Monday, July 21, 2008

Saved By A Preacher Man?

Last week, I went to church to be saved. Actually, I went to see if the preacher's claims to cure people were true. I went along with a Christian couple who invited me to their church to listen to a preacher from Nigeria who said he could cure me of cancer. My first question was, "Do I have to believe it for it to work?"

This has always been a problem for me with cures that only work if you believe in them. I don't like this Catch-22. No more than I like the Christian God's quid pro quo, "I'll save you if you believe in me." Whatever happened to unconditional love?

So I went to hear this preacher. I was expecting him to call me forward and lay his hands on my head and shout something up into the air about driving the devil and disease from my body - like they do on TV. I grew up watching TV evangelists like Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, and Pat Robertson so I had a very clear image of what to expect.

Instead, this preacher went on for over an hour about being a soldier for Christ and being "militant" about Christianity. Yikes. Exactly the kind of bellicose talk that turns me away from all religions.

After the sermon, I excused myself and left. We'd just gotten into the car downstairs in the parking lot when the preacher and his wife came to us, brought down by a church member who had heard I had cancer and was looking to be cured. The preacher had a little bottle of aromatherapy oil (lemongrass, I think). He said he would "anoint" me and God would cure me of cancer. I said okay, great, let's do it! He dabbed some oil on my forehead and mumbled some words about God. Afterwards, he said to go tell my doctors that "their reports are wrong" and my cancer is gone.

Wow. That's some confidence. Does this preacher think that because he asked God to save some woman with cancer, God would do it? God would have let me die and leave my kids without a mother, but because this preacher man put in a good word for me, God's going to save me?

And do I believe God is going to cure me of cancer because of anything I do or say or believe? Even my arrogance doesn't reach that far. I'm just one woman. There are so many other people in this world God should be saving, so many other things he should be fixing before he gets to me. Children dying of starvation, women being raped, men being killed in war. I'd be happy to die if God would fix all those other things.

By the way, I've been feeling great lately and my scans have shown some signs of improvement. But this happened long before my visit to the preacher. In fact, I started feeling better shortly after I started this latest drug combination. I think that's one for medical science. But those of you who want to believe it's God doing this, don't forget that when I die. If you're going to believe God's saving me, you also have to believe it's his doing when I die.


Leighbee said...

Do you have ANY idea just how much I LOVE reading your BLOG?! It is uplifting beyond all belief - much better than any magazine article! I bet you were one hell of a journalist..........!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,

God's love is unconditional.

I am sorry you had such an experience. Do talk this over with the friends that brought you to the service or any other Christian friends.
I am not very good at expressing myself through the written word - you have my email - drop me a line.
BTW - the crisis I was in - has taken a twist - if you want updates - drop me an email too.

Christine Raza said...

I agree with leighbee. You are such a brilliant writer. Reading your blog is the FIRST thing I do every day when I get into work. I love that you make me think. I also love that despite your absolute disbelief that this man could cure you, you went anyway. I'm not sure why... hard to put into words. Hey, at least you went home smelling great!

I am SO happy to hear you are feeling better and moving in the right direction!

Huge hugs and kisses from all the Boston Razas.

Love, Christine

Shin said...

Dear SK,

You say that you are "sorry that [I] had such an experience".

Maybe I misrepresented myself. It wasn't an unpleasant experience. The preacher and his wife were very kind. And although the preacher's sermon had a rather unsettling message, he was a dynamic, charismatic speaker and somewhat entertaining.

So I didn't think it was a negative experience. I was just hoping it would feel a bit more spiritual and that maybe I'd feel something different afterwards.

One thing though... at one point, while he was praying over me with his hand on my anointed head, I opened my eyes and looked up at him and we caught each other's eyes. I felt in that instant that he knew I didn't believe in this stuff. I also got the sense that he knew he was putting on a show. That's not to say he was a phony, but I think he knew this was a lot of showy stuff to make an impression on people.