Friday, June 15, 2007

Pentecostal Footage?

I was just looking online for video clips of pentecostal worship services. I was talking to a buddy the other day about the possibility of there being some sort of 'Holy Ghost' recordings online. I grew up pentecostal, but I can't really find anything that reminds me of my experiences. It all looks like the end of a Billy Graham crusade meeting.

Pentecostalism used to be different. I grew up around it, and didn't think too much about it being odd. It was fascinating, if not confusing. Curiousity made me learn the hows and whys, which were scripture based. Still, the older I got, the more I realized our services weren't like other churchs'. I would visit another denomination and see how their services worked. In comparison, ours seemed like untamed madness.

A 'good service' in our church was when everyone was either 'running the aisles' and 'shouting' or crying and praying while 'getting a blessing'. We even had exorcisms, although they were somewhat rare. There were complaints when a preacher was 'dry' or 'sounded like a Baptist'. That just meant he wasn't demonstrative enough, not very entertaining or that he was boring. A preacher that didn't speak in tongues was suspicious, and would probably be accused of being a 'baptist'.

Pentecostal churches today aren't anything like the churches of my youth. I'm sure there are a few, way back in the woods, but American life is too cosmopolitan and communication between denominations has somewhat rounded the corners of pentecostalism too much for there to be many old-style pentecostals. I remember services that would more resemble an insane asylum than a worship service, with people running into walls, and each other, falling all over the place and flailing about... it was something to behold. Other than deep in the rural, wooded hills of the South, that's not something you see too much any more. Not even in the churches that once shattered the silence on Sunday mornings.