Jul 12, 2011

Wolves Undercover!

I had a church 'first' this past Sunday.
The James Bond of Christ!

For the first time in my Church life, I attended a Sunday Mass that had no sermon, no preaching but lots of popular entertainment.
A very popular televangelist, Mr Paul Thangiah is a very popular church leader which thousands thronging the residential area where his church is located.
Smartly dressed ushers help pack the thousands into two levels of seating that resembles a poorly designed 18th Century Shakespearean theater.
The 'service' started a good 20 minutes late but enough time for the crowds to stream in until both the floors are packed to capacity.

I'm thinking 'God, bless us when there is a fire or an emergency' because I hardly see any fire rescue or emergency measures. There could be a thousand people packed in that steaming duplex and no sight of a fire extinguisher or Emergency Exits. No signage. Lots of cabling that you can easily trip over.

But that would be the lesser of my worries, because after nearly an hour of loud pop music, lots of clapping and chanting, we finally get to what I guessed would be a bible reading and sermon. How wrong could I have been? A middle aged lady, who looked more like a socialite and a toast mistress than anything to do with a church, stepped up to ask everyone whether they knew what a hat-trick in Cricket meant! Duh! 'Easy, give the lady a chance', I thought. She later went on to quote the definition of the term and then mentioned that 'we' had achieved an hat-trick in the world of christian hymns. The good reverend had won an award for the third year in a row for his christian songs. He later on went on to release a new CD. That's right, a new CD right in the middle of what was supposed to be Holy Mass. Now, dont get me wrong. I applaud the dude for singing his way into the hearts and souls of millions around the world. He even sang two of his songs off his new CD just to whet our appetite.

As if this was not killing me already, the humble reverend went on to quote how 'certain' people are alleging that he has a resort with 15 rooms that he is enjoying. Presumably, the 'allegations are false and completely baseless'. If he had this kind of resort, he would have given it to his workers to stay in.
Now, not that I have any fore knowledge of what he has or how much he owns, but his speech exonerating himself smacked of guilt. Rule of thumb when faced with allegations that are false, or baseless. Ignore them. Don't defend them. By even mentioning them, you are only acknowledging them. The right reverend certainly proved beyond doubt that he was guilty. I don't know nor do I care of what he is guilty of but he should have just kept his mouth shut.
An hour or something later, he stopped. 

Judging by the thronging thousands, I can certify that the good pastor is certainly popular but then isn't entertainment supposed to be popular? Which one of you would like to attend a sitar recital as compared with a rock concert? I would understand if a church is trying to increase the number of it's faithfuls, but do we really need to play to the gallery to get the pews overflowing?

We filed out in a way that resembled movie goers. The next batch of worshipers were awaiting their turn to be spiritually zapped.
As we flow out into the narrow lane and into the path of impatient drivers, we are accosted by beggars and peddlers of virtually every known commodity that you can buy with whatever money is left over after your generous tithes. Almost out of nowhere, a gentleman 'of the church' walked over, interrupting my train of thought and started a conversation. He correctly figured that I was a visitor to the church and offered to patch me through to the pastor and the help group at 'my zone'. He seemed so genial that I didn't have the heart to tell him that I would never be coming back to this church. Not even if this was the last church and I was the last Christian alive. But four minutes later, we have exchanged numbers and he knows my name, and where I am from. Wasn't I taught not to provide such details to complete strangers? Argh..

Post the traumatic series of events this Sunday, I still think this could have been just an anomaly. Just a bad day to have come to this church. I still remember the sermon and value the takeaway that the messages offer.
Enlightened at how innocent the holy man is, my convictions about televangelists have only hardened. Many preach God, or so they would like to believe, so that they appear to be the James Bond of Christ. C'mon guys, who writes these stuff? Why in the world would Christ need a James Bond?
I've had debates with fellow believers and curious non believers who believe Christ is so much more than what you, I or any other generation ahead of us can ever figure out. He is so much more than all our intelligence put together. We need him, more than he needs us.

In hindsight, I can understand why Satan worshipers and atheists are averse to Christianity.
The believers come away disillusioned and the non believers have more reasons to never give us another chance.

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