Monday, May 31, 2010

#159-Your Church's version of Morgan Freeman

So some of you may not watch movies much. I don't. But within the motion pictures that I have had the opportunity to observe in the past, one actor will arise within these motion pictures from time to time. His name is Morgan Freeman (pictured above). And basically he is always playing the really really really good guy. Like the moment you see him on the screen your heart will be attached to him whenever you see him on the screen. He is so good in fact that I find myself thinking "I hope it's not Morgan whose the traditional black guy who dies in this movie."

Basically Morgan's role in every movie he play in:

-First he will have an awesome narrator's voice accompanying the story ( I think I saw a facebook group that was defined as "I wish Morgan Freeman's voice would narrate my life.)

-He's an old, wise black sage who never complains and always comes across very humbly, and seems to always speak less than he really knows, but yet when he does speak, you know it's like the voice of God has spoken (so much so that Morgan Freeman has played God in a couple of movies and you didn't get mad about it)....Ultimately he's so lovable because he is content in all his ways, and will be the hero of the movie's helper and aide without desiring the bigger spotlight.

Examples: The Bucket List, the Dark Knight, Bruce and Evan Almighty, Million Dollar Baby, Driving Miss Daisy (personal fav), Amistad, Glory the Shawshank Redemption.

But what does it all Mean?

From what I can tell, God has providenced that at least one of these Morgan Freeman types to appear in every church across the world. 

They do all the work. Especially the dirty work of the church. They seem to posses the most profound wisdom in the world, but have really taken the "be slow to speak" proverb to heart and thus never verbally showcase their wisdom as if it was a full house in a game of poker. Yet this silence makes them appear all the more enlightened. The Morgan Freeman of church is always willing to help anyone and everyone no matter the hour or day. Never a complaint. Always a helping hand. 

And here's the sickest part about them: They NEVER EVER WANT THE RECOGNITION! For goodness sake, one of the Morgan Freeman's of my church does most of his work in the wee hours of the morning when no one else can see him....he doesn't need a sign up sheet to help clean up. He's just there.

I can recall 2 of these Morgan Freeman giants in my childhood at my church. I once recounted to my mother at an early age that these same two characters would no doubt be at the left and right hand of God....

And I don't think I was that far off...."those who will be last will be first."..."the Son of Man did not come for other people to serve him, but to serve, and to give (Mk 10:45)..."

And I can't tell you how many times I have been silently grateful to these Morgan Freeman's in my life, without saying a single's like my words are not worthy to complement such remarkable people. The disconnect between a mere complement and the amount of service these servants of the church have given is wider then the Grand Canyon. And as one of those Morgan Freeman's of my childhood passed away this past year, I don't even find myself regretting it not extending the verbal thanks. Because I now realize the kind of thanks they would appreciate....Would be for me to try to serve as they have served the church, for they are serving after the perfect model of Christ as servant....

(apologies for the seriousness of this's something I have been wanting to write for weeks now, but have not found the proper analogy of the church servant until tonight when Driving Miss Daisy came to mind)....

Friday, May 28, 2010

#158-Soapboxing with the Microphone

This one isn't profound, I thought we'd take a break from the heavy stuff, hopefully you get a laugh out of it. Now, I’ll be straight up with this one. Anytime you put a microphone in someone’s hand, the things that they say are more than likely going to be inflected by their personal opinions, desires, etc.

With that said, soapboxing with a microphone isn’t particularly unique to Apostolics, but I’d like to think that we do it with our own style and flair. I cherish that moment when, during intercessory prayer, the current leader with the microphone makes a statement/series of statements that elicit looks of incredulity and/or mild humorous reactions from those around me.

I think it’s possible to divide the types of prayer soapboxing into a few very common categories, which are by no means exhaustive:

Political: Self-explanatory. Ranges anywhere from disparaging particular political candidates/parties to ranting against the evils of socialism to diagramming the formation of the one-world government (the special ones can offer a time-frame). Generally begins with, “I’m not trying to make a political statement here, but….”

Confessional/Therapeutic: This type is usually reserved for the worship leader who feels impressed to interrupt the song service and talk about how terrible their day/week/month/year has been. In short, the devil’s really fought them and life generally stinks, but, this one particular song they’re about to play has come direct from God and offered hope, for them and for you. Occasionally happens during prayer service, but certainly not as common as during choir/worship.

Revenge/Spirit-Shank: Please note that this type is completely different from a praise/victory report. This has some connection, albeit dimly, to the confessional type, in that it begins by talking about how deeply the speaker has been afflicted, but the narrative ends by making some sort of triumph/snide promise of revenge against indeterminate individuals/groups. Names/specifics aren’t going to be mentioned, but they know what they did and God’s got it taken care of. (I’d say this type is rare and overall difficult to identify if you aren’t privy to the parties involved).

Rant/Apologetic: Akin to the ‘airing of grievances’ at a Festivus celebration and by far the most entertaining. This can involve colorful commentaries on society in general or particular age-groups/ethnicities. It can also serve as an opportunity to justify one’s actions or lifestyle to the church, a sort of defense if you will. Naturally this category has elements in common with the ones above and it’s a little difficult to describe, so, I’ll offer two particularly entertaining examples below.

1: This one was a rant by an angry father on an otherwise typical Wednesday night. He began by praying for this generation of youth, that they would strive for God and seek His face. It then devolved into why the youth didn’t seek God and the sorts of things they did instead, which included: not mowing the lawn when their father told them, disobeying their mother, making rude remarks back, not dressing appropriately for church, and not cleaning their room. I’ve forgotten some of the other allegations, but with each one his voice raised higher and higher. Immediately half of the church looked over to the youth section where his oldest son sat; the bewildered deer-in-the-headlights look on his face said it all. The father, breathing raggedly and sweating mildly handed the microphone back to the pastor. Laughter was stifled until after service, but only through great effort.

2: During another service one of the members of our church was so caught up in worship that he felt the need do cartwheels in the altar—and not halfway ones, but full-fledged, flamboyant cartwheels, like the ones my little sister used to do. A few of us passed each other wide-eyed glances and chuckled about it after church (true to form, in a parking lot, I believe), but there was really nothing more to it—or so we thought. The next day during a Monday night service, the cartwheeler was given the microphone to lead prayer. He immediately launched a defense of his cartwheels from the night before. Memory fails, but they went something to the effect of (shouting at the top of his lungs), “God, I love you! I love you so much that I’ve just gotta worship you and if it comes in the form of cartwheels or backflips or whatever, well, I don’t care!! If anybody wants to judge me or criticize me for it, then they’ll be judged by you!” Laughter once again had to be suppressed.

I’d like to try something different here. Let’s try a user generated post (sort of) by having you the readers offer your own stories of humorous soapboxing with the microphone. So, if you’ve got a great story, please take some time to write it up and post it in your comment!

NOTE: Use some common sense, please. No names or any sort of specifics. Also, no expletives, epithets, or anything overtly explicit/inappropriate. They’ll have to be deleted otherwise. Remember, this is done not with a spirit of reproach or criticism, but out of humor, like telling stories about your crazy family that you still love. Let’s keep this fun and light!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#157-Passing New Babies like they're Hot/Not Crying Babies/Backroom spankings

(Caption: Yes, that's Chris Brown with a baby...and yes I think it's funny).

Babies in church are almost as popular as a testimony of a formerly trinitarian pastor coming to believe in a oneness position. 

While I personally can't stand babies in their lack of self-reliance and inability to be self-aware, and thus have argued so in my post about baby dedications, I will choose to remove whatever bias I have against these strange creatures in order to analyze their purpose amidst our church bodies. 

The Good of the Babies

In short, the babies allow former mothers of babies, potential mothers, and expectant mothers to practice their maternal instincts. It is for this reason that babies get passed back and forth among the hungry arms of church females like it was 2003, and the babies were the atkins diet. Baby Holding Hunger (BHH) amongst apostolic females is quite a funny site for the outsider looking in. Because BHH sees this trend: 

-Woman walks over to mother holding 4 month old baby after church. 
-Woman talks to mother about how cute the baby is and pinches baby on face.
-Woman asks if she can hold baby
-Mother fears that woman has contagious disease but folds under the pressure and give up possession of baby.
-Woman stares into babies eyes deeply as she holds it. 
-Baby doesn't understand it's self existence let alone the existence of the crazy women who is staring at him.
-Woman starts making all kinds of obnoxious noises  "goo goo" and "gah gah" out of her mouth as if to attempt to speak "baby language" Which is completely non-existent (unless you have seen Baby Geniuses).
-Baby gets freaked out and starts crying
-Baby thus induces the power to go back to his true mother 
-Next Step: Trend repeats for the evening except with a new woman each time going through the same process. 

And all this baby-passing stuff generates within the mind of "potential mother" in apostolic teenagers is the following:


And thus all endeavors are put on hold in a apostolic teens life other than: 


And the cycle continues, ad infinitum. 

And behind this trend, is that of BHH....

Should we fight it? 

No! For the woman in relation to desiring a baby is the most unstoppable force in the world. 

Crying Babies

Ah the crying baby during church service. What a paradoxical event. For as much as we apostolics love babies, we equally love the sermon. So when these two passions find themselves on a crash course for who is truly in power within the church, nothing but confusion and awkward silence usually ensues.

Has anyone noticed that babies only cry during the most silent and intense parts of the preaching? And at no other time? This surely is not a coincidence. And here I suspect that babies can have more intelligence than we had initially thought possible in consideration of the small cranial capacity. 

For surely the baby is lying in wait during the entirety of the service looking for the opportune time to attack to assert their dominance over the preacher. And thus at the precise moment that the congregation has gone on forgetting about the love of baby, and has thus focused all energies on the preacher, the baby rears itself head with a heart-pounding sob. 

Much to the embarrassment of parent.

But alas, the baby is winner. As heads will turn. And pastor will stand awkwardly because he knows you can never get mad at a baby. Ever.

that is until....

The Backroom Spanking during service
To a child, there is one thing worse than a parent who is set on punishing their child for wrongdoing: A parent who is embarrassed  who is set on punishing the child for wrongdoing.
And thus when a baby cries during service, he not only demands punishment, but also will be reaping the punishments from a parent who is embarrassed of the crying during service.

In my church, spanking happened in the kitchen. I don't know where it happens at your church. But I assure you whichever room it happens in, will cause the child years of traumatic spite and fear of that room that will take years of adolescence to fully recover from (I am thankful that the kitchen in which I was frequently spanked during in service transgressions was destroyed shortly after the age of 10). 

Monday, May 24, 2010

#156-Thinking Having the Holy Ghost Makes You Superhuman

The Holy Ghost is fantastic. It's one of the things that gets me excited about being Apostolic. The power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost as a comforter. Speaking in tongues. Witnessing someone receive the infilling of the Holy Ghost for the first time. Fire. Catharsis. A guide. An intercessor. God dwelling within me.

However . . .

The power to overcome sin ≠ less inclined to commit sin
The Holy Ghost is definitely a big dose of supernatural help, but it doesn't change our human natures. I've been told many times "You have the Holy Ghost!" in an incredulous tone by someone trying to exhort me or admonish me in the Lord, especially by those old faithfuls whose young days were lived out in revelry. Example:

"When I was your age, I lived like a heathen. Sure did. I didn't know the Lord. I was involved in all kinds of crazy things and it's only by the grace of God that I'm here today. But you . . . raised up in this precious faith. You have the Holy Ghost!" (read: How dare you act like a human being?)

The takeaway
You were once young, did whatever you wanted (you didn't have the Holy Ghost, so you can't be blamed) but now that you're older and wiser and found the Lord, you're good. I, young as you once were, am barred from succumbing to human frailty because I have the Holy Ghost (therefore the reasons you did stupid stuff when you were young are non-existent for me). No slack is cut for me because, by golly, I have the Holy Ghost! I'm supposed to be above failure.

The reality
I'm thankful for the Holy Ghost. His spirit within me is one of the ways I know He's real. But it doesn't erase our humanity. As much as I wish it did, the Holy Ghost does not make people superhuman. I mean, who wouldn't want to leap tall buildings in a single bound?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

#155-The Fallback Prayer

First, sorry for the lack of posts this week. Last week of finals. But I swear it's done for a while (at least until I go to St. Louis next month). 

Ah, the joys of prayer in church. It is the one time when we gather together as a body of believers to get some extra gathered spiritual power within ourselves to get things done. While taken out of context, we know the classic line "when two or three are gathered in my name...."

And during church, the prayers can be many addressing different topics from missionaries, to more common prayer requests.

However, these prayers are usually led by ministers of the church be it elders or pastors. And elders and pastors' ability to wax eloquent within the prayers and expound on them to great lengths can occasionally cause a slight mental crisis.

In short: What in the world do we do when the prayers are still going on via minister on platform, but we have accomplished what we deem sufficient to to make our petitions properly known to God?

Another question: What in the world do we do when we accidentally zone out during service and come to and when we come to we find the church in mass prayer, but yet we have no idea what to pray for?

The answer to both these questions is that we know we can't stop praying. If we stop praying, it looks really really bad. It looks like you just don't care to the rest of the congregation. When the rest are leaping through spiritual hurdles to accomplish a task that requires the moving of a mountain into the sea, how dare we blankly stare at such a critical time as this. 

So what do we do?

Well we gotta keep praying!

But what do we pray?

"The Fall back prayer."

Now there is no systematic fall back prayer for everyone. In fact, each fall back prayer is probably unique to yourself because no one will ever teach it to you, nor will it ever be taught to you. Rather, the fall back prayer is born in each one of us as we find ourselves needing to fill in these gaps of extended prayer that happen from time to time in which we find ourselves unable to match the length and depth of the prayer of a minister from the pulpit. 

So we thus develop a fall back prayer. And in short, it's practical value is that it makes it appear you are praying by onlookers in church. Not to mention it probably has some spiritual utility as well as some prayer is better than no prayer.

And this fall back prayer is simple those one or two or three catch phrases you say during these times of exhaustive prayers. You may not even notice you are saying them. As it is quite possible to find your mental capacities on check out mode during prayer but yet your subconscious knows that "check out mode" is not acceptable during church time. So it subconsciously brings to the forefront of your consciousness the few catch phrases you have going in your "fall back prayer" repertoire.

Fore some the fall back prayer is as short as repeatedly saying "Jesus" or "Glory!" or "Yes, Lord" over and over again (for is not the power of the request determined by it being in His name?) For others it may be simple fall back words of praise "Jehovah Jirah" or "Jesus you are King" or  "Thank you God."

Note that since so many of my words are being twisted lately, I am not saying such words are of no significance, I am just saying that these powerful statements become the crux of our fall back prayers. 

I know of one friend who has opted to just start straight quoting some of his favorite secular songs. And thus he does so quietly, but to the onlooker it looks like he is in sincere prayer. (I do not endorse this method). 

My personal strategy is more built around someone who is in sincere prayer and extend an arm in their direction and thus focus my energies on that particular person (I assure you my prayers are sincere, but I would be misleading you if I did not acknowledge the dual-benefit of this prayer as a secondary motive: It also looks like I am busy praying)...This method is of course not dissimilar from a post by Chantell.

Monday, May 17, 2010

#154-Prayer as a video game

One of my bff's made a comment and it went something like this...

"You know what I get frustrated about? How it takes me a long time in prayer to be able to speak in tongues but yet some people can just speak it tongues in the first 30 seconds of prayer..."

And not within one minute later did we have the idea for this post...

You see for the vast majority of us....Prayer can be a very tenacious effort.....

Like a video game...

Of course the ultimate goal of a video game is to defeat the game, the process itself is where the enjoyment is to be had, and much effort and failures along the way as well...

So for most of us we start prayer like the first level of a video game....

Level 1

For beginners, the first level is all about learning the controls....the A button jumps and the B button shoots fireballs...

In prayer, like the need to understand the controls in a video game, it's the easy but necessary stuff one must learn in order to play the game (who you are praying to, what we are praying for, the need for prayer, etc...)

But for the the veteran of prayer, the first level of prayer can be done in your sleep like the first level of a video game. It's quite routine. Usually it revolves around the same 5 or 10 phrases of praise and thankfulness that we have grown so customary too (regretfully we do level 1 so much, that a lot of times it can lose it's meaning)....Bottom Line: Our level 1 is the praise and thanksgiving to God of Who He is. Before we can even begin to think about ourselves and our needs, we must put ourselves into perspective of the Infinite God before us and his displays of love on that cross and resurrection.

If you want to advance anywhere in prayer, you must have the praise. Like a video game, you cannot bypass level 1 at all. It is an absolute necessity.


Of course in our generation, we can be guilty of the sin of distraction far more than those before us. We may be headlong in our video game of prayer, but alas there are many obstacles that we will face in prayer that are not necessarily wrought by the Enemy himself, but rather are there in our own mental weaknesses and our inability to stay focused. Text messages, phone calls, visual distractions, facebook...all of these serve as possible barriers that while minute in themselves can certainly be our ends in the video game of prayer....

Bad Guys
Perhaps the most peculiar part  of prayer for the younger generation is spiritual warfare, where in our prayers, we may become face to face with these strange demonic forces that are wreaking spiritual havoc in our material universe. It's such a weird aspect to our prayer, that more times than not we are just ignoring the spiritual realm as if like the child who covers his eyes with his hands will somehow make the fire he started in his bedroom nonexistent. Needless to say, while not necessary for our ability to pray, and no matter how much we want to ignore the spiritual unseen universe because it's far too vague and irrational, we must always remember it is present and quite biblical. 

At the same token,  as for those who do endeavor consistently to fight the demons in is here more than anyone else that their prayer life reflects that of an actual video game...

Defeat by obstacle or by enemy can lead to....

Ah the painful agony of death in the video game. Of course you don't physically die, but it's more about the time you wasted in getting to a certain point in the video game and having to start all over again either at the beginning of the level or the checkpoint.

Should you fall victim to the mental traps of distraction, your train of thought is lost and it's like all your momentum you had going into that prayer is lost.....

Should the enemy get you down enough, you may even have trouble defeating level 1 of prayer...

Either way, when we die in prayer, we learn how much we need some kind of supernatural help to get us by. And thus we learn our weakness (repentance), and how great it is that our ability to defeat the prayer game is not up to our finite abilities but rather aided along the way by a  strategy guide of sorts (i.e. Bible).

Okay, while I could get loss in many other terrible half-hearted analogies between video game and prayer, I will jump to the whole reason why the post was created...

The Boss

Okay, while the comparison here is no way a perfect analogy...but bare with me...

For many of us apostolics, the ultimate ends of prayer is speaking in tongues....

Since the initial evidence of the holy ghost in us is speaking in tongues, we somehow have culturally made the speaking tongues the desired climax of prayer (although, interestingly, Paul lists those who have the gift of tongues as the least of all offices within the church)....Whether for better or worse, speaking in tongues is the epitome of the apostolic prayerful experience....

And as my friend pointed out, you gotta go a long way in prayer to get to the point where your spirit is impressed to speak these divine utterances which no man can understand.....

Tongues then is the final boss at the last level (or the last level in each series of levels).

But what about those my friend brought up who seem to have it so good that there is no challenge to get to tongues but rather are heard praying in tongues less than a minute into prayer?

Game Cheats/Secret Code

.....(prepare for complete nostalgic early-to-mid-90's flashback).....

It seems that some have been born with the unique ability to put in cheat codes in their prayer to have infinite health in their prayer life and also to skip levels at will...

It is they who can speak in tongues at will....

And it is them whose house I will go over constantly to play the video game at....

Because who doesn't love infinite ammo and the ability to skip levels when a level gets too difficult?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Holy Magic Hair Update

Alright, I won't be able to post today because of a final due tonight. (maybe tomorrow?)

But in the meantime, I wanted to ring up something i just found about....Holy Magic Hair (not again!)

One of the endearing points of HMH advocates is that the idea that there is power in uncut hair can be verified in the wicca religion where the witches believe there is power in uncut hair.

Such proof can be seen in the message that is pro-HMH  that I posted under the HMH post....

Another HMH advocate posted in her blog:

Did you know that witches won't cut their hair because they try to tap into the power promised to us in 1Cor 11? Do you know why Indians used to scalp their enemies? Do you know why Nuns and Buddhist monks shave their hair? What does tar and feathering mean? Do you know who it was that first starting the hair cutting trend? What date was that? What about the hippie movement?
What significance is there when hair is found at the scene of a crime?

Daniel Alicea, the man who operates, found in his research that...

"Most wiccan witches agree that there is no added or extra power in uncut hair while recognizing it is used in ritual magic...but so is eye newt, toe of frog...wool of bat and tongue of dog."

He even quotes one wiccan saying "Hair does not give you extra power and you don't lose power if it's cut."

There is a whole forum that Alicea found that sees wiccans discussing this exact topic and the conversation is eerily reminiscent at points to how we discuss HMH, but as not to offend with this matter, I won't post the link (since it was a Wiccan site). 

NOTE: I am not looking for a big conversation on this one guys. I just felt the information was too relevant not to post.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#153-The Founding Fathers

Ah yes, the beautiful joy of the thought of Christendom. A human kingdom that is governed under the laws of Christianity.  For surely, once Christianity rules the government, then we will have heaven on earth. At least in the country we live in. And no greater is this prospect of a Christian kingdom available than that which is present in the United States. Beautiful democracy will get us to the sweet by and by. And the United States will and should be leading us to such a prospect of a "Christian nation."

So as those socialist, communist, pagan worshiping atheists try and take over our country, we must stand strong and remember and remind everyone else that we are a "Christian nation." And that the founding fathers, (e.g. George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams,  James Madison, John Jay, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine) founded this nation with the aims for the United States to be a Christian Nation.

So we shout to the God of heaven to help us in this time of crisis. Gays are marrying. Universal healthcare is authorized. Aids is being implanted on anyone the government wills. Alas, our nation has gone wayward and away from it's Christian roots.

Sound the Alarms!

Vote Palin 2012! (sarcasm implied).

And we also like pointing out that separation of church and state is found no where in the constitution. 

And amidst this decrepit nation, we have somewhere along the way forgot to check out the facts....

The United States was never nor was ever intended to be a Christian nation. 

While Christianity was the underlying ideology of the US en masse at the founding of the nation, this had absolutely no bearing on the principles the government was based in. Rather the government was based in a lot of philosophy that was going around in it's day and also the magna carta (if you are not sure what the magna carta is please see the wikipedia article because frankly i don't even remember what it says, I just know it was made by the British in like 1200 A.D. or something)...

As per the philosophy of the day....

there was a popular little idea called Deism.

And you're probably not going to like what it is.

Deism basically says God created the universe and peaced out. Meaning after the earth was created by God, He kind of just let it be bound by the laws of nature.  This meant that no miracles ever occurred because God never interacted with His creation. This also meant that most of the bible was false.

So what's the big deal about this deism that was so popular in the days of the founding fathers....

well these guys believed in it.....
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • John Adams
  • George Washington (Maybe)
  • James Madison
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Alexander Hamilton (Maybe)
  • Thomas Paine
Notice that the constitution never mentions Christ. Notice that any reference to a deity is precisely that...The deity is purposefully written about as "God" and nothing more. With this in mind, we have no more claim over this nation than the Muslims or Jews do who also believe in "God." Thomas Jefferson originally did not want any reference to God in the Declaration of Independence. 

For goodness sake, Thomas Jefferson created his own bible which crossed out any reference to Jesus doing anything miraculous (because miracles weren't possible), and thus TJ believed that Jesus was a great moral teacher but nothing more....(that means he didn't believe Jesus ever resurrected)

So if they founders weren't very Christian in their beliefs, how do we confuse the idea that this is a "Christian nation?" 

Beats me. All i know is the new testament repeatedly has us not relying on the government for our religion for Romans 13 tells us that the government was simply created by God to command justice on earth.

And people may wonder what the big deal is....

We cannot count on the government to serve as our guide for Christianity nor Christian morals. We may and should vote as per the voice we are entitled to in this republic,  but to confuse America as being responsible to possess our Christian ideologies is near idolatrous as we then put our trust in a  human government that claims to represent God and thus allow us to  forsake our obligations to God himself...

Note: The words "In God we trust" were not in US currency until the 1950's.

(here's the link to my book again (see post #152 for more explanation):

Monday, May 10, 2010

#152-Holy Ghost Bumper Cars/Ring of Safety

Preface: I hope this needn't be said, but in the following post I am in no way attacking the move of the Holy Ghost. I am in love with our emphasis on the revelation of Spirit in our denomination and the promotion of the experience of having a direct personal encounter with God. I pray we never shy away from it no matter how uncomfortable it may make some of us. That said, what is commented on in this post is the cultural occurrence that is seen in many of churches on how people tend to act out what they feel inside when they "get it."

In many a service, there comes a moment or two, or ten in which a few or perhaps many within the congregation parade themselves up to the altar either at the call of the Holy Ghost or at the expectation for something to happen once at the altar. It is in these moments that many occurances are to be expected, much of which is dependent on the style of music being played. If the song is fast expect jumping, running, and dancing. If the music a bit on the slower side expect mannerisms of submission and humility such as tears and knees bowed low. All this becomes a part of something I call Altar anthropology. Altar anthropology and the culture it creates has a life of it's own (e.g. the gang prayercovering ladies legs who are slain in the spirit, or the altar hierarchy) and this post seeks to dissect another portion of it...

In short, the portion under the spotlight here is based on the tendency towards slightly controlled chaos at the altar amidst dance. Most of the dancing is acted out by the female gender, but that is not to say the male is above such practice, but rather that it is more rare of a sight.

So when a saint starts really "getting it" at the altar, the church knows the service has break out potential. But what is more of interest to me is the actions that usually result when a women starts really getting it. First, if she goes unprotected (more on that below), she is like a bull in a china shop. Her heart is so near to God at this point that the material universe becomes an after thought and it is at this point that we get Holy Ghost bumper cars...where collisions may inevitably happen should not other brothers and saints of the Lord aid the one who is really "getting it." Most dangerous to the Holy Ghost bumper car action is if one starts "getting it" and there is another saint nearby who is slain in the spirit. This becomes that much more urgent of a scenario should the one "getting it" have high heels on.

But alas, the HG bumper cars are usually just a threat and nothing more, because we have a very organized institution built around the very action of someone "getting it" at the altar. This is where we bring in the next topic on this post: the "Ring of Safety" aka The Holy Ghost flotation device.

The Ring of the safety has usually 2-3 women aiding the female who is "getting it." Their first goal is to continue to encourage the worship of the one "getting it." But secondarily, and almost equally important is the task of the ring of safety to secure a "safe zone" whereby the woman "getting it" can move about freely at the altar within the determined perimeters set for her by the ring of safety volunteers. Should the women "getting it" wander off to a border region of the ring of safety, she will be gently aided back into the central region of the ring of safety.

 It is here that the ring of safety acts as the Holy Ghost flotation device for within a flotation device one can freely move about the waters with passionate curiosity and awe without fear of succumbing to the tide or gravitational pull of the waters. Likewise the women who finds herself in a "ring of safety" is free to move about the region with passionate curiosity and awe and not have to worry about possible harm to fellow altar seekers nearby. 

It is here a 3:1 ratio can be found within our altars of women getting it. As for every one lady "getting it" there are 2 women sacrificing their altar time for the safety of one women to get the HG.

Sidenote: Completely off topic, but I realized after the scandal of the HMH post that people are not getting to see a whole other side of me, in consideration of what the material of SAL covers and it's limitations in content. Only so much personality can come across in blog. So I am offering an opportunity for a little window of my theology in a less satirical, but more positive light.

That said, if anyone's interested I naively wrote a book of sorts in the second half of 2008. It's kind of auto-biographical and kind of trying to my best C.S. Lewis impression (which I failed horribly). And after rereading some brief sections I find that I even disagree with a few things I wrote (nothing that controversial, but rather a shift in my theology at parts). Let me emphasize, the book is nothing like what you read on SAL. So please do not expect a repeat of the content you see here.

 I think I did the necessary stuff for copyrighting, but that said I would obviously ask that the book be used for personal use, and not for financial gain, and should you choose a heist of sorts, please take all profits and give it to the poor. Also, the book only went through 1.5 edits meaning it's going to be rough at points and also with more than a few errors. 

Click here for a link to the file  (You can read it  entirely on the site or you can click the "download" button on the top right hand corner once at the site)

Should anyone actually read the book I am very curious to hear your thoughts (critiques, criticisms, and complements). 

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. Holy Magic Hair unleashed A Tale of Two Cities up in here. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Bringing out the Charles Dickens and the French Revolution in folks. For real.

Take me back, dear Lord
I feel led to take SAL back. Get old school and Andrae Crouch on y'all. Back to those good old days when our controversies were simpler, more removed from indicators of the destination of our eternal souls, and could be avoided with simple semantic sleights (lovers of alliteration, I did that for you). Remember "monitors," y'all? Remember when getting all Hamlet ("to have or not to have") with regards to television was a big deal? ::sentimental sniff::

Television vs. Monitors
I remember it well. I remember those days when it was of utmost Pentecostal correctness to make a distinction between "television" and "monitor." "Television" = hellivision, the one-eyed devil and the cause of the unraveling of the moral fabric of our society. "Monitor" = good, wholesome holy contraption on which you would watch Anne of Green Gables and Old Yeller. If you came into the home of a true Apostolic and mistakenly referred to the screen on which their VHS collection of Hallmark movies was displayed as a sinnerly "TV," do you remember the gasps you elicited followed by a quick correction of "It's a monitor, not a TV since we don't watch TV on it"? I do. ::nostalgic sigh::

As I matured in the Lord, I learned that using a TVish screen to watch, say, a DVD of the first season of Lost, is acceptable, whereas watching Lost on ABC is not. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to me.

Enter the Internet
But as is wont to happen in the 21st century, technology throws a monkey wrench into our previously held, 20th century concepts. Thanks a lot, Al Gore. Thanks to your invention, I can no longer make black and white distinctions because the Internet essentially blurred the TV/monitor line. Thanks for essentially erasing my path back to that old landmark. How can I find my direction and get that love placed down in my heart when one of the most vivid lines between the secular and sacred in my fight to live holy has been stripped away from me? Blast you, postmodernism!

Good old fashioned _______
I know the remedy. You know how we always need some good old fashioned whatever to make things better? Some good old fashioned preaching. Some good old fashioned prayer. Some good old fashioned singing. Well, by golly, we need some good old fashioned proponents of monitors. Its semantic usage has declined in recent years due to the advent of the 21st century, but I say we need to bring it back. How many of you will take a stand with me for using the word "monitor" to describe a TVish thing that's not a TV in your home? ThankyaJaysus.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

#150-Holy Magic Hair (sort of)

Preface: As with many posts, the claims made in this post are far from being definitive to the whole apostolic movement. In fact I has been very surprised and pleased with the openness of many apostolic officials and higher ups to denounce the doctrine of "magic hair" as a heresy in recent months. It must also be noted that whatever controversy may be derived from this post, the thoughts are not really my own. Many men more articulate and intelligent than I have already tried to openly combat this theory and have done so in a far more effective fashion than I could. For the most comprehensive understanding of Holy magic hair, please visit Also note that this is not a criticism anyway in uncut hair, nor is it advocating hair cutting. I'm critiquing a doctrine that has developed around long hair.

Okay, when I originally started SAL, I had a post about HMH (holy magic hair) in mind. However, after a beloved teacher of mine spoke out against it in an issue of the pentecostal herald, I thought the issue was a dead one (if the UPC is officially taking a stance against it, then it should be a moot point right?). So I moved on thinking people came to their senses about the concept that there is some mystical/magical/protective power in uncut hair on females.

 But the other day I received an e-mail from past contributer Ryan Evans about the following story that really embodies the idea surrounding holy magic hair:

(there was) "A lady who's son was in an accident and she got to the scene and let down her hair and laid it over him and he was healed."

The whole thing derives from I Corinthians 11:10-"For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head."

Somewhere along the line people decided that the above line meant that there was magical powers in uncut hair. Also note that anyone who claims that they assuredly know what this verse actually means is a man who wants his own opinions to play god over the Word simply because no one can say with certainty what this verse means. Really, almost every scholar will admit that there is so much ambiguity and confusion about the verse that all one can do is speculate about it.

But what do some misinformed ideologues of our movement do with this verse? Why they did what anyone else would do if you wanted to help polarize an entire movement without actually understanding how to properly interpret the significance of the cross and resurrection of Christ...they made a fascinating doctrine out of the verse!

That's right folks, it is not uncommon to go to camp and revival services in some sectors and find women being lauded to unravel their hair and pray over prayer requests, offering, or people with a terrible and seemingly uncontrollable case of "the swears."

But that's church stuff....Anyone who is apostolic knows that part of the joy of being apostolic is that some really cool stuff can happen in church but as a slight (but still manageable) cost, weird stuff happens in church as well...

But it appears this whole "power" in the hair thing is going mainstream and out of our church walls (hence the story of the mother praying for her son in a car accident)...

And somehow deep inside the whims of my soul, I'm doing this kind of thing in response:

Bottom line, people think there is safety and protection and healing powers in the hair of apostolic female's hair.

And you may wonder why it even matters...

And I posit that this more than many controversies surrounding our movement right now needs to be stopped...because it is the utmost detriment to an understanding of the saving power of Jesus....

Let me tell you a conversation I had with a female very close to my heart not too long ago that I think embodies what's wrong with a belief in Holy Magic hair. The kindhearted lady was retelling a story of how her friend's kid was confident in his journies as a youth that he would be safe because of his mother's uncut hair covering him on his travels.

This is where the conversation kicks off...

Me: Do you think your uncut hair protects your household in some sense?

Lady: Yes, I think angels are watching over my family because of my glory (hair).

Me: So do you think that protection would be lost should you cut your hair?

Lady: Yes.

Me: Do you think God loves you and your family whether you cut your hair or not?

Lady: I have no doubts that he will always love me and my family.

Me: But you are telling me that God's love and his ability to protect you has it's limits?

Lady: What do you mean?

Me: You just told me that God's protection is dependent on you not cutting your hair. Meaning that there are limits to God's love and further his love is limited to you not cutting your hair.

Lady: What does protection have to do with love?

Me: Think about a father who is standing outside his burning house and his two twin boys are standing in their upper story bedroom window as a fire is consuming the boys' bedroom. The boys have but no choice than to jump into the father's arm for safety. Now one of the boys, Marty, is a fantastic young lad. He is always well behaved and very obedient. He jumps and his dad catches him, happy to have his boy alive. 

Now consider the other boy, Jacob. He is less well behaved. In fact he's a brat. He is always wreaking havoc, making kids cry via wet willies, and flat out disobedient, He also has a fondness to poop his pants just to tick his parents off that much more.

Now, do you think the dad is going to think twice about not catching this boy because his son is so evil? 

Of course not. The father's love is not dependent on how misbehaved his child is. 

(end conversation)

The point is, that somewhere along the way, the HMH advocates have decided God's love wasn't enough. They have said the cross is nice and it gets a saved and everything, but the blood of Christ and it's protection and mercy and grace have it's limits. Therefore, they argue that We NEED to do more to ensure God's love. We need to have our ladies not cut our hair, and only then can we enjoy the full benefits of God's love.

Note this has nothing to do with obedience/disobedience. Of course we are supposed to respond to obedience to God's Word on the understanding of God's love for us nailed to that cross and the transformation process that His Holy Spirit will enact in us. But all of this is fully reliant and dependent on the cross and the blood that Jesus shed for us.

What HMH advocates are saying is that we need the cross AND something else for God's mystical powers and His angels to have full power in this world. In such an instance, the cross is not enough. We need more than what Christ offered for us!

As Kurtz would say as he was dying in Apocalypse Now:

"The Horror...The Horror!"

In Galatians, Paul got mad at the Judaizers for saying the cross was not enough for salvation. They said it helped, but to become a fully restored Christian, one must get circumcision.

In other words: Circumcision + Jesus=Salvation

Now according to HMH, God' love and protection is dependent on hair length as well as Jesus....

Not much has changed....

Also if you want a kind of manifesto of holy magic hair check out this video (I have not watched it in over a year because of how mad it makes me...the idea that the speaker uses witchcraft practices as an indicator of truth in power of hair is very sad. I guess that means we should all wear the color red as much as possible too because that is a doctrine of traditional witchcraft as well...)

(source of video:

Update: After listening to a part of the message below, he mentions the story of the woman whose son lived from a car accident because of her hair.

Holy Magic Hair- Taught by Lee Stoneking

Holy Magic Hair | MySpace Video