Logan and I jumped back in the saddle today by attending the 10:00 a.m. service at Fellowship Alliance Church in Columbia Falls, Montana. Turns out my neighbor across the alley goes there and arrived shortly after we found our seats and joined us in the long, beige padded pew. It was another great Google find! Should I feel guilty that my church selections are mostly based on time and location through a Google search thirty minutes before we scurry out the door?
I have been itching to express my observance of the double handers. While growing up, my parents would occasionally send us to church with my religious grandmother. The Little Brown Church; a quaint, non-denominational church in Bigfork, that just so happened to be painted a chocolate brown, was my grandma’s home on Sundays. I found the sermons boring and the organ music a bit too stoic. But, I was a kid. What did I know? During the songs of praise, my grandma would raise her right arm in the air as if trying to reach for a jar of canned pickled beets on the top shelf of her pantry. I was embarrassed and wondered if the saucer of prescription pills she took every morning with her coffee and black toast was a dangerous concoction.
Now, in the midst of my journey, visiting several different churches- I have a different kind of wonder. In the eight months of going to church, I have only attended two church services where there was not a single hand raiser in the bunch. A few congregations have had only one or two black sheep brave enough to praise God among conservative masses. Many churches have several single and double hand raisers. I observe with curiosity.
Witnessing people worship sometimes feels like I am peeking in on a couple making love. It is that intimate. There are some who are a little reserved in their praise and keep their elbows by their side and bend their arms upward with their palms facing up. Some bounce or wave their arms with the music. Whatever it is…they feel it. And my immature youth feelings of embarrassment have turned into immature adult feelings of jealousy. I want to feel what they feel. I want to drink their Kool-aid. Not so different than the infamous quote in “When Harry Met Sally.” I’ll have what she’s having.
Now go to any rock concert or just pop into the Great Northern Bar in Whitefish, Montana on a Friday night and CROWDS of people have their hands in the air…both of them! They FEEL the music. They FEEL youth. They FEEL good …no, GREAT! Ok, in all fairness, the majority of this behavior may be alcohol induced. But, my point is that people are not afraid to openly praise musicians in a concert or bar. Church is different. The majority do not have their hands in the air. So, I am not alone. I am part of the empty majority. (And, please do not take offence if you are not a hand raiser and completely feel the power of God moving you. I am not writing and sharing to judge anyone but myself.)
The service today at Fellowship Alliance Church was moving. I did not catch the name of the Pastor. The message was about living a full life. His sermon was passionate and relevant. He provided us with just four questions to ask ourselves. “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “What is wrong with the world?” and “How can what is wrong be made right?” He guided us through the answers found in Colossians 1:15-23.
It looks like their church website posts past sermons, www.cfallschurch.com. I certainly hope they post this one. I’ll let my audience ponder the above questions. But, I will give you a hint on number four.
Jesus is the Kool-aid.
2 thoughts on “Fellowship Alliance Church, July 22, 2012.”
Nice post…You write well. I myself was not a hand raiser, but there were plenty of southern Baptists in Atlanta (where I grew up) that did raise arms in praise. Dr. Stanley, the minister, led the what was at that time, the largest Baptist congregation in the U.S. All the fire and brimstone turned me completely off, and the occasional ‘healings’ made me chuckle a bit. He turned out to be a fraud and embezzler. I guess God’s hand never really made it too far with that one. 😉
Thanks for pointing me to your blog; it’s fascinating. I grew up the son of a Methodist minister, who was very interested in eccumenical movements. I’ve been to every kind of Christian denomination imaginable as well as some from other religions. The culture of it also always interested me to a great deal, particularly as I was struggling to understand much of my childhood what I was supposed to be as a minister’s son.
As I grew up, I also used to go to bars and pubs – not to drink (I actually don’t drink) – but to observe people and their social interactions. There was sometimes more fellowship in a bar that I could witness than I saw in some churches, perhaps even more of a spirit. But, that always depended. I’ve seen people collapsing in the aisles, speaking in tongues, being entertained, and being quiet (though perhaps passive aggressively – like in the Quaker meeting I attended a few times).
Anyhow, this blog is fascinating. My own writings and varied interests are mostly in a couple places – http://www.yellowstone-online.com/writings.html has a lot as well as http://www.eclecticworld.org. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective.