Wow! July was a busy month – only one blog post! That’s pretty sad! What can I say – a lot has happened in my life! I almost don’t know where to start! I’ve been pretty busy with the various volunteer jobs I do, but I’ve also done a few memorable things lately! A couple of weekends ago, I went to a tent meeting in Meander River, which is a small native reserve about 60 km north of High Level. It was in a lovely setting, a grassy field along the banks of the Meander River (no surprise there), with the tent set up and various camper trailers around it, wagon-train style. J This is not my first tent meeting, by any means, and it reminded me very much of a tent meeting that was No Idols first gig (the band I was in)!! It was neat. I met a man who was sort of helping with the meetings, and he told me that the organizers and their team travel from the middle of June to the beginning of September (or end of August) doing these meetings all over northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC, NWT, and Yukon – they are so dedicated! After the music, which was played by a group even larger than No Idols – 11 musicians! – there was a brief welcome message, prayer and more music. Then they had a testimony time, which is church-talk for open mic! Several people talked, some were quite inspiring and a few were mini sermons – given by people who maybe had a hidden desire to be preachers, or maybe just wanted to take their turn on the soap box. Please understand; I mean no disrespect in anything I say in this blog, but I did find it a little humorous when people went up with their bibles and really did sound like they were giving a sermon! But, something interesting struck me during the testimonies and during the main message, which started about 2 hours after the meeting began. As is often the case at tent meetings or similar evangelical events, including some televangelists, the pitch of the preacher (whoever is talking) gets higher and higher, often feverish and panicky-sounding or even somewhat angry-sounding. It was a little hard to listen to – literally. The sound system was a bit too loud, but I think it is more than that. As I listened, I just felt slightly odd, but also a bit caught up in the fervour. But as I drove home, I was finally able to put my finger on what was really bothering me. How can you shout angrily about the love of God? That led me to the next realization: Not a single person spoke gently or peacefully, with love in their voice!! They didn’t talk about the love of Jesus or God! It was about the power of Jesus, the power of God to change us, but nothing about the love, which is the very first thing that makes the change possible. If you don’t know that God/Jesus loves you, you won’t believe that the power is meant for you, available to you, etc. I think the love is far more important than the power – Jesus did not say to “power God and power your neighbour as yourself.” He said to love!! I think it’s a real shame when the focus of any Christian event strays from the most important part – the love Jesus had, the death he died because of that love, and the love of God the father that surrounds us always!!
Maybe I’m just too far off the beaten track of evangelical Christianity, but that’s the way I felt after the meeting, although I still love and appreciate the people who work so hard to put the meetings on and give so much of their time and lives to this ministry. I try to love the person even if they are misled and not doing things in the way that I think they should be done – I say this last part because let’s face it, this is just the way that I see it! Who even knows if I am right? But I certainly have my convictions about this, and I can’t ignore them!
That’s it for now… next time, helicopter rides!! Woo hoo! :)