Head First: This is One Freakin' Long Post

Monday, October 03, 2005

This is One Freakin' Long Post

I realize Jeff's already posted on this, but the nostalgia induced by this topic warrants a post here.

I'm really starting to love the Trinity Heretics. Three guys in a christian college, totally pissed off by the distance between the truth and the rationalized reality they see around them. Once you get used to reading Jesus and the f-word in the same sentence, they make some pretty raw points. Makes me wish I was young again.

Anyway, they put up an interesting post about emotionalism, to which I responded with an ENORMOUS comment that I fear, by its sheer size, may have killed the thread.I didn't mean to, but once I got started, I couldn't find a good place to hop off. So, by way of penance, I'm giving props to them here.

Here's an exerpt from my comment:

I remember going to Assembly of God Youth Camp (sponsored by Kleenex Tissues and Old Pompeii Olive/Anointing Oil) almost 30 years ago. Sweet Lord! What a show!


By the end of the first or second mandatory evening service (this following a daily two-hour morning service), in response to the speaker's invitation to "lay it all down" and be "sold out" for Jesus, there were several hundred young people crowded around the altar, speaking in tongues (or trying, or faking it), screaming, crying, flopping around like fishes, motionless (like loaves?), falling down etc. It was truly a life changing week...for about 2 days. No matter how often we "laid it all down," it seems that by the Tuesday following camp, we had picked it all back up (maybe it was the reminder on the last day to "take home everything you brought with you").

***In the interest of time, I'll skip my experiences at Evangel College. Some of the better ones were drug-induced, anyway. I will say, however, that my closest, deepest and most lifelong friends were made there. I'm going back this weekend for the 20-year reunion of my old crew.***

Anyway, we grew up. We became men and put away childish things. I was recovering nicely from the childhood trauma that was church, when someone invited me to a men's retreat. Holy crap. I sat there in deja vu as the speaker assumed aloud that we were all filthy, rotten, porn-addicted pigs and then invited us to "lay it all down" and be "sold out" for Jesus. Sure, it was a little more sophisticated, but it was still the same message. And the guys packed that altar. By the way, has anyone out there kept all seven promises of a Promisekeeper?

I won't say that no one's experience was genuine. I've had moments of truth in some of those situations. But this isn't a volume business. Throwing a pile of crap against a wall and seeing if some of it sticks seems like a hell of a system for encouraging spiritual growth, not to mention the guilt-ridden casualties left in it's wake.

I remember one visiting preacher who changed my entire way of thinking. He was introduced, came to the podium and gave the invitation BEFORE THE MESSAGE! I don't want to debate whether the sinner's prayer is the ticket (it's NOT) or how you become a follower of Christ (you follow). The point, as he explained, was that the four people who responded to that invitation did so because their minds informed their hearts that they needed to (perhaps the work of the Holy Spirit?), NOT because some slickdaddy preachermeister got them all worked up to the point of spiritual/emotional orgasm. That was 25 years ago, and I do believe that those people continued in the faith.

I've come to understand that following Christ is a day by day routine (that's not the right word, but do you know what I mean?). I don't want to totally knock the "mountaintop" experience, but I know too many people who live from one of those to the next, and miss the more mundane stuff that's really the mortar holding things together. Like my marriage, it's not all romance and emotions. Usually it's taking out the trash and fixing the storm door. Those aren't moments when I "feel" married, but I still know that I am, because I remember the decision I made to be so almost 17 years ago. But, oddly enough, it's the stupid, day-to-day crap that inadvertently deepens that sense of commitment.

Like commodities traders, we forgo the steady growth in search of the big score. It's a myth.

7 comments:

Aimee said...

yes, how true. good stuff!

Kc said...

Dorsey my comment would turn into an essay here too. I'll offer it at my place soon (with proper accreditation of course) but for now thanks for another great article.

jeff said...

Yeah, I was reading your article, and reading and reading... zzzzzz...

Oh sorry, I drifted off there...

you know how I feel about this. church camp almost made me go broke! how many times did I burn all my rock cassettes, only to have to go and buy them all again??? (all the while, the adults in church listened to country music, with no condemnation at all...)

Thank God for Columbia House!

(and since we're on the subject, what the [insert LOUD expletive here] does the Beatles saying Number 9 backwards have to do with worshiping the devil?!?

Kc said...

Jeff you are Republican AND listen to rock????

Dorsey I posted the article. Jeff get a pillow.

Ron said...

Dorsey,

If you don't mind, I would like to skip to the last full paragraph, because it is there where you have really laid it out. This paragraph reminds me of Oswald Chambers, because this is what he was teaching nearly a century ago. Christianity, love, and the like are not emotional, mountaintop experiences; rather, they are developed in the valleys and recesses of our lives. It seems so many of us live for the mount of transfiguration experience, not realizing that it is the trenchwork that is the legacy that we leave behind. I pray that all is going well with you, my friend.

Zeke said...

There's a contingent in my church that is just really into this stuff. "Kids were falling at the altar, being slain in the Spirit... It's the latter rain!..."

That's the same contingent that had one of the adult leaders telling my daughter that if she prayed with enough faith, her mother's medical problems would be healed. He also took some kids to a Benny Hinn crusade. I tried dealing with him Biblically... showed him scripture, asked him to repent, and took it to the pastor when he refused to. The senior pastor let it go because we couldn't afford another youth pastor, and if he left he'd take his little group of people with him. So now it's the new pastor's problem to deal with.

I loves me some church.

Caro said...

How pathetic that shysters still take full advantage of the gullible to make a quick buck. Small wonder that when these SOBs stand before Him, they'll feel betrayed when He tells them they are STILL strangers to His kingdom's principles.
Yes, we are all so very Adam that we act human most of the time. Fom this we do get a real load of guilt and some SOB uses that fundamental quality that makes us human against us. Sure, we break down (and up) when faced with judgment-why not? aren't we still Adam's kids who remember what happened to Gran'Pa Adam? (and all of the gang since).
Maybe, if a few of us could get relig'n out of the way, there would be time for God in our lives and in our churches.