Oddities at a Charismatic church

Last Sunday I went with my friend to her church in the morning. I do not desire to be a Protestant Christian; I was just going because my friend and I had spent the night at her house and it was convenient for me to just go with her to church. Though my friend still believes that I wish to be Protestant.

Her church is a standard, young and hip kind of place. Most of the people there, including me and my friend, were teenagers and young adults. Before the service we sang four or five Christian rock songs, with jumping up and down, and hand raising.

At the end of the service, the pastor put some chairs at the front of the room and invited anyone up to sit in them. Immediately, a girl of about seventeen went to the front of the room, sat in one of the chairs, and began to sob loudly. I watched, a bit stunned, as all the teenagers, including my friend, rose from their chairs and walked over to the sobbing girl. In the background, another Christian rock song was playing. All of the people at the front of the room put their hands on the sobbing girl’s hands, shoulders, head, etc. and began to pray. I sat in my seat, uncomfortably watching this scene and unsure of what I should do. I decided not to go up, despite all my friends being up there now. I just found it to be… Hm, too intimate? A bit gross? My reaction is probably over-the-top, but I am not used to seeing such things. :blush:

People were up there for at least thirty minutes as the same song looped over and over.
Everyone came back to their chairs, but then the pastor once again asked for anyone in need of prayers would like to come up. A couple more people went up and sat down in the chairs and started crying. Once again, every young person got up and did the hands on praying thing. I sighed in exhaustion and once again watched this for another thirty minutes. Then it was over, and eventually, everyone got up and went over to the food table for lunch. My friend told me that they did that praying at the front thing every Sunday (She seemed to enjoy it). I knew then that I didn’t want to come back to her church on a Sunday, for fear of having to sit through that again.

Please tell me if I am overreacting. Has anyone else ever witnessed such a thing happen at their church? Does this happen at a Catholic Mass? I was just so stunned and slightly horrified, I am now worried that I am an 80 year old prude in a fourteen year old girl’s body.

Sounds like a Pentecostal type service. You aren’t a prude.

This type of service isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for me either and I am totally Protestant.

I’ve been attending Protestant churches all my life and have never encountered what you described.

Just a guess, but the church you visited could have been a charismatic pentecostal church in which they practice the laying on of hands. They may also be a little challenged on time management – sounds like.

At my church, there is a time near the end of each worship service (after preaching) when the pastoral staff and deacons and other lay leaders make themselves available for prayer where people can approach them with prayer requests as needed, while everyone else in the congregation is quietly praying or listening to a soft praise song or hymn in the background.

I’ve availed myself of it from time to time for such things as protection on a long trip I’ll be making, wisdom for a big upcoming decision, an upcoming surgery, or prayer for a family member who has strayed far away from God. etc.

However, it is more of one-on-one prayer event conducted in relative privacy with a staff member, or perhaps a couple may go together for prayer, like my wife and I. The whole thing usually lasts less than 10 minutes depending on the amount of people who come up. However, it is orderly and usually very private. It’s not very time consuming and doesn’t include a lot of drama.

Sounds like you went to a Pentecostal or Charismatic service.

Don’t worry your not overreacting. I would overreact if they brought out snakes. :smiley:

I haven’t been to many Protestant churches but this does seem rather odd granted in Biblical times it was acceptable in Israelite and surrounding Eastern cultures for both adult women and men to weep on certain religious occasions but this scene from what you described sounds rather forced and manipulative
you were right to feel uncomfortable

I LOVE charismatic scenes like this, but you dont have to. It is my preference. Franky i also LOVE the super traditional latin masses so…im all around. But if you dont connect with charisma like this…thats totally fine!

It does seem rather Pentecostal. Even so, this particular group goes by the term Nondenominational. Thank you all for your replies:)

I have not attended religious services anywhere but the Catholic Mass so I have no context from which to comment. However, I would like to point out the major difference base on your observation: it seems that service focus’s on making people feel better rather than the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The uplifting music, the praise through song, even the laying of hands while praying seem to be great outward signs but you didn’t mention any time to hear The Word of God or time to reflect on God’s Message. After the services were done, did you believe you knew God better or less from having attended? I’m sure you felt moved by the Holy Spirit but what was the message that you received?
Hopefully, as you prepare to become Catholic, you might want to discuss the differences between the ways Protestants and Catholics worship and how we differ in our belief of God. Catholics are notoriously not secular so we sometimes do a poor job evangelizing as we are called to do by God but we do have the same Holy Spirit coursing through our souls as the most energetic “new wave” churches.
Have a Blessed Day.

Since no one else has answered this part of your question:

No, this sort of thing would not be part of a Catholic Mass.

“Non denominational” denominations, though completely independent do usually have things in common. A mixture of Baptist and Pentecostal/Charismatic beliefs and practices.

Since Baptists and Pentecostals are in fact denominations, I think “non denominational” is in itself is to be polite inaccurate.

Just an awful lot of people calling themselves “non denominational” think they are the only Christians to exist.

You were at a mild service believe me. Growing up in a Pentecostal charismatic church, I have seen the following:

  • A man jump out of his seat, onto the tops of the pews and sprinting across the tops of them. then runs down the aisle, throws his jacket off and begins contorting back and forth.

  • pastors throwing down mics and running in place while screaming.

  • pastors singing in English one second and then “singing in tongues” the next second.

  • “Holy Ghost laughing”. A guy with MS was getting prayed over and the people praying for him begin to “laugh in the spirit” all while the pastor went into some sort of trance while he prayed over him and in the best way I can describe it, he looked like he was humping the guy. In 2014, this man still has MS and is confined to a wheel chair and has made peace with the fact that he will never be cured.

  • Women standing in place rocking back and forth screaming to the tops of their lungs.

Once I saw a man run down the aisles and begin “dancing in the Spirit” at the drop of a hat. It was all I could do not to laugh because it looked weird to me.

I’ve seen another man twirl around like a figure skater. Another man rock back and forth with his hand in the air all while “speaking in tongues.” They claim it’s the language that is spoken in Heaven.:rolleyes:

I’ve seen women holding babys, YES BABIES, began to weave and rock back and forth.

  • Ministers scream, call people out to come forward, grab their heads, yell at them and push them down.

…is it any wonder why I entered therapy even as a Catholic with all of this pent up inside me that I cannot escape? is it any wonder why, even as a Catholic, I am getting more cynical of religion as time goes by and I get older? I know Christ is with me and after growing up IN THAT, I thank God he is.

Again, to the OP, you got off light. Imagine being raised in that?

I have read the posts which gave sound information. I am not sure what I can add; however, if you have other questions, I will do my best to answer you. I am a Catholic charismatic. Currently, I am not a member of any kind of prayer group.

:bigyikes: :bigyikes:
From what know of the ‘snake handler’ Chirstians, I think I’ll go with the snakes and their handlers ! ! ! :eek: :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

Snakes are not bad, it’s the poison that will get you! ! ! :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

You are not over-reacting. Listen to your “gut” on this one. There is too much theatrics described for me, and it would be a certain turn-off. If you have to let your friend know you found this behavior too extreme for your own taste and prefer to attend Church else-where.

I hear ya. I wish I could say that what I posted is not true but every bit of it was. I just never got that kind of worship and I never will.

I’ve seen and heard ministers tell the church that “in my spirit I hear footsteps. JESUS IS COMING!!!” And people go CRAZY! It is mass hysteria to the utmost.

If this is what a person wants, I don’t stop them but this type of religion has led me to live a life of doubt and scrupulosity, even as a catholic, although I have been doing better lately. Helps that my priest is a Franciscan, the best line of priests in the Church IMO.

And my posts are in no way meant to belittle the people involved, but just to let the OP know that what she saw, while it may have unnerved her, some of us have seen more extreme forms of this worship which have caused greater harm. I do not seek sympathy, but what some call “movements of God” can have negative effects on those who witness them and I do not think that GOD intends that. Just my opinion.

Though it would not appeal to me, I don’t see anything wrong with the emotionally cathartic and supportive portion of the service that you described, OP. People are wired differently; sometimes “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. Did anything seem abusive—not just uncomfortable for more emotionally reserved people, but abusive?

As it troubles you, leave them be; but I see no need to put them down.

Wait, did you used to go to the same church I did?

I was raised in Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee division.

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