Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Supplement: Among the Will-Worshippers

Sir Richard Arcos writes: This morning I travelled but a short distance, to the ancient church of St. Barabbas, home of the noted free-will preacher the Rev. Eddie Dantes. The Church was ill attended, although a few extra people were there as the result of a mission. I was treated with great solicitude by the congregation, who had no idea who I was. I suppose a rather distinguished looking gentleman in his eighties is not the normal sort of visitor to this church. The banners attached to the pillars are sewn in gold and silver, being purple. They bear messages like: 'Salvation is of The LORD!' and 'Come to Jesus!' The music is a mix of choruses and hymns altered to fit the modern idiom.

But this is hardly to the point. As far as I'm aware there are so many sorts of churches that do this sort of thing, liberal, conservative, you name it. The sermon was the main point. This was delivered after the singing of several 'come to Jesus' songs, and was heavily laden with emotion. Its structure was something like this:

1. Jesus died to save you (you being the average wallah in the pew). This was a very upsetting thing for him, and for God.

2. If you say 'no' to Jesus, he will be upset.

3. You wouldn't want to upset Jesus, would you?

4. If you keep saying no, then you're a big meanie (this delivered in a choking voice, trying to hold back tears).

5. If you don't come then God'll cry (tears roll down cheek).

6. You must come to Jesus now (both cheeks).

7. Don't delay, or God'll be really upset (sobbing openly).

8. You have to come to Jesus or you'll break God's heart (blubbing like a girl).

After which the invitation is given and the organ plays softly, while the minister weeps and howls.

No comments: