I went to church again last week. Church keeps popping up. I feel like it’s almost becoming a habit. It’s not that I think church is necessary. I don’t. However, I do think that the charismatic churches that we have here in SA can be highly entertaining. I hadn’t been to one in a couple of years and a friend asked me to go with him. So, I went. One sees the sick being healed and there is prophecy and there is praise and worship, which I always enjoy; especially when I recognise the songs. They’re songs at the charismatic churches, rather than hymns. Although they did sing the chorus of How Great Thou Art, which I always really appreciate because it’s the hymn The Mrs and Daddy and I used to sing when we prayed together in their bedroom. It was one of Daddy’s favourite hymns.
There was a beautiful presence of The Holy Spirit in the church. It felt beautiful. I prayed in tongues, which I haven’t been inspired to do in years. The Pastor was Afrikaans, so he kept breaking into speaking Afrikaans, but I didn’t mind. In my favourite Anglican church in Wattville, Ekurhuleni, The Church of the Resurrection, they preach in isiZulu and Sesotho and at least three other of the eleven official languages, as well as English and I don’t mind not understanding at all. In fact, I prefer it.
At this charismatic church I wished the pastor had stayed speaking in Afrikaans, especially when he said that we should pray for the situation in Gaza. We should pray for the Jewish people in Jerusalem, he said, because we know that Jesus lived in Jerusalem and Jesus was Jewish, so we should pray for the victory of the Jewish people over the Palestinian people.
You know if it hadn’t been for the peace of God, which was so much upon me, I might have screamed. WTF?
What was he thinking? It’s not a soccer match. It’s a long, complex and bitter, and terrible war. I’m assuming that The Holy Spirit had left his being by then because it’s impossible, is it not, that The Holy Spirit would allow him to make such shallow, ignorant political pronouncements to a church full of a few hundred people. The Palestinian people deserve death and oppression because Jesus was Jewish? Really? We should pray for their demise?
How about we pray for peace? Is he actually encouraging that we be racist and divisive with the direction of our prayers? Is he suggesting that a church full of hundreds of mainly Afrikaans people who barely know, and probably don’t care where Palestine is and who have absolutely no interest in the nature or origin of the fight between Palestine and Israel take a political position on the matter because Jesus was Jewish?
How about we pray for wisdom. How about we pray for leaders who are willing to talk to one another and find compromise. How about we pray for all the innocents on both sides who are caught up in the conflict. How about we pray for human rights and human dignity and freedom and justice and the right to national sovereignty and self-determination? How about Palestine being recognised as a Sovreign State by the United Nations/United States? Why would we not pray for that? No! This idiot Pastor wants us to pray for Israel’s victory over Palestine because Jesus was Jewish. Does it get stupider?
This is why I prefer not to understand what they say, because this is what they do. They lull you into a sense of comfort with their healing the sick and their praise and worship and their prophecy and their prayer and their compassion; and once they think that you’ve been adequately lobotomised with religion and religious rhetoric they slap in some asinine political contamination which only serves to piss one off thoroughly. No wonder Karl Marx called religion ‘the opium of the people’. It spoiled my whole experience of being in church. After that I just wanted to leave.
Many years ago in the church that I regularly attended when I was a serious holy roller the pastor prayed for George W Bush to be successful in his crusade (he used the word ‘crusade’) against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. On that occasion I just got up and walked out of the church. I was so incensed. Why would we do that? Why would we pray for George W Bush? Was it because he had told the world that he was a Christian? He probably lied. What the hell kind of Christian is that uninformed, dumb ass, deceitful, dishonest, greedy, warmongering ‘shrub’ sonofabitch? The Pastor wanted me to pray for that? I was disgusted.
Why do they bring their politics into the church, anyway? Especially such shallow, ill informed, ignorant politics. Stupid politics. We don’t come to church to hear their dubious views on how to right the world. They may know a lot about religion and indoctrination, but clearly they know very little about the world. They claim they are in this world not of this world, so they should shut up about this world and keep their decrees and edicts focused on the world that they are of.
Needless to say I won’t be going back to church for a while. Let me just hang with God on my own. I like to hang with God because He doesn’t say moronic things and He makes me laugh when some Pastor has pissed me off, (which happens), and He reminds me that it’s not about the idiot Pastor, it’s about Him and His relationship with me, one-on-one.
God agrees with me that this Pastor is a twit, but He says I should forgive him his trespass.