship.  And then it happened.

Inside the sanctuary were  a smattering of enthusiasts.  Early arrivers whose mission is to make sure everything is handled properly.  In total, maybe 15-20 people watched as the evangelist excused himself to prepare for the events later that evening.  His problem was, his preparation involved a challenged effort upon a porcelain throne that was broadcast with full color to all who desired.  Shame on me for not immediately extinguishing the microphone, shame on me for allowing everyone to know the vigor he brought to the challenge, shame on me for finding the moment so (excuse the pun) stinking funny.  But to quote Velma Kelly and Roxy Hart…”He had it coming.”

As the evangelist strode into the sanctuary, impressed with his recent achievements, the look of confusion that peviously had been found on the congregants faces, was quickly erased.  People began putting together the cause of the mini concert, along with the fact he had on the microphone and suddenly people found themselve trying to suppress their giggles.  These attempts proved a fruitless endeavour as laughter rang forth across the room.

I allowed the evil grin to remain on my face the rest of the evening.  I even enjoyed the mini conversations taking place in the pews all around me.  Word was out and the evil grin I carried morphed into a silly grin on the people in the church.  I guess it became hard to take someone too seriously who shares such intimate parts of their person as he had unknowingly done.  The revival somehow ended sooner than expected and the evangelist informed us he would leave the next afternoon.  I feel my actions may have led to the demise of our church’s revival that year, maybe so.  But revenge can be sooooooo sweet!

As a final note, I should confess that I gathered some of my trouble making college kids and visited the evangelist for the purpose of giving him a proper good-bye.  I wish I could say I went to him and made amends, I chose not to.  Instead, we approached his camper in the early morning hours, a time when proper people chose to sleep, to prepare for a final act of insubordination.  As the firecrackers were exploding outside his camper, we hid to watch the festivities.  He was not an attractive man at that hour, especilly under those conditions.  The comb-over that was so perfectly coiffed the night before spiraled in long strands to one side of his head.  He  seemed quite angry and agitated by the fireworks show we chose for him.  Talk about ingratitude.  “I’m going to kick some a**”, came roaring out of his sanctified mouth to all who would listen.  As we merrily ran away we heard these fateful words, “I’m never coming back to this church again.” 

I smiled and felt like my work was done.

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100 Things Meme…

I’ve always found these an excellent means of wasting time.  Highlight the items that pertain to you and leave the others alone.  Pass this on to your friends and fill your time with something pointless.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band (jr high – trombone)
4.
Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/World
8.
Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo 
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18.  Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked(but never again)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping(sorry kids)
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person 

34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language 

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
40.
Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44.
Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted  
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie(tv show)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62
. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72.
Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square 

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79.
Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book 

82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem 

84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (Uh. No… hee hee.)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury 

91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Southern Pride…

Driving through Columbia, South Carolina recently, I noticed an unusual shop near the highway.  “Southern Pride Shop” complete with the obligatory rebel flags adorning the establishment.  The large illuminated sign outside the store said, come see the large selection of Heritage Knives.  Heritage Knives?, what could possibly be the purpose of such an item?

I’m amazed that such a shop exists in this modern age.  At some point, one should think humanity would evolve to a more communal existence.  Maybe I live a sheltered life and fail to see outside my present reality. Do people really have need for such a place as this?   By the looks of the parking lot it seems the answer is a resounding yes.

Rebel Pride, Southern Heritage…call it whatever you wish.  The bottom line, it is based on hate.  Driven by divisiveness, us versus them.  Hate of an individual that is completely unknown.  Hate for a group of people based solely on the color of their skin.  Dislike for someone because they mistreated you or someone you know is understandable. Separate from people known for caused physical or psychological harm to you or yours, also understandable.  But to hate people due to something as uncontrollable as skin color, that’s just archaic.

I’ve heard too many comments from “good church going people” about our newly elected black president.  There seems to be a strong dislike for this man based solely on his skin color disguised as policy disagreements.  When away from groups I hear these “good church people” talking about how our new president won’t make it through his first term.  They couch their thoughts in phrases like, “them ole boys will take him out.”  The reality is these are thoughts owned and voiced through imaginary friends.  Classic example of cowardice.  This seems to be the standard.

Another means of fascination were the bumper stickers attached to the cars at the store that discussed the various interpretations of gun ownership.  Some of these wanted to remind the rest of us their constitutional right to own a weapon, while others were more aggressive daring one to try and take their guns away.  The NRA seems to have a strong foothold on this community.

I noticed two other bumper stickers shared by these comrades in arms.  One was a unified support of the McCain/Palin ticket and the other was reminding everyone that Jesus loves you.  Interesting.