When I went back home over the Thanksgiving holiday, I went to my home church as expected. As I’m sure I’ve said at some point or another, I grew up in a Baptist Church. So of course that means I’ve seen my fair share of people catch the Holy Ghost, and I suppose I’ve done so myself. Some people cry, some people dance to the music. But there exists a pattern of how people show that they’ve been affected by the sermon or the song, and I actually wonder if there is some type of “Holy Ghost School” that these people go to, because they all do the same thing. Let me list a few for you.
1) Throwing Wigs and Hats– In my church, and many others like it, a lot of the older women wear huge hats. I’m not talking about dainty little pillbox hats either, I mean large windmill-like creations that somehow block the view of the pulpit from every possible angle. A lot of these women also wear intricate wigs under said hats to cover up whatever funk-tastical state their natural hair is in. When the Holy Ghost enters their body, off come the hats and the wigs with some supernatural flair. They don’t simply place the things in the pew next to their belongings. Nope. None of that. The hats and wigs go flying in whatever direction they will, and sometimes land in the aisles or actually on people several pews in front or behind. Not to worry though, after the sermon, the ushers return the hairpieces to their rightful owners. I tell you, those ushers must have hawk-like vision to be able to accurately determine whose hair landed where. I was an usher for a while back in the day, and I couldn’t keep up.
2) Jheri Curl Juice Shake em’ up– For some reason unknown to me, a lot of the men, especially those over 50, have drippy jheri curls. I’m not sure if they’re trying to hold on to some fabulous part of their youth or something, but trust me when I say it is far from a good look. When they “get happy” they do some epileptic-type shake that sends activator flying everywhere. I’m glad churches are non-smoking environments because that stuff is flammable. It’d be terrible if some poor soul was calmly smoking a cigarette during the sermon and one of the jheri curled bunch started shaking and the activator landed on them. POOF, instant backdraft. I shudder at the thought.
3) The half hand-raise– I truly don’t know why EVERYONE does this. I’m guilty of it too, so I’m stumped. When something moving is said or sung, the left hand goes up as if answering a question in grade school. It only goes halfway up though, and the palm is ALWAYS facing the pastor or the choir. Maybe we think that the spirit of the Lord will enter our bodies through our palms? Or perhaps we’re giving whoever is at the pulpit a somber high-five? Whatever the case, up go the hands, and grab a Kleenex because the tears are about to flow freely.
4) The faux faint– It’s usually the same person, at the same time every Sunday. For some reason, at my church, this woman likes when the pastor gives the church announcements. “Hallelujah Jeeeessuuuussss” and out she goes. The hand on the forehead, Scarlet O’Hara style. She manages to land on one of the strapping young ushers. Maybe something is lacking at home. I don’t know, but she sits in the same seat every week, and the same ushers catch her every time. Poor Jason and Sean. That woman is a hot mess.
5) Marathon aisle running– When things really get going, and the spirit has really filled the church, the music changes to a more frenetic pace and people start acting up. Out come the marathon runners. These same few people feel it necessary to show their praise by running up and down the center and side aisles of the church. The sanctuary of my church is on the second floor, and I’m afraid that one day the floor will give in and it’s going to be a replay of the Titanic. Now, the aisle runners don’t just run amok. They have a patented type of run that resembles some NFL player’s end zone dance. High-knee stepping with the quickness all over the place. They never enter the pews or enter the pulpit. Oh no, they know better than that. That’s not good Churchianty. The ushers have stopped trying to corral these people into one place; they just run until they tire themselves out. I’m convinced that these people are trying to get in an extra aerobic workout for the week. “Watch out now Gold’s Gym, I’m getting my religion and my workout all at once!”
6) Dance club show off– Okay, so Sunday service is the morning after many people hit the clubs. Some people feel the need to show off whatever dances they learned at the club the night before during the freestyle instrumental gospel getdown. Yes, the music is upbeat, and yes some of it sounds like you can really groove to it. The Lord is cool with you getting your dance on to music being played in his honor, I’m sure of it. But some dances are best left at the club. I swear I’ve seen people doing the ‘Walk it Out’ and ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ and even the ‘Laffy Taffy’ and ‘Electric Slide’ to some holy music. Oh goodness. Oh goodness. Oh goodness! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ll get my dance on if I’m really into the music, but I’m smart enough to stick to a two step or something. It’s beyond hilarious to me when people claim to be Bible-beating Christians who don’t go out except to Bible Study and choir rehersal, but they can do the ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ better than those of us who freely admit to going to the club. The lyrics are “Oh happy day, when Jesus washed….washed my sins away” NOT “let it rain, clear it out…Chicken Noodle Soup, with a soda on the side”. I promise you that. Even the pastor looks at them sometimes like “Dayum, where’d you learn that move Sister Yvonne?”
There are plenty more similar things that people do when the Holy Ghost gets them, I’ve only listed a few. I have strong opinions about church, and some of them are not so favorable. However, I keep going back—of course to get the Word, but partially to see the debauchery going on within the hallowed walls. I should probably be ashamed of that, but me being who I am, of course I’m not. When I was a kid not yet old enough to go to the club on the weekends, I would be excited to go watch people get down with their bad selves!
I just hope when I get old, I don’t end up throwing my wig one day. I’m not sure I could live with myself.