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The Jawbone

Been reading the posts. Brings up so many questions and just "stuff." Like one post that talked about the actions of those people trying to pray you through to the Holy Ghost. For several years, I attended an Apostolic Church that was very "hands on." Felt they owed it to God to bring in as many souls to the altar to get them filled up. It was almost magical watching these people lay hands on sinners.

I remember some bizarre things that happened in that church. For example: A visiting minister (one very well known to us and the pastor) brought a bag of large rawhide dog bones to church. During the first half of what was to be a mini-sermon, we found out that God wanted these large dog bones to become the "jawbone of the ass" so that we might slay the Philistines in our lives. What this meant was that each of us would be required to take a turn handling the "jawbone" and with it we would slay the Philistines (demons in our lives).

The men went first (women and men were separated and men had the pre-eminence in all church activities). These men started shouting, yelling, dancing, whacking the walls so hard as to leave cracks and holes in them. These men ran outside the church crying, yelling all the way down the road and back around the church -- chasing out the demons. Some men hit their wives or children with these "jawbones" (aka rawhide dog bones).

The bones got passed to the women who were for the most part weeping and wailing and speaking in tongues or dancing to the ecstatic music supplied by the Pastor's daughter on the piano. When the women got the bones the men continued the weeping and wailing and dancing and the women went around clobbering things and people with the bones. These actions by both the men and women were considered "spiritual warfare." Casting out demons was the venue of the evening.

I refused to take part and totally shut down emotionally. I was so horrified that I just couldn't move or think -- pure disassociation. I was one of three that night that did not participate in the "killing of the Philistines." I was reprimanded by the pastor as being too proud and rebellious and forced to the altar to be prayed for over my "sin."

Well, anyway, these are just a few odds and ends from the memory file coming back to life. Unlike most of you here, I did not walk away. I was disfellowshipped when my pastor had a "revelation from God" during his prayer time. On that I day, I thought my world and life was over. Today, I realize God did me a favor. Sometimes I want to go back to the UPC, but for my own mental health's sake, I will not.

Still, I have to admit that there were times in the church when the world seemed far away and I was safe in the arms of Jesus -- secure in my knowledge of Him and His love for me. Reality is a far, far cry from that delusion, so for me, it is no wonder that every once in awhile, I feel a little a little tug to go back.

"Stacie" (real name withheld by request)


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