Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Church Lock-ins and Growing Faith

You wonder about the inventor of Church lock-ins. What fool, I mean genius, put down the ingredients of a church lock-in and then thought, yes this will be good. Let’s start with a bunch of kids ranging in age of 7 to raging hormones completely out of control. For those not verse in the current scientific literature, raging hormones completely out of control is the official name for the American teenager. If one peruse many technical journals, one can find technical papers with titled like Internet Habits of Raging Hormones Completely Out Controls, The Effects of Raging Hormones Out of Controls on the Life Span of the Typical Suburban Parents and many other fun titles, but that is for another day.

Back to the ingredients for that just perfect Church lock-in. Now, add sugar and caffeine and plenty of it, in the form of pop and candy. This is important for the whole experience, the amount should be equivalent to the amount of sugar that would make you average dentist question his career choice. Any less won’t due. Add a healthy dose of pepperoni pizza. Finally, lock them all in at the church from the dark to sunrise. Let the fun begin and what fun.

I almost forgot the most important element, adult volunteers that the kids can completely ignore for the evening. These volunteers should be Christ centered and followers of Jesus. They will need to be as around eleven at night these poor souls will be down on their knees praying to God for survival. Also, it is best that these volunteers have never been to a Church lock-in. Any experience with one will make them all that harder to recruit. In many cases just announcing upcoming church lock-in will be good to chase away the experience adults making the innocent adults easier to pick off, I mean offer the opportunity to volunteer to shepherd the little dears toward Christ.

I remember my first lock-in. It took years of therapy, but I recovered from the Spiritual awakening that lock-ins provide. The nightly flashbacks faded for the years. I remember the other volunteers barricading on that night as the ragging battle around us. The screams, the yelling, the humanity of it all. As an experience it drew me closer to Jesus, a lot closer to Jesus. The prayer that night, “Help me, help me, Dear Jesus, Help me.”

When the light hit the stain glass and I knew that I and the other volunteers had survived, I praised my God for life. I wondered who though lock-ins. I want to meet the man. It had to be a man, as few mom would be stupid—I mean visionary enough to think such a lovely way to spend a night. So, next you need to fill closer to God, I am sure a local church can use you at their next lock-in.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

If The Shoe Fits, Eat it

I had a friend who after the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church’s annual Greek Fest, wanted change his faith from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodox. They had better food, he said, smiling. Of course, he had yet to find out about the Eastern Orthodox Lenten Fast. I think you are allowed to chew on an old shoe during the 40 days to remember Jesus, though don’t quote me. Actually, it is no meat, dairy, fish or oil, which pretty much leaves only an old shoe in my pantry. My shoes are made from genuine artificial leather and no animals were harmed in their making, which makes them OK to gnaw on while remembering Jesus. The bonus is the old shoe laces operate like built in floss. Bon appetite.
Anyway, I know many of you are condemning my friend for choosing his church based on something so shallow as culinary delights, rather than some more substantial and theological like the church has upbeat music or its Pastor gives non-boring sermons like Mark Driscoll, but trust me when I say my friend took his conversion seriously. He learned the difference between his beloved Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. He could recite the delicate details of the Filioque controversy. He talked to the Orthodox priest and took classes on theology. In the end he remained with the Catholic Church, but gained a respect for the Orthodox tradition. I am not going to speculate on if he found out about the Lenten Fast, though I have a lot of old shoes he could borrow if he changes his mind.
I too have to admit an attraction to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Theosis, or their doctrine, that all of life has been made holy by the Incarnation, because where God has walked, God has made holy makes sense to me. Since Jesus partook in human life, all human life is holy. Eating, singing and dancing all can become forms of prayers since Jesus ate, sang and danced with us. So why not chose a church because they have great food? I mean have you ever tried the Baklava at the Greek Fest? It is to die for.  Not to mention the souvlaki. Even joking and laughing are holy and a form of prayer. Anyone who thinks that God doesn’t joke hasn’t seen a platypus. What happened when a beaver, duck, and otter all walk into a bar? Platypus.  
Anyway, the last time we went to the Greek Fest, we took my 3-year-old. He was transfixed by the young dancers from Holy Trinity. The circle dances made him pause and soak in the beauty. The children in turn accepted him after the performance and danced with him. Within their circle I saw God being with them. The joy on the children’s face taught me Jesus is still with us and even gnawing on a shoe or two has its benefits. Theosis also means that eating food, dancing and the smile of my child are Holy.