This last Sunday I attended a friend’s church. It was a contemporary-style church.
I’ve been attending a more traditional church for the past five or six years, so I’ve been a bit out of touch with that world.
I will say that they’ve certainly upped their game. The worship service is essentially a rock concert.
They brought in a guest speaker who, I am quite confident, was a trained hypnotist.
Nothing wrong with hypnosis per se. It’s simply a conversational form of persuasion. Being hypnotized is actually an enjoyable part of life (e.g. listening to stories, watching a fire, etc.)
The problem I have is when the speaker’s persuasion skills are represented as the “spirit of God” that is moving people to the altar call.
It was not the Spirit of God that moved those people to go up to the “altar.” It was a carefully structured sequence of hypnotic stories.
If you’re unfamiliar with how persuasion and hypnosis work, it’s difficult to explain in a short post. I’ll just say I was surprised at how many of the elements were used. And they were so skillfully executed that there is no way he hadn’t undergone extensive training.
Anyhow, after the altar call, the pastor’s wife went up to the stage, grabbed the mic, and started speaking a “word.”
She started saying how “God was going to move in this congregation.” She shared how He was already doing mighty things. She shared her story about how the doctor said they couldn’t have any kids.
And, I kid you not, she paused her story to emphatically say,
“The reason we could not have kids is because my husband is sterile.”
Apparently, that was an important detail to disclose.
Talk about kicking a man where it hurts.
This is roughly equivalent to a man announcing to the congregation:
“As you may know, my wife has unusually small breasts. Even after pregnancy, her breasts simply could not produce an adequate milk supply to nourish our children. That’s why it was necessary to find a better endowed woman to nurse our children. And praise God, he provided!”
It may be a legitimate issue. But there’s such a thing as a showing basic respect for another’s sexual dignity by not calling public attention to their biological shortcomings.
Maybe I’m just old-fashioned that way.
All in all, it was an entertaining experience. Though honestly, a stand-up comedian would be more enjoyable. No point in trying to mix in all those bible passages. It kind of disrupts the flow.