Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Of churches, music and mischief

I had to laugh out loud at this account of musical (and other) differences between Christian denominations, posted by 'Jewel' over at Jaded Haven. As a former pastor, who's visited many different churches and denominations, I know exactly what she means! Here's an extract.

My father’s only love is the piano. My mother once complained that he spent more time at the piano than with her, and she was going to leave him if he didn’t get off that infernal thing and watch Lucy with her on the tee-vee. Without a word, he went into the bedroom, packed her bags, left them in the hallway and went back to practicing. She never complained about it again.

. . .

The problem the church busybodies had with my father was how he played the organ.

Musically, he was a black man in a church full of tone deaf Klansmen. His playing was a thing of exquisite blasphemy. He cast aside the Methodist three-chord blandishments and restraints and pumped in chords and forbidden rhythms from the Devil’s own Fake Book, inspiring lustful arousal – augmented minors, dominant sevenths and tenths vamped with a downbeat and walking bass lines. He made the Wurlitzer wail and moan with orgasmic pleasure.

. . .

And then he sold a baby grand to a Pentecostal church.

The preacher, an organist himself, invited us to visit his church. My father, wary of all things Roman Catholic or Charismatic, would have declined, but for the money. Come Sunday, the six of us showed up, dressed in our faded, Goodwill best.

The preacher had roped off a whole pew for us midway from the front to the back and we filed in, youngest to oldest. My father sat next to the center aisle, removing the only avenue of escape.

The service started off well, with robust and joyous singing. The preacher played the organ, with his wife at the new piano. The church members sang well, clapped their hands, and for once, my father felt kinship with a church.

After the preacher introduced us and made announcements, the praying commenced. And such praying it was. Nothing prepared us for the praying.


The six of us froze as one. I slowly opened my eyes and turned to look at my father for silent instruction. He was waxen. His eyes were as wide as mine, and he was sweating. He made no expression, and did not look back at my inquiring gaze.

My older brother likewise, was a stone.

“HAMMANA SHEE TOGEE YODEE YODEE VOVOVOVO TANGA MENTO DODEEDODO!” continued the preacher. Everyone, save for us, had their eyes closed and hands upraised, each beseeching their Lord and Savior in his own tongue.

I looked at my little sister, Malinda, on my left, who looked back at me with the same expression I gave her. And then I looked beyond her to my little brother, Stacy, expecting the same reaction. My mouth fell open as I watched him press the palms of his hands to his mouth.

“Oh Lord, please don’t do what I think you’re gonna do!” I thought, hoping he would see the word “NO” forming on my lips and the slight shake of my head. He did, of course, but chose not to listen to his Better Angel.

“PPPPFFFFTTTTH!” he farted with his mouth into his hands.

My father’s stupor was over. Turning, he glared at Little Brother, his jaw clenched in rage. I stared straight ahead, as the raucous gibbering of the congregation continued. I felt my father’s arm slide behind my neck. With a silent flick of his wrist he slapped Little Brother’s head.

Only he missed, and hit Little Sister’s head, instead.

“Ow! Whud I do?” she cried, rubbing her head. Dad leaned to his left a bit more and flicked his hand again. And once more, he missed Little Brother, hitting Little Sister.

I tried to stifle the laughter forming in the pit of my stomach. I struggled and failed. My whole body shook.

There's much more at the link. Very funny and highly recommended reading. I think even my Pentecostal brothers and sisters will enjoy it!



Anonymous said...

This article really should have a beverage alert. I didn't know I could froth my instant coffee until I was reading this.

Andrew Smith
Brisbane, Australia

Trillian said...

I about fell over laughing at this. I've been to my fair share of churches too, from the reserved to the radical. I fall somewhere in between. You're right,this Pentecostal about snorted water out of her nose.

Bob@thenest said...

I'll go to the link, but I'll have to wait a bit. I'm still shaking, though more controlably now, just from reading THIS much!!

What a hoot!