Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Name Is Mongo Mushybrains

I do not even know where to begin.

I am now officially a member of City Of Refuge United Church of Christ. I had decided to take that step last week, but the way it all coalesced... the week of Bishop Flunder's birthday celebration, a CORSF Fifth Sunday event, the Holy Spirit moving forward and saying "yeah, and Lee too" with my brother-in-faith and seminary colleague Lee... it really does testify to the truth of a common call-and-response I have been experiencing at CORSF... 

"Is God good!?" [YES!]
"Is God good!?" [YES!]
"Has God been good today!?" [YES!]
"How do I know!?" [HOW?]
"Because I'm here." [PRAISE GOD!]

I could write at length about the overwhelming intensity of emotion that overtook me when I walked to the front of the church to officially stand before the congregation and join the church. The fact that I did so in the presence of Bishop Flunder, and her wife, and the absolute roar of love for me and deep full-body hugs galore when the Holy Spirit tore into me and uncorked emotions and tears which I had not felt since the moment I got Saved in 2008. I could write about how the common saying as everyone was hugging me was "Welcome home, brother Philip."

I could write about Jeremy, the absolutely loving huggy-bear minister-in-training who I met when I came forward to join the church. I could write about the most beautiful Alabama accent I have ever heard in my life; I could add that when Jeremy was hugging me I wanted to just fall into him and stay there... how his beauty was just... perfect... how he could've looked me right in the eye at that moment and made me fall in love with him... how I felt the the Holy Spirit deep within the bowels of my loneliness at that moment, stirring me with an overwhelming mix of love, lust, and spiritual satiety in the presence of a mortal I had never even seen before that day. I could write about how the Spirit reminded me that yes, indeed, I have a fiery passionate essence that needs to be loved by another man and that wants to give my heart to another man...

I could write of how from that powerful moment I now understand with absolutely no doubt in my mind, that my mate's list of non-negotiable traits now includes "must be a Christian." The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. (Psalm 118:22-24)

I could write about the music. The music... the CORSF choir. The solo numbers offered in love to Bishop Flunder, sung by church members with absolutely positively staggering vocal ability. The singing group of which my neighbor Deninge is a member -- the fact that I was at church watching my neighbor perform and it is now my home where she was performing. And I could write of the virtually indescribable glory of being in the presence of the full Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir as they gave the phrase "wall of sound" a meaning that Phil Spector could not even begin to approximate. When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me. May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD, when they hear what you have decreed. May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great. (Psalm 138:3-5)

I could write of how God kept on giving, how I found myself drawn to say goodnight to Bishop Flunder and how basically "out of nowhere" [the Holy Spirit LAUGHS in response to that phrase] the Bishop begins speaking about CORSF's need for a strong ministry for addiction recovery... and how that led to contact information being traded with CORSF's Outreach Programs Minister, and a discussion about further passions such as trasngender ministry outreach. I could begin to try to communicate to the reader regarding how generous God was to me on Sunday 7/31/2011. Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. (Psalm 150)

I could try to explain how I think I am called to be a "circle holder" that provides for the physical safety of those through whom the Spirit moves during worship. I do wonder what would happen if the Spirit ever took hold of me in that fashion... my body is not physically capable of the ecstatic channeling that I have seen at CORSF, but I do know that I would be honored to be a circle holder for those whom the Spirit takes over during worship. It is a noble role, and I thank God for the chance to serve. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. (Acts 2:42-43)

I could try to capture the glory of that day, from beginning to end. I could try. But in the end, I would fail in any such endeavour. For it is not possible to recount the many and varied ways in which God spoke, and is still speaking, in any way that does them glory. It cannot be explained in words. To understand what I have experienced, one must experience it directly.

C'mon over; you are invited. Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the one who sent Me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. (Matthew 10:40-41)

Εγώ ο ίδιος για να προσφέρουν τη μεγαλύτερη δόξα Θεού στον μονογενής Υιός.

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