Monday, September 3, 2012

My Awesome Pentecostal Sunday

This weekend my family celebrated my grandfather's 94th birthday.  This year we decided to forgo the more traditional jello shots at the local strip club and had a spit roasted sheep instead.  But before it was sheep time we all had to join my grandpa for a church service.

OK it occurs to me now that if you're reading my blog there's a 99% chance you've never met me so I should point out that the strippers & shots thing was a joke.  It's a funny joke because my family is for the most part very deeply religious.  And not just any kind of religious either.  The kind of religious that can get me in trouble for making stripper jokes.  But I digress...

Right so I'll be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to the big church service.  I haven't been in a church for a very long time.  Especially not one in the Pentecostal denomination I grew up in.  However by the end of the 2 and a half hour service I was so happy you couldn't wipe the smile off my face with a steel brush!  It was AWESOME!  I seriously considered buying that sermon on CD!  In fact I felt kind of bad about how little money I put in the collection plate!  After the show I got I felt like I owed them a lot more money!  As I'm sitting here I'm seriously reconsidering my churchgoing habits!

How awesome was it you ask?  Well first all my less religious cousins walked out, then all but the most devout left and by the end of the day at least one was having a serious crisis of faith.  THAT good!  Now on the pentecostal zaniness scale the service was only about a 6.  Only one person fell over when prayed for and started screaming in tongues and there was no dancing or prophetic words.  Also no "healings".  But the sermon?  Solid fucking gold!  It was wall to wall bullshit.  But not just any bullshit!  This was absolute, grade A, top class, uncut bullshit!  You don't really find anything this good outside of a Pentecostal church!  I'm going to try to share some of the highlights here but I'm afraid I'm not going to do it any justice.

See the problem is that while I enjoy telling stories, the pastor there was on a whole other level.  I can only dream of being that good at storytelling.  He was a charismatic guy, making self deprecating jokes all the time, while telling story after story about a humble hero (himself) bravely standing up to the forces of darkness.  Not that he's the kind of humble hero who would brag of course, it was mainly just to illustrate how knowing nothing isn't a handicap, it's a blessing.  He just humbly depended on the Holy Spirit to guide him and so time and time again God would use his simple humility to turn him into the mightiest of demon slayers. 

I learned so much listening to this humble man.  For instance did you know that qualifications mean nothing?  Titles mean nothing?  Degrees mean nothing?  Money means nothing?  I'm not paraphrasing btw, those were his exact words!  I'm not sure how that reflected on the Emotional Trauma Course Certificates they handed out right before the sermon started but I'm probably over thinking things again.  Also because money means absolutely nothing he asked God to provide the congregation with a bus free of charge.  They can't buy one and they can't have any debt on it because it must be a gift from heaven and if you owe money for it then it can't be a gift!  This was just during the opening prayer.  This was also the point I knew things were going to fantastic! 

Other things I learned was that:
Some kinds of depressions can't be medically treated because it's caused by demons!  If you do a business deal with the wrong person, you can catch demons from them!  If you were a happy person once but started feeling depressed and unhappy after you got married then it's because you married someone who gave you DEMONS!  Demons also cause children to be rebellious and husbands to cheat on their wives.  Oh wait, if I say it like that it sounds like something that happens over time.  Nooooooo!  See if you move into a flat where people worshiped Satan then that will IMMEDIATELY make your formerly sweet child rebellious and your loving husband will start cheating on you overnight!  Demons!!

The pastor did make it clear though that he's not the silly kind of pastor who sees demons behind everything - unlike some people he could name but totally wouldn't.  You don't need to look for demons, you just have to look for God and the demons will flee!  Except when they don't.  Which is pretty much all the time since the theme of the sermon was how good, saved, baptized, Spirit filled Christians can still have demons oppressing them all the time due to all kinds of things.  It's OK though, you can pray the demons away.  Prayer is all you need.  Prayer and fasting.  Also oil for annointing.  But not salts and holy water and stuff because that's just silly!

So back to the things I learned!  Did you know that cigarettes lead to marijuana and then to heroin and then to devil worship and death?  Did you know that everyone involved with the occult lives in constant fear and depression?  Did you now that all the Hollywood stars all have "spirit guides" (aka demons) and that is why they are all on drugs and unhappy and committing suicide?  I sure didn't!  Also prayer is powerful against demons but when someone has a magic medicine bag on them (filled with hair and nails and herbs and Lord knows what else) then prayer becomes powerless?

There was one story in particular that was just too good not to share.  I'm going to do my best to retell it but like I said, I'm not nearly in his league so I probably won't do it justice.

So the pastor gets called over to a house because mysterious things are happening there.  He doesn't know what they are - they're mysterious - but he goes anyway, taking 2 elders for backup.  As soon as he gets there an old photograph on the wall catches his eye.  It's an old black & white photograph from the very early 1900's of a stern looking old man.  So he asks the lady of the house who that is in the photo and she immediately exclaims that the man in the photograph is the reason he was called over!  Turns out that every time their young son leaves the house to go to school or to go to the cafe (because apparently there are still cafe's and kids still walk there) this old man follows him around!  Also sometimes the boy wakes up in the middle of the night and then this man is in his room!  Except this is her grandfather and he's been dead for decades!!!  So the pastor just starts walking around, not knowing what to do.  Of course this is great for him because when a man knows nothing, that is when God can really use his humble ass.  Anyway, so he walks around the house just praying but not really knowing what to pray while feeling the gaze of the elders on him (they didn't know what to do either and were looking to him for guidance).  As he walks through the house he notices that one room is closed and locked.  So he tells the mother that he needs to go in there but she doesn't want to let him.  He insisted though, telling her that God told him that the solution to whatever was going on was in that room.  So the mom goes in and he just hears a girl's voice in there sounding very unfriendly.  Mom comes out and says that no, they can't go in there.  The pastor wasn't going to let it go though so he insisted and forced his way in there.  In the room he finds a girl (their daughter I assume, he never said) with black hair, black nails (*congregation murmurs*) and Iron Maiden posters on the wall!!  (*congregation gasps!*)  This girl yells at him to get out because she doesn't need him or his God, she has her own god!  So he asks her who her god is and she answers defiantly that her god is Lucifer!  (*huge gasp from the congregation*)  Pastor Briel, being the man of God that he is, wasn't going to leave it at that so he immediately starts praying for her right there and then suddenly her mom starts screaming in the living room!  They run over and find her frantically pointing at the old photograph.  He looked and what did he see?  The old man's cheeks were glowing bright red!  And two red stripes ran down the edges!  (Was it blood?  He didn't say.  I like to imagine it was)  Red!  On a black & white photograph!  Turns out the old man was a fortune teller and now with this devil worshiping girl in the house the demons have come out to play!  They went back into that girl's room and cast out those demons and from that day on that house knew rest again!

Like I said, that sermon was the best!

There were many stories like that.  The common thread was that demons will fuck your shit up but a humble, heroic pastor can totally save you.  Oh and also women suck.  No seriously that was a running theme in the sermon.  Women were always terrible.  Except his wife I guess but she got a ton of those little joking jabs that some men love to aim at their wives where they criticize and demean them but not really because it's just a joke ha ha!  But no, all the girls in the stories were devil worshipers and all the mothers were hysterical.  Sometimes they were hysterical AND part of the demonic problem!  Like that one time he was praying for this little girl with a lazy eye and he commanded that eye to go straight and it totally did but then as soon as her (hysterical) mother touched her, that eye would go off to the side again.  Every time he prayed it got fixed and every time her mother came near her the healing came undone.  Also that other time he prayed for a little spastic boy who was all crippled and couldn't raise his arm and the kid started getting healed and then his mother started screaming (hysterically) and then he went spastic again so he had to have the mother removed so he could get the boy all healed.

I can haz souvenirs!!

See why I want to get the sermon CD?  That is solid gold bullshit right there!  Seriously, if you ever get the chance to go to the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Centurion - go!  It's fantastic!


Ali said...

Oh wow, that made me laugh. That is some high quality bullshit right there! I mentally replaced "demons" with "cooties" as the cause of everything, and it made just as much sense. (Don't touch girls! They've got DEMONS!) Seriously, is he using Chick tracts as source material?

Eugene said...

Pffft! Chick tracts are for arm chair exorcists! This pastor was a front line soldier against satan! He had a whole bunch of totally true stories he totally experienced himself! He even exorcised himself once!