The Pentacostal Experience

Posted: April 21, 2009 in Chief, Just Me
Tags: , , , , , , ,

… I was raised Catholic.

Italian-Catholic.. and believe me, there IS a difference!

I did the whole Catholic school thing from nursery school to high school graduation.. had the nuns.. the Monte Carlo nights.. the rites.. the passages..

Everything but the Bible, come to think of it!

NOTE: You’re not encouraged to read the bible when you’re a Catholic. If you did, the lid would blow higher then the DaVinci Code.

Anyway.. it’s funny the things that stick with you. Things that are subconsciencely ingrained in the psyche.

I was always taught to questions things and Catholism was always a target. Many times I was sent to the principle’s office in grade school for asking a religious instructor WHY.

Why is St. Joseph a Saint? He didn’t really do anything.. not like the Vatican says you have to do to be a Saint.

Can God create a boulder so big that he can’t lift it?

You know.. the kinds of things that can only come from the mouth of a child.

I was consistantly told that I had to rely on my faith to satisfy my curiosity. But that didn’t wash. To me, that sounded like a cop-out.

I like answers. I like difinitive. I like certainty.. and so I was branded a demon and beat severly with a metal ruler. Well.. the first one is an exaggeration. I only wish the second one was!! LOL

Chief was raised and still is a Pentacostal Christian. Now, I visited alot of different churches in a lot of different denominations.. Baptist, Lutheran but I never messed with the Pentacostals. All that talking in tongues and flaling around on the floor gave me the heebee jeebees. He would laugh at me and explain things and we’d have long, deep conversations regarding different things.

Chief’s a smart guy. Having read the Bible 13 times, he can quote scripture and speak empassionatley. You could say he’s my very own Joel Osteen!

Down the street from our house there is a Pentacostal Church that was started by his grandmother on her front porch. It’s a big church. Not like, 6 Flags Over Jesus or anything but it’s come along way from it’s humble beginnings.

I always teased him about it whenever we drove by :: which is like 6 or 8 times a day :: saying “Hey babe.. isn’t that the church your grandmother started on her front porch?” He’d grumble and I’d laugh.

So one day about a year ago, he said he wanted to take me there but to PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE not mention our last name. I asked him why and he said, “Trust me on this one”.

He had this pleading look that I had never seen before.. we joke around alot but this time I could tell he was serious and even though I was busting to say it, I didn’t.

We were greeted by oh.. I don’t know.. EVERYBODY when we went in. Great to see you!! Do you live nearby or are you just passing through?? I’m so-an-so and this is my wife and these are my children and this is my neighbor’s aunt’s sister’s husband’s niece’s grandfather!

Chief held my hand tight and shook hands with everyone and thanked everyone.

Me? Oh.. I had my spider senses out for Kool Aid!

We went in to the.. what? Chapel? Service Center? Altar space? and took a seat near the back.

Someone pointed us out to the preacher and he came over and introduced himself… giving both his first and last name.

Instinctively, Chief did the same and as soon as our last name past his lips I could see the look of horror on his face. OHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOO!!!

The Pastor’s face lit up like a Christmas tree? Oh? THAT’S your last name? Do you know the founder of this church has the same last name????

THAT’S HIS GRANDMOTHER I said alot louder and with more excitement then I really intended.

OHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO!!

I cut my eyes at Chief and I swear, if he could have he would have grown hair. Fortunately, all I had to do is witness his whole head turning beat read and steam pulse out of his ears like a cartoon character.

The pastor was literally giddy! “Sweet Jesus!” he said, “The Lord is indeed good” and then he turned to somebody else and said “Hey, this couple here are [last name]. He’s the grandson of [granny’s name]”

Then this dude jumps up and rushes over and all of a sudden there’s this buzz that you can feel vibrating through the church .. There’s a [last name] here! There’s a [last name] here!

All these people started coming over and shaking our hand and wanted to ask questions and introduce themselves. I looked at Chief :: who does not like any attention whatsover :: and said, “.. is this where angels sing, the throne comes up from the floor and you’re crowned?”

This was the reason, he explained, why he didn’t want his last name known.

I was getting a kick out of the attention, primarily because Chief was so uncomfortable but before long, the service started and I have to say that I really did enjoy it.

It was long.. but there was alot of singing, a great sermon that was timely, more singing and NO KNEELING!!

There was a woman who “had the spirit” and that was alittle like watching a train wreck because it was so foreign to me but other then that, I came away with something in my heart .. something that made me feel as though I needed to be more Christ-like.

And after all.. isn’t that what it’s all about?

Comments
  1. Sandy says:

    Leese,

    I was a Pentacostal for many many years and am now in the Catholic Church.

    I do understand what you are saying regarding the Pentacostal experience in which you had. It can be very “awe inspiring.” I do love the Pentacostal family which remain in my heart to this day.
    Being that said though, there is nothing to me which can make one more “Christ like” then receiving Him in the Eucharist. And that is “what is all about.”

    If you have been a Catholic all of your life, some part of you must still know this, and like it or not, the Catholic Church is the place where one gets this, as it is not about “us” it is about Jesus, and coming together in our unity of faith and worshiping Him, and receiving Holy Communion as He instructed us to do.

    One day I was coming home from the Pentacostal Church and I looked up and asked God, “What am I missing?” Through many series of events He let me know as I heard in my spirit over and over, “It is my Son, who lives in the Tabernacle of the Church.” At that point in time I did not even know such a thing existed, but again, through a series of events I came to know what God was telling me. That is why I am Catholic today.

    The Pentacostal Church is a wonderful family unit Church. They are very nice and caring people and is very different from the Catholic Church in the things you mentioned above, “hand-shaking, greetings etc.” But again when we go to Church our focus needs to be on Jesus and not us.

    As far as reading the Bible, I read my Bible and still do and have since I came into the Church. But and this is a big “But,” the understanding of scripture as I knew it was so, so wrong. I did not understand the entire plan of God until I became a Catholic. This is because we have the traditions as well as scripture and no other Church has these traditions, as it was only given to one.

    If I may suggest a book for you to read, “A Father Who Keeps His Promises” by Scott Hahn. It is a wonderful book and explains so much that I missed as being a Protestant.
    There is nothing wrong with being a Protestant, I was one for most of my life. But I wanted and desired the fullness of God, and I found it where He took me, and that was in the Church.

    So take care and be careful Leese, there are many sheep in wolves clothing there as well. Some of it surrounds nothing but “money.” Not all of them. I have a friend who was/is Pentecostal and she ended up 75,000.00 in debt because of this teaching regarding “money.” It almost ruined her. So again please be careful, all Churches/Religions have their good and bad.

    God Bless, Sandy

  2. Sandy says:

    Leese,

    I was thinking this morning regarding your statement about St. Joseph, not really doing anything to be declared a St. If you do not mind let us take a look at St. Joseph and see what he truly was.

    Number one he was the foster father of the Son of God. He raised God’s Son. He taught Jesus a trade and am sure many other things.

    He was the husband of our Blessed Mother. For her to be given to him alone in marriage which God Himself prepared from the beginning of time, St. Joseph must have been a very devout man to God.

    Now we know Mary was very young when she had Jesus, so let us go back. Here this little girl comes in and says, “Joseph guess what, I am going to have the Son of God. Yes, God made me pregnant.” Can you imagine a moment his reaction to this? He was going to put her away quietly, because Mary could have been stoned to death for a pregnancy out of wedlock at that time in the Jewish community.

    Then the Angel came and told him not to and he obeyed. Also he was told to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt and he got up and left behind a trade, his own country and way of life. Joseph always obeyed God regardless of how strange it might have been.

    There are three people who got it totally right with God, and that is the Holy Family.
    Jesus, Mary and Joseph. They always obeyed what God wanted them to do. We must remember that “God Man, Jesus” was entrusted into their care. We must remember all of His teachings had to come from these two people, and how well they taught Him, as He was obedient to God even up to His death on the Cross.

    Imagine this, you as St. Joseph are at the dinner table with Jesus and Mary. Jesus being born pure and without any stain of sin at all. Mary being the Immaculate Conception. Who is going to be wrong at that table???:>) St. Joseph was not preserved from original sin, Mary had to be in order to give birth to Jesus. Of course Jesus was perfect in every way. So there is a lot to St. Joseph we need to see by going back into that time.

    St. Joseph was loved so much by God, as He entrusted both of their care into his hands.
    So before we say he did nothing “great” so to speak, think about what all was actually given to him. Just like Mary, he could have told God “no” but he did not.

    Not much is written about him, but to me, the silence of St. Joseph speaks loudly and volumes.

    God Bless, Sandy

    • Leese says:

      Hey Sandy…

      First, thanks for reading my blog and commenting. But please remember that my questioning of the validity of St. Joseph’s “sainthood” was coming from a second or third grade mind.

      I had all these things that I wanted to reply but there’s one thing I do not defend. I don’t defend the fact that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and that I only came to accept Christ once I left Catholicism.

      Not that they missed me, mind you. I stopped attending regularly once I wasn’t “required” to do so..

      At any rate …

      My relationship is with Jesus.. with God.. NOT with a church or a religious sect.

      You’re absolutely right when you say that it is about Jesus and NOT the church.. but to me, that’s what Catholicism is. It’s about the church.. it’s about religion.. it’s about the laws that men made.

      I could point out things like praying to saints, to statues of saints, even to the crucifix as being a direct violation of the 2nd commandment.

      For those of you who do NOT know the second commandment ( it’s in Exodus 20 ):

      You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments

      So why does the 2nd commandment in the Catholic version read:

      You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

      .. when that is actually the 3rd commandment. In fact, by taking that out, the Catholics just made the LAST commandment:

      You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

      into TWO:

      You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

      You shall not covet you neighbor’s goods.

      Those are way I learned the commandments, even though IN THE CATHOLIC BIBLE, Exodus 20 does include the commandment that was omitted.

      And I ask you this… why do you confess your sins to a man and not to God Himself?

      I am not challenging your beliefs or your decision to join the Catholic Church. Your decisions and the reasons you made them are your own.. as mine are mine.

      I don’t profess to have all the answers.. I only know what I’ve experienced, what I’ve come to believe and what I found to be wrong with Catholicism.

      To that.. I am not affiliated with or promote ANY religion. My post was about my experience in the Pentecostal church.. and it was a pretty funny one.. it was not meant to be interpreted as an US vs THEM kind of thing.

      I am a Christian.. I believe in Christ.. that’s all there is to it.

  3. Sandy says:

    Leese,

    Thank you for responding, and yes I understood that your statement regarding St. Joseph was from a child’s mind, but I did not also want someone else reading it and not thinking through what St. Joseph actually did.

    Graven Image: If we may discuss this a little. Could God have been referring to pagan gods/goddess when He said this? If we think back Israel was a very pagan generation. They worshiped idols made by the hands of man. They continued and continued to do this, over and over. These idols which they threw up was to them in the heavens and on earth. They got this as they were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. Egypt had a frog goddess, they worshiped the Nile, bulls, etc on earth. They also had the same in the heavens such as one Isis. So to me this is what God was speaking of, and we have to remember this was handed to Israel first. Just to point something here, Jesus told us never to call on earth anyone Father, yet God Himself calls our parents our Father and Mother in the Commandments. The Word “Father” is used many times throughout the Bible to describe our “Daddies” so to speak. So we have to kind of work on the meanings of things sometimes and think them through. I have been Catholic for over five years and have not bowed to a statue yet. To me they are no more than pictures of my family etc.. I kiss the Crucifix everyday and I kiss the pictures of my grandbabies when I dust them. But I do not worship either of them. I bow to the altar and Tabernacle when I go to Mass and you know the reason for that so do not need to clarify.

    Church being made by man: Yes, there are many things the Catholic Church did down through history. Some I agree with and some I do not. But we have to remember they were dealing with very pagan people. Somehow or the other they had to get this stopped as Israel always went back to making idols. The Church was entrusted with a lot. They had to get this stopped, such as changing the day of worship from Friday to Sunday. They did this because of the pagan worshipers of that time. We must also remember Jesus handed to Peter and Paul and many others the teachings and authority of the Church and they were men as well. There were always men teaching, even in the law. Remember Jesus said to do what the leaders of the Pharisees said, but not what they did. Paul rebuked Peter for the same reason, for not practicing what he preached. From the beginning of time God had those He set up in authoritive positions, and such as the Pharisees, Jesus did not come against their teachings but their actions. He never took their authority to teach away. There is no Church that does not have some sort of tradition by man. Let us go over some for the Protestants and they are fine with me. The Sinners Prayer, Going up to the altar and accepting Christ as your personal saviour, some take Holy Communion every 4th Sunday some every third, the word Rapture where is that in the Bible, kind of like Purgatory, does not mean the event is not there but the words themselves are not. I can go on and on but will not, but never think there are Churches out there that are not governed by someone. There are leaders and rule makers in all of them.

    Why do I confess my sins to man and not God? This is the way I feel about that being a convert. James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another and to pray for each other, so we may be healed. Now if I confessed my sins to you and told you, “Leese I stole a million dollars today and I am confessing this to you.” Would you think anything of it, I mean the confessing part to you. Of course not, and I still do this with others as well as the Priest. I have people who confess their sins to me all the time. You know as well as I the Catholic belief regarding the Priest and confession. Jesus told the Apostles, “Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven in heaven, whose sins you retain are retained in heaven.” Well how did they know the sins, if people did not confess them? John 20:23 When I confess my sins to the Priest do not ever think I have not confessed my sins also to God, as I do this daily. But I do trust the Priest is a representative of Christ just as the Apostles were, and I do believe what Jesus said regarding the forgiveness/retaining of sins. That Priest is also a man, and I am doing what the Word of God tells us to in James, and confessing my sins to one another. To me that is how I see it.

    Praying to the Saints: Now that one I had trouble with. A lot of trouble. Of course you know that I do not pray to them ever to answer a prayer but to please pray for me, and you know some of the reason behind all of this. What swayed me though being a Protestant all of my life? I am one of those Mary came to. Believe it or not, she came, and I know it is true. She and I had many many battles, as I wanted nothing to do with her. I hurt her Leese, I hurt her bad. After quite awhile of dealing with her, I realized they are alive in heaven. I realized if the Angels presented our prayers to God in heaven in a golden chalice, the Saints had to pray for us also.
    If you will get your KJV Bible and go to Jerimiah I think Chapter 15, as mine is in the other room, (yes I still have and use it) you will see Moses and Samuel praying for Israel, when I read that it confirmed it for me. Moses and Samuel had been dead for many years.

    These ae the answers to some of your questions. The others I will have to go and read and see what is going on, regarding the Commandments and get into that a little heavier and I will. But I will also try and find out the reason behind it, and if I do I will let you know.

    Good luck Leese in whatever you do. I was Protestant many years and made it fine. I have friends on both sides and we all get along very well and love each other very much. I do enjoy your blog, and your sense of humor and yes I can imagine coming from a Catholic background your experience was a funny one. When I first became a Pentacostal there were things I raised my eyebrows to also. Most are lovely, God loving people, and at times I miss them much. As you I had to go where God was moving me to go. If you were required to by the Church I am so sorry, That is one thing I do have a problem with. One thing you can count on, Jesus will never turn you away. Being that said, one last statement. To me the Catholic Church in Mass, is surrounded and focused on nothing but Him in the Eucharist, not religion or anyting else. That is how I see it also.

    God Bless Leese, and the Protestants are getting a great family member.

    God Bless, Sandy

  4. Sandy says:

    Amen Leese, for all of us. In Proverbs it tells us that “God ponders the way of man.” Sometimes I think about that and I can just hear Him and His thoughts at times.
    I know when it comes to me He is probably up there saying, “Idiot! Didn’t I just get you out of that mess and here you are again:>)

    I just hope we all make it and go to heaven in spite of ourselves.

    God Bless you on and in everything you venture to do with your walk with our Lord.
    If it was as hair raising as mine, boy are you in for it:>) Trust me I did not go lightly, kicking and screaming all the way.

    Sandy

  5. Sandy says:

    Leese,

    I decided to post this here and I hope you got my email. But I decided to do this here for this “graven image” in hopes to bring some light.

    This morning I took a good look around my living room. I have pictures of family, two white ceramic mice and two white ceramic angels, I have two wooden dolphins my father in law gave to me, and two little elephants my uncle gave me from Africa, I have a 5 inch statue of St. Anthony and the infant Jesus, a picture of Mary and Jesus, and the Crucifix. Now if one walked into my living room, I have “graven images” of something on earth, in heaven, and under the sea. I am sure most anyone can look around their homes and see the same things.

    What are these things to me? First off they are reminders of the people and family in my life who love me, and who I love, as most of these things were given to me from family and friends. The religious what-knots that I have are also reminders of what Jesus did for me. But most of all they are dust collectors. Yes I mean pledge and windex time and I hate to dust.

    Now I go into the Church and I have pictures of the Stations of the Cross, statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Crucifix, the Tabernacle and the Altar. Now I will exclude the Tabernacle and the Altar, but what are these? These are reminders of what Christ did for us. But you know what else they are, dust collectors? It is art like anything else is art.

    You know I can go into a Protestant Church which is fine with me, but I will find usually a vacant Cross, pictures of doves, sometimes Jesus, painted in the stain glass windows. I have gone into their homes and they have pictures of Jesus, and one of my friends if she does not have a thousand angels she does not have one. Most all of them have pictures of their family, and statues of something or the other. Dust collectors.

    One can go and take a picture or sculpt a flower outside and bring it into their homes, and it can be considered a graven image.

    This is what happens when we become so rigid in our beliefs that we do not leave room for anything. Am I going to hell because I have two wooden dolphins in my living room? If we stay this rigid, then every woman on this earth needs to go and take down every picture, every statue, every what-knot they have, because they are all images of something.

    But most of all “Dust Collectors” (which sometimes would be a good thing if I got rid of them, as they take so much time to dust:>) I am sure most women can relate to this.

    So I pray everyone just takes a breath, and leave some room for thought on some of these things.

    God Bless, Sandy

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