Saturday

Holy Rollers

I'm a Pentecostal.* I'm not saying it like "I'm an alcoholic." It's not like I need to profess it in a Church rental hall with someone handing out poker chips with how many days I last spoke in tongues. The irony is getting pickled and speaking in tongues were linked on the first day of Pentecost when the inhabitants of the upper room went out on the streets and the passer byes thought they were on a Manischewitz bender. We are the country bumpkin brother of the Church 'Proper.' I wasn't always proud to claim the title Pentecostal, When I was a boy I was taken to an independent Pentecostal Church in east Los Angeles by my Mexican aunts. The service by the end of the night always turned out the same. a racket of overlapping tongue speaking, shaking and jerking with closed eyes, and the occasional rolling on the floor like dropped water bottles. All this to blaring music from an electric guitar, tambourines and Spanish shouting over the loud speakers from the Pastor. What WAS something to edify the Church with someone speaking in an unknown language followed by a clear interpretation from another as mandated by the Apostle Paul, turned into a floor show, a spectacle of blaring and blasting that shook the cottage cheese/glitter specked roof. The events on those warm night made this boy terrified, I couldn't wait to get out of there and away from it. If this was what the Holy Spirit was about, I wanted nothing to do with Him, I didn't even want Him near me. When I was in my teens I cooled it with any kind of Church until I started to go to an Assembly of God Church. The speaking of tongues and interpretation was done right, but that would be eclipsed by church members who smelled the gay stank on me and caused all kinds of problems for the poor Pastor when he wouldn't kick out this quite gay boy who just wanted to love Jesus. It took me years to understand the experiences in my youth had nothing to do with the gentle third person of the Trinity, it was flesh manifesting in those church services, I wish I could have known that then.



*Mainstream Pentecostalism doesn't condone the handling of snakes or drinking of poison in a church service (it's a twisting of Mark 16:17-18 and flys in the face of; "tempting the Lord your God") practiced almost exclusively in the hills of Tennessee.

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