You are never going to believe what happened to me the other day.
Hubby is on this council of local ministers. There are about 12 ministers of various denominations and color who get together once a month to see how they can work together to better the community.
Sometimes they do really good things, like raise money to donate to the local schools, organize volunteers for local non-profits, etc. But several weeks ago someone got a thought in their head and I ended up in the hot seat. They decided they wanted to have a Unity service and get local representatives of the arts, health, law enforcement, schools and one other thing I can't remember to be at the service to be prayed over. They mapped out the service and asked a local "Bishop" to preach a sermon. The service was expected to be one hour long with the sermon being 15 minutes of that time.
Now, the group wanted my boss to come and represent the local arts community since he is the executive director of the local arts council. My boss had a few problems with doing that. First, he is very busy as this is prime grant writing season. But second, he is an openly gay man living with a long time lover. Not the kind of relationship most area churches approve of. So, since I am the director of the local kids' theater and my Hubby was helping to organize this, he asked me to go in his place.
I should have said no. But I have this little problem in that I love my Hubby and try to support him. But I should have said no. I knew better, too. Any time you get a group of pastors together, they feel like they have to out-do each other. In other words, this service was doomed to fail from the outset.
Now, it started out okay, with a really good musical group performing two very long songs. They were a little on the holy roller side and the lead singer was proselytizing a little too much , but they sang well and so I was okay with that. But then the representatives were asked to come forward one at a time to have a preacher chosen just for them pray over them. My "preacher" was a parent of one of my theater kids, so I thought I was safe. The prayers started, only they weren't just prayers. Each pastor needed to have his moment in the spotlight so they were more like homilies (mini-sermons). Each pastor was spending about 7 minutes praying over their person. Remember, this service was supposed to be one hour.
So my turn came and I reluctantly stood up front and the preacher/parent came forward. He is of a Protestant faith, so I really thought I was safe. Really!!! Oh, I was so wrong. He started out by reading a passage from the Bible, but then went on to rant against artists who sin against God. He prayed that God would forgive us for our wicked ways and turn us back towards Him so that our art might glorify Him only. Um...yeah....I may not do religious theater, but I can tell you, none of my theater kids are out there doing Equus. I was furious and felt singled out. If Hubby had not been on the spot, I would have left right then and there.
So by now we are 55 minutes into the service. It is time for the "Bishop" to preach. Only before he preaches, 3 of his 10 sons come onstage (and that's what it was, a stage, not a pulpit) and sang some song. It too was very good, especially since it was all a capella and in perfect pitch, but they took 10 minutes to sing the same damn line. Over and over and over! AND...the woman seated beside me started to speak in tongues. I have never truly been to a Charismatic church and as she babbled, I was going through my head trying to remember if I had ever learned the proper protocol to follow when one "falls out" with the spirit.
But we only had the sermon and one hymn to go and this nightmare of a night would be over. The sermon was going to be 15 minutes. The "Bishop" opened his sermon acknowledging that his wife was his time keeper and he would be brief. ONE HOUR AND 15 MINUTES LATER HE WAS STILL TALKING!!!! He posed and preened onstage, licking his lips and sticking both his butt and his tongue out. He seemed almost serpentine to me, but the crowd seemed to love him. ME? Not so much.
So after 2 hours and 30 minutes I was finally able to take my sinner artist self and escape. But as God is my witness, I will never be prayed over again!