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My Visit To A Holiness Church


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First, let me say that you can find many different kinds of Christian religious practice. The Catholics have a very attractive and solemn, if highly standardized ritual service. When the priest holds up the cup of wine to be blessed, it is easy to imagine the blessing coming down from on high like a shining gem. Priests and their supporting actors must go to theatrical school, or some equivalent, to get the degree of skill that they have. I know that their choirs and organists must practice frequently, as they are usually much more highly trained than is typical for Protestant Churches.

 

Among the latter, however, there is also much variation. Many Protestant denominations have a dignified, if plain-folksy, flavor to their services. Many of them sing off-key, and they sometimes can't find anyone who can play the piano for them, but they are serious about their religion. You have to respect that.

 

But several years ago, I attended my first—and so far only—worship service in a "Church of God," sometimes called a "Holiness Church." what I witnessed bothers me, and I think that I should talk about it.

 

The Holiness service was held in what might have been the most impressive church building in a small Ohio town. It began with relative informality, as is often the case with Protestant services. The congregation sang a few songs. Then the preacher gave a sermon that was much less fiery than I'd expected. He might have been reading aloud from the county deed book, such was the lack of emotion or conviction in his voice. The sermon revolved around the world's need for "peace," which the preacher sagely defined as "the absence of war." Just before the closing or "testimonial" phase of the service, the whole congregation—which had until then been divided by sex on either side of the aisle, with the men on stage right and the women on stage left—gathered before the altar and held a lengthy prayer.

 

It was the testimonial phase that gave me qualms. What seriousness the congregation had kept until then quickly evaporated, as each member tried to out-do the others in their degree of being possessed by the Holy Ghost :Wendywhatever: . One young man, who may have been one of the younger deacons of the church, had a long-practiced technique of whipping his head three times in rapid sequence at least once per paragraph of his eloquent testimony speech. Other men did other things, such as feigning a speech impediment.

 

But although they tried mightily, the men simply could not equal the women in the shenanigans of being filled with the spirit. The women testified in order of decreasing age. An elderly woman, in the midst of her testimonial, suddenly began uttering syllables of baby talk. And the entire congregation, except for me, pretended to understand her fully. I wish that I could have interviewed them separately afterward to get, from each of them, a translation. I wonder how they would have compared.

 

A middle-aged woman, in the middle of her words of divine adulation, started having "fainting spells" as the spirit overcame her, but somehow she always recovered from her near-fall before she could hit the floor and bruise herself. I suppose that you might say that heavenly angels had been dispatched to hold her upright. But I noticed that the soles of her shoes remained squarely in contact with the floor, and from what you could see of her legs, beneath her long dress, her muscles were at work in this business of arranging for a fall and for the subsequent recovery, every time.

 

A young lady in her mid-20s started roaming the congregation while cooing, "Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo," over and over. She would approach a member and gently touch his/her face with her fingertips, as though imitating the touch of a feather, and she'd have done it to me, too, if I had not frowned her away. (By this time, the falseness of the proceedings had fairly disgusted me.) So instead of feathering my face, she started pawing at her own, still cooing away.

 

But it was the last (and youngest) female who took the prize for the most extravagant behavior under the influence of the Divine Presence. She was about 14 years old. She began her testimony, and being young she had not worked out a standard line farther than two sentences, whereupon she unfocused her eyes in the usual manner. Assuming a blank-faced "I'm a puppet on strings" attitude, she raised her arms out before her with her hands curved inward and held at arms' length. Then she began circling before the altar and flexing her mouth between open and almost shut, apparently trying to give oral sex to God. Instead of demanding an instant stop to this outrageous spectacle, the adults in the congregation, including the preacher and the deacons, clapped and shouted their approval. (For some reason, the men were louder than the women in voicing this approval.)

 

I don't think that I'd respect a God who took his offerings after the manner of Bill Clinton from Monica Lewinsky. Beyond that, it was evident to me that every member of this church had practiced some technique or other to get momentary attention and approval from the others, using religion as an excuse for behavior that, anywhere else, would have been considered abnormal, foolish, or obscene. A psychologist could probably explain the social factors at work better than I can. I can't help wondering how the hell (excuse me) a church with such customs ever got started.

 

I never attended another worship service at any "Holiness" Church of God. Even though I am not a Christian, and wasn't one then, I was more offended than amused by the put-on displays of spiritual highness.

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Guest michaelrosenweig

Hey, my name is Michael, and I am new to this forum.

 

I just read your post, and found it quite interesting. I find the phoniness in some churches unbelievable. There was a time I went to a Pentecostal church in Ashland, VA, and I found by observation, some people actually try to fake miracles. How I responded was brining to the attention of the pastor, but apparently, the pastor was "in on it". After that happened, what i did was look at the pastor in disbelief, turned around, left, and have not been back there since.

 

another thing that irritates the piss out of me is when someone lays hands on the head of another, and the person being prayed for is expected to "fall out" in the Spirit. in most cases, I think that is such a put-on. Oh please. In all of my 54 yaears, I do not think I have ever seen that happen for real. One player playing along with another.

 

On the other side of the coin, I have seen actual miracles firsthand, and experienced physical healing from two incurable diseases. One is Ulcerative Colitis, and the other is Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is documentation to back up what I just wrote. One in a hospital in my area, and the other from a doctor's office. That is why I believe God does in fact exist. I am not saying God always heals, because He doesn't, but in my case something supernatural happened.

 

Again, this is the same person who hates phonies, and a lot of false carrying on. Also, this post is not meant to offend anyone or to start a futile debate. Debating is like pissing into the wind. I cannot change anyone's mind, but merely post personal experiences.

 

Ciao and Shalom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, let me say that you can find many different kinds of Christian religious practice. The Catholics have a very attractive and solemn, if highly standardized ritual service. When the priest holds up the cup of wine to be blessed, it is easy to imagine the blessing coming down from on high like a shining gem. Priests and their supporting actors must go to theatrical school, or some equivalent, to get the degree of skill that they have. I know that their choirs and organists must practice frequently, as they are usually much more highly trained than is typical for Protestant Churches.

 

Among the latter, however, there is also much variation. Many Protestant denominations have a dignified, if plain-folksy, flavor to their services. Many of them sing off-key, and they sometimes can't find anyone who can play the piano for them, but they are serious about their religion. You have to respect that.

 

But several years ago, I attended my first—and so far only—worship service in a "Church of God," sometimes called a "Holiness Church." what I witnessed bothers me, and I think that I should talk about it.

 

The Holiness service was held in what might have been the most impressive church building in a small Ohio town. It began with relative informality, as is often the case with Protestant services. The congregation sang a few songs. Then the preacher gave a sermon that was much less fiery than I'd expected. He might have been reading aloud from the county deed book, such was the lack of emotion or conviction in his voice. The sermon revolved around the world's need for "peace," which the preacher sagely defined as "the absence of war." Just before the closing or "testimonial" phase of the service, the whole congregation—which had until then been divided by sex on either side of the aisle, with the men on stage right and the women on stage left—gathered before the altar and held a lengthy prayer.

 

It was the testimonial phase that gave me qualms. What seriousness the congregation had kept until then quickly evaporated, as each member tried to out-do the others in their degree of being possessed by the Holy Ghost :Wendywhatever: . One young man, who may have been one of the younger deacons of the church, had a long-practiced technique of whipping his head three times in rapid sequence at least once per paragraph of his eloquent testimony speech. Other men did other things, such as feigning a speech impediment.

 

But although they tried mightily, the men simply could not equal the women in the shenanigans of being filled with the spirit. The women testified in order of decreasing age. An elderly woman, in the midst of her testimonial, suddenly began uttering syllables of baby talk. And the entire congregation, except for me, pretended to understand her fully. I wish that I could have interviewed them separately afterward to get, from each of them, a translation. I wonder how they would have compared.

 

A middle-aged woman, in the middle of her words of divine adulation, started having "fainting spells" as the spirit overcame her, but somehow she always recovered from her near-fall before she could hit the floor and bruise herself. I suppose that you might say that heavenly angels had been dispatched to hold her upright. But I noticed that the soles of her shoes remained squarely in contact with the floor, and from what you could see of her legs, beneath her long dress, her muscles were at work in this business of arranging for a fall and for the subsequent recovery, every time.

 

A young lady in her mid-20s started roaming the congregation while cooing, "Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo," over and over. She would approach a member and gently touch his/her face with her fingertips, as though imitating the touch of a feather, and she'd have done it to me, too, if I had not frowned her away. (By this time, the falseness of the proceedings had fairly disgusted me.) So instead of feathering my face, she started pawing at her own, still cooing away.

 

But it was the last (and youngest) female who took the prize for the most extravagant behavior under the influence of the Divine Presence. She was about 14 years old. She began her testimony, and being young she had not worked out a standard line farther than two sentences, whereupon she unfocused her eyes in the usual manner. Assuming a blank-faced "I'm a puppet on strings" attitude, she raised her arms out before her with her hands curved inward and held at arms' length. Then she began circling before the altar and flexing her mouth between open and almost shut, apparently trying to give oral sex to God. Instead of demanding an instant stop to this outrageous spectacle, the adults in the congregation, including the preacher and the deacons, clapped and shouted their approval. (For some reason, the men were louder than the women in voicing this approval.)

 

I don't think that I'd respect a God who took his offerings after the manner of Bill Clinton from Monica Lewinsky. Beyond that, it was evident to me that every member of this church had practiced some technique or other to get momentary attention and approval from the others, using religion as an excuse for behavior that, anywhere else, would have been considered abnormal, foolish, or obscene. A psychologist could probably explain the social factors at work better than I can. I can't help wondering how the hell (excuse me) a church with such customs ever got started.

 

I never attended another worship service at any "Holiness" Church of God. Even though I am not a Christian, and wasn't one then, I was more offended than amused by the put-on displays of spiritual highness.

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I used to attend a Charasmatic Full Gospel church. I called the women in the front the "Penticostal Kickers". I think they are addicted to the emotional frenzy that these churches generate. It's nothing but emotional high they work themselves into and then claim it's a personal experience and they are filled with the "spirit".

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Then she began circling before the altar and flexing her mouth between open and almost shut, apparently trying to give oral sex to God. Instead of demanding an instant stop to this outrageous spectacle, the adults in the congregation, including the preacher and the deacons, clapped and shouted their approval. (For some reason, the men were louder than the women in voicing this approval.)
:lmao:
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I came out of a holiness church -- the UPCI. What you're describing is pretty standard fare -- no aisle-rolling? No swinging from the chandaliers? Not even a good ol' exorcism?

 

I never attended another worship service at any "Holiness" Church of God. Even though I am not a Christian, and wasn't one then, I was more offended than amused by the put-on displays of spiritual highness.

 

What's not acting is just emotion.

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On the other side of the coin, I have seen actual miracles firsthand, and experienced physical healing from two incurable diseases. One is Ulcerative Colitis, and the other is Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is documentation to back up what I just wrote. One in a hospital in my area, and the other from a doctor's office. That is why I believe God does in fact exist. I am not saying God always heals, because He doesn't, but in my case something supernatural happened.

 

Fine. Prove it. Prove that it wasn't coincidence and that it was actually Jesus Christ and not some other god or aliens or even just normal human medicine. Prove it scientifically and beyond a reasonable doubt. If you're going to make claims like this, then back them up with evidence. Or are you really so naive that you think a bunch of skeptics are going to believe you with just text on the Internet?

 

I can type "my best friend was cured from AIDS by aliens, oh and I happened to win the lottery the other day because the aliens gave me psychic powers to guess the numbers correctly and I am typing this from my new mansion in the Bahamas." But that doesn't make it true. So prove it.

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On the other side of the coin, I have seen actual miracles firsthand, and experienced physical healing from two incurable diseases. One is Ulcerative Colitis, and the other is Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is documentation to back up what I just wrote. One in a hospital in my area, and the other from a doctor's office. That is why I believe God does in fact exist. I am not saying God always heals, because He doesn't, but in my case something supernatural happened.

 

So does God just pick and choose who he wants to heal then? Is that fair? When i believed, i occasionally went up to receive prayer from the so-called prayer team (it was like some special club - i can pray better than you can so i should be in it type thing) when they called for those needing healing. I would go up every so often as i have problems with my ovaries (very bad case of PCOS along with other problems) and i'm often confined to bed for days in pain. Along with this i have some pretty unattractive physical symptoms and i've been told i will probably find it very difficult to conceive when the time comes. So i thought as a girl in her early 20's looking to find a partner and settle down to get married, i was a pretty good candidate for God's help. I really believed that through my faith God would heal and i regularly attended services where special 'healer' ministers would attend... i've spent hours and hours receiving prayer and guess what? No result. If anything, my symptoms have become worse over the past few years. I've heard countless explanations from Christians from 'my faith obviously wasn't strong enough and i didn't truly believe' to 'God is testing you' and even 'it's not as if you're dying'. Lovely! Now i have to point out that this is not one of the reasons i left Christianity - i continued to have faith at this time. It's only now that i look back and think i was so gullable to have thought that i would have been healed. I wasted time and effort getting my hopes up that this condition would disappear. So, my question as i stated earlier is why does God not always heal?

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I for one would really like to hear an explanation as to who receives these so called miracles and who doesn't, other than an explaination of predestination.

 

My mother in law was one of the most faithful there was. Attended church twice to three times a week, said prayers constantly. Never said a bad word or thought a bad thing about anyone. Gave up her life to Jesus. She wasn't cured, spent agonizing years dealing with several deliberating illnesses and eventually died from them at a young age.

 

And how do you explain a child being taken. An an innocent child who never hurt anyone or even anything. Or explain why the child who was born with MS who is now so advanced in her illness she is bedridden and hasn't been granted a "miracle".

 

Explain to me why I, someone who doesn't believe that God is here today and questions whether God truly ever was, has only minor problems and those that are faithful and believe so reverently in a God have more deliberating illnesses?

 

Go ahead explain why one person receives a "miracle from God" and others don't. And explain how you know it was God who granted that miracle.

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I was raised in the church of god. I'll never forget when I was 5 or 6 one woman "dancing in the spirit" and falling right on top of me. I even remember her name was Sister Dennis. I was scared to death and begged my parents not to take me back to Sister Dennis' church. I remember telling my Mother "don't you shout" ( shouting to us meant jerking, writhing , speaking in tongues, etc.) They said the devil was working through me to try and hinder the spirit. I can still remember the "words" of some of those speaking in tongues. Even though the bible says you're suppose to have an interpreter, people jumped up and spoke in tongues all the time, and when there was an interpreter , they always used thee and thou and such as if the "holy ghost" spoke in old English. I feel foolish believing so long before I opened my eyes.

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So does God just pick and choose who he wants to heal then? Is that fair? When i believed, i occasionally went up to receive prayer from the so-called prayer team (it was like some special club - i can pray better than you can so i should be in it type thing) when they called for those needing healing. I would go up every so often as i have problems with my ovaries (very bad case of PCOS along with other problems) and i'm often confined to bed for days in pain. Along with this i have some pretty unattractive physical symptoms and i've been told i will probably find it very difficult to conceive when the time comes. So i thought as a girl in her early 20's looking to find a partner and settle down to get married, i was a pretty good candidate for God's help. I really believed that through my faith God would heal and i regularly attended services where special 'healer' ministers would attend... i've spent hours and hours receiving prayer and guess what? No result. If anything, my symptoms have become worse over the past few years. I've heard countless explanations from Christians from 'my faith obviously wasn't strong enough and i didn't truly believe' to 'God is testing you' and even 'it's not as if you're dying'. Lovely! Now i have to point out that this is not one of the reasons i left Christianity - i continued to have faith at this time. It's only now that i look back and think i was so gullable to have thought that i would have been healed. I wasted time and effort getting my hopes up that this condition would disappear. So, my question as i stated earlier is why does God not always heal?

 

My mother died from breast cancer. She was the most fundamentalist Christian you'd ever meet. She prayed, everyone prayed, and guess what? She died. Oh, but I guess she wasn't Christian enough. Or it wasn't all in the plan. You know, the plan that god's never told anyone, not even the pope, because us humans just aren't good enough to hear it. But it's perfectly fine to pick and choose which people to murder because they weren't Christian enough, in which case they're going to be in hell and being tortured, or it was all in the f***ing plan. And for the record, that is NOT the only reason I don't believe. But it's a big one. It's right up there with the hell doctrine.

 

:ugh:

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