The service was strange. My church, which I have left so will now be called ex-church, is a fairly conservative yet relaxed baptist church, so I'm not used to people yelling or falling over or generally being rowdy. I'm used to being the strangest one there. The church I visited tonight began with some nice, normal singing (very modern songs, no hymns) and then many minutes of the pastor praying for people in tongues and asking if a lady would come up so God could restore her. Some lady came back from where she was sitting to ask if maybe he meant me? Maybe he did, but I didn't want to go up and have my progress in learning to be with God quietly by some well-meaning pastor praying for big, flashy Spirit-filled events. The speaker was very enthusiastic and told a delightful story about Helen Keller, but at the end she prayed very enthusiastically and roughly for people, shaking them as she prayed. I didn't like that as I'm quite keen on asking permission to touch total strangers (a stance that goes completely against my incredibly touchy-feely nature) and she touched my ear! I'm not a stranger to that kind of behaviour, but I still find it odd.
However, all that aside, it was pretty good. Probably not the sort of church I'd feel comfortable making my home, due to all of the "Christian victory" talk, but one I would recommend to people who enjoy Christian victory. In case you haven't come across Christian victory (or my term for it), it's a pervading attitude of thinking only about how awesome life is with God, and how we can overcome all barriers if we just lean in to God. So it annoys me, a lot.
I know there are other Christians out there who think, like me, that actually the Christian life is about following a confusing God by reading a horrifying (mostly) book and dealing with irritating, small-minded people including one's self. And that it's still all worth it somehow, seeing beauty in tiny things like a married couple flirting during the sermon, a beautiful sunrise, doggedly offering a little expression of love to someone who won't accept it (yet) and knowing that God loves and honours us for our confused attempts to love and honour zir. I know other people think along those lines, because I read their books and their blogs and sometimes in person I'll have a conversation with wee flashes of those ideas. I'm on the hunt for more of that, while trying to still see the beauty in the churches I was raised in.
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