The ‘Simon Says’ Preachers

Prelude

From I have known myself, I have never done something just because someone in authority told me to do it. I did because I want to do it or I am humouring them. I believe that people should do things because they feel a conviction to do it, not because someone told them to do it.

On top of that, I know that people do and say incorrect things because they have been the foolish parrots of some erroneous person. I always think about what I say before I say it. When I decide to say it, it’s because I have already accepted what the consequences may be.

History

Today, at the church I attend when I am at home, an evangelism crusade is in full swing. For the first time in history, today a female preacher spoke in the crusade. She is an evangelist from the church of a prominent Reverend in one of Jamaica’s main towns. His name is so popular that everyone knows his ministry and his family. Anyway, this woman came by recommendation and was passed as one of the 4 speakers.

The Beginning

The sermon/message began and I could tell that she had energy and was ready to deliver.  She started off great with everyone in the congregation giving each other high fives. I eventually began to wonder if she was trying to prove something or had come under some pressure since she now knew that she would be the very first woman to preach in one of our evangelistic crusades.

Her voice was extraordinarily loud. So loud that I got a headache soon after she began and I kept wondering if the speakers had been turned up a bit. Loud I can deal with, but when my ears begin to hurt, that’s my cut off point. Having been trained to use my ears to find out what is wrong in audio then correct and enhance, you can imagine my discomfort.

Then to add to that, she kept saying things like “Tell your neighbour…” I for one find that way too distracting. I won’t get what I’m supposed to get from you if someone keeps breaking my concentration to mumble what you told them to say. But my “Yes Lord, she is one of them”-moment came when she said “Slap your neighbour and tell them…”

Slap your neighbour? Slap? I know she must have meant to say “touch” but I was there waiting for someone to slap me so I could tell them to keep their hands to themselves and not touch me. For the whole service, I had to handle my headache along with the constant nudges from the men to my left and right and the women behind me and to the far right as well.

The End

Then if that wasn’t bad enough, she told the congregation to “knock” (as in on a door). Don’t you just hate when the person behind you or in the same bench as you keeps kicking or rocking the seat you are in? I find it irritating. When the evangelist said knock, all hell broke loose on my chair. What hits it didn’t get is beyond me.

Now I am not one to walk out of church for anything but an emergency but I began to wonder how bad it would look for me to just get up from the front of the congregation with my things and walk out to get some relief. I even considered doing an experiment in church to find the root of the sounds I kept hearing but I wasn’t invisible and didn’t want to draw attention.

Then she invited the congregation to come to the altar. Not the unsaved/sinner but the entire congregation. The church hall can comfortable hold a few hundred people. The section for the altar doesn’t seem to me, to be able to hold 100 persons. Just picture a flow of people leaving their seats holding hands and moving towards the altar. You don’t have to ask if I went anywhere. I am not rebellious just for the sake of being rebellious but I wonder about the logic of many things. By the time the moving stopped. I looked behind me only to confirm what I thought. A good amount of persons had barely moved any great distance from their seats. Why? Because the altar was full, the aisles were full and there was now a standstill with persons who barely out of their rows and nowhere to turn next.

Anyway, I know she had left her mark and will be back, but not before her message tonight. This time I will sit further from the front and closer to the control room. If my ears hurt…and the control room is not at fault…I don’t think I will last. Besides, I’m not in the mood to me told what to do. I want to focus and listen. THAT is how I learn.

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