In this post I talked about a church I frequented for a while when I was still a CAP worker for a particular person I worked with. The pastor there talked about a lot of things which I don't really remember. Victorious Christian living was the theme every time we went there. I talked about that and what it maybe meant in that other post, but it's not really necessary to read that right now to understand this post. Or ever, let's be honest.
The pastor there really was a nice man who seemed to eventually care a good deal about me and my client. At the end of every meeting he would ask everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads, and he would say that he does this at the end of every meeting, that he always asks people to do this and he wants anyone who isn't sure whether they're saved or not to raise their hands because he wants to pray for them, and he doesn't believe in pointing them out and embarrassing them so he would never do that.
One night he said all of this after talking about how the end times are coming. He talked about the end times rather a lot. Not in the way that people think Christians are always talking about the end times. He wouldn't devote entire lectures to it. He would just allude to it every now and then, saying that we needed to make sure as many people as possible would be raptured. I think that's what he would say. I know the end times came up a lot, but only briefly. Anyway.
I have been experiencing this kind of despair recently. It's this despair that has kept me from really being able to engage with what's been going on politically. I haven't really been able to pay attention to much of anything that has to do with politics since Obama got elected. Not because I thought all of our problems were solved. It was mostly because I realized pretty soon after he was sworn into office that our problems will never be solved, because it's far too late to fix some of them (climate change. It's been too late for that for the past twenty years, really) and some of them are dependent on radical changes happening to our political system that will never happen ever. It got to the point that I just stopped believing any kind of change was possible.
The pastor said we all needed to be examples for people to follow. That was how we would be able to witness to people and convert them. Something weird happened when he said "witness." For a second I guess I saw myself as the humanity's Dr. Kevorkian, or maybe as the priest reading the Last Rites to a dying person. In all my despair I thought that the most helpful thing I could do would be to convince people to just let the Earth shake us off, to stop fighting what was coming. So maybe it was more like I was seeing myself as humanity's end-of-life counselor.
And I raised my hand when he asked for anyone to raise their hands if they weren't sure they were saved.
I don't exactly remember my reasons for doing this. Maybe I wanted to make sure I was strong enough to do this task that I had suddenly seen myself doing. Whatever my reason was it sure as hell wasn't the reason the pastor had for asking people to raise their hands so he could save them.
I felt really guilty about this later because I realized the pastor had thought that his church was actually reaching people, was becoming something more than the tight circle of people he perceived it to be.
It was reaching me in a way he surely hadn't intended.