Although I’m not religious, I still love the church, the older one’s anyway. The traditions, the colour, the hymns and the beauty still touch my soul after all this time. Despite the church’s rather stellar past there still somehow remains a sacredness about it all.
The newer churches however are a tad different. They’re in brand new buildings, concert halls and other arb, cold structures that are amped for entertainment and have not a smidgen of sanctity about them.
It is so easy to bitch about the older churchy routines, but sit yourself down in one of those happy clapper enviroments and Attila The Hun begins to look sane next to these people.
The Healing and deliverance sessions were the best by far. I remember the one big church I attended (with thief minister at the helm), where anyone needing healing were given appointments with the healers. I decided to go. They sat me down and hauled out this 4 page questionnaire to fill in. It contained questions about your life and beliefs and upbringing. If you were a Catholic you were deemed to be in desperate need of deliverance as that particular church was considered to be demon – led!
After Two pages you got to the sex chapter. Now I get the sex before marriage thing, that’s a no-no and most places you’d pray and ask for forgiveness and that would be the end of it. Not this lot! Two whole pages were dedicated to the particulars of your misdeeds. How many partners, how long was the relationship – sound bad? that was nothing, the last page had a multiple choice thingy of exactly what you engaged in – seriously!
Like the lilly – livered twit that I was I duly filled in all the gaps all the while struggling valiantly to remember the names of my partners (much to their horror) and confessed ALL my sins and then sat meekly as they prepared to deliver me from the demons of sexual depravity, nicotine, rebellion etc etc.
Now there were certain items of equipment considered vital to a healing:
Bible and prayer book
I had attended healing seminars before and was therefore quite prepared for the strangeness of it all. So there I was sitting quietly on a chair while the healers circled like vultures.
It starts off with prayers of protection, followed by babbling in tongues and ending with the laying on of hands and yelling at the demons to come out. While all this is going on I sat quietly waiting for that sense of freedom and purification that I’d been promised! I sat and I sat……..nothing! Unlike other contestants to enter the domain of the mentally knackered I wasn’t crying, vomiting, crawling around the floor, hissing or barking like a dog.
It was truly dissappointing!
By this point the healers were becoming frustrated and tired, so being vessels of ‘wisdom and truth’ they realised that ‘I didn’t really want to be healed and was spiritually blocking the process.’ So step two: raise your arms above your head thus opening yourself to the holy spirit and ask God for healing. Now at this point after a short while most people began shaking and eventually hit the deck – the same effect anyone would have bouncing on adrenalin and holding your arms high for 5 minutes.
hmmmm………….. I was still standing there hanging for a ciggy and needing the loo!
Now one of their oft- quoted phrases is ‘the sin of rebellion is as great as the sin of witchcraft’, so after trying fruitlessly to expel the demon spawn with no results, I was sent out with grim stares and pursed lips with orders to pray for the courage to release myself to God before they tried again later.
Later, sadly, proved no more effective and funny enough I had been to a variety of healers for years in various churches with the same results. I was devastated! I had been told in every church that my life was so hard because I had opened myself to the demons through sex and rebellion and if I was healed all my problems would be gone .
I felt cheated! God didn’t love me, he had turned his back on me because I was so bad, but still I comforted myself with the fact that the gay chap I’d befriended was even worse off than me!
Not only did the demons of bump and grind not leave him, but he was forced to give away all his high heels and make up too!