Music: C- They had a different crew than usual performing, “special guest” guys from “Teen Challenge” (from now on referred to as “TC”). It was on the fringe of the ‘so bad it’s good’, but what made it stay just ‘bad’ is how boring and predictable the songs themselves were. oh well, nice try guys! The first song made it seem like we were headed for pure train wreck glory, there was a dude on drums and a dude on djembe. The djembe dude was absolutely so off time, just doing a simple one-two-three-four rhythm, it was like “one hundred monkeys on djembes, eventually one will hit on time”. The next song though he wasn’t playing it, he was up with the choir guys signing (not singing! signing with his hands). It took me a little bit to connect the dots and well, i know there’s a respectful way to make this joke, i don’t know how: there was a deaf guy with very bad rhythm playing djembe. They had a song with the chorus “Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me” which sounds like a clingy, wishful, pathetic breakup song. That’s kinda what this type of music is like in general i guess. Anyway, other than that it was pretty uneventful musically: super stripped down, no showy musicianship, no good songs, no nothing.
people who will die in the next 20 years: less than 5%
pastor charisma: There wasn’t really a pastor filling in. The normal one happened to be on a cruise at the moment.
décor, iconography: This is the same church building as “Waves of Glory” which is week 10. So I already sorta described it there. But me and Jaymie both thought it seemed more modern than that service, plus they taped off the back 5 or 8 rows to make it seem less empty, and consequently less dead.
food/drink: We left after an hour and a half so I don’t know. Either way probably not worth it.
scare quotient: Hmmm… They definitely believe in the satan: “There IS an enemy of our souls!” But they never named “him” and this service focused on how drugs is bad. Kinda sorta not that scary to me.
number of people: 50
The real story:
Harvest Family Church is, according to Jaymie, a bunch of kooks. They started chillin’ in the same spot as Waves of Glory, who are also kooks, so we paid them a visit. There were some people in the lobby hanging out behind a table wearing shirts that had a hand with a hole in it with the words “This is Love” written underneath. I didn’t get it for a while.
We waited for the service to begin and i looked around. Been here before so it’s that much more depressing, I sorta can’t believe i’m still punishing myself like this. (I must satisfy my readers and my desire for fame.) There’s a projector and it says to turn off your cell cuz if god calls you it’s not gonna be on a cell. “Fuckin peasant, just get a fuckin cell phone already” i think to myself.
This guy starts things up and makes a weather joke, lo and behold it’s not funny. He continues talking for some reason, saying that “god’s gonna come and invade” i don’t know what, maybe a heart, maybe a foreign land, it doesn’t matter. God has muscles and conquers. And miracles or whatever: some girl was “attacked 13 times by a death angel” and survived cuz of magnets, i mean, cuz of miracles. Pastor’s on a cruise so that’s that, we’re stuck with a bunch of goddam amateurs aka “teen challenge”. Apparently they’re fresh off performing during waves of glory. Leader guy goes “hallelujah” but no one is moved.
They rip through a bunch of typical christian songs. Seems like this type of christian tends to only like the absolute shittiest of music, unless there’s some kind of rule forbidding doing cool stuff or anything that remotely strays from the sub-nickelback-sub-creed-sub-dave-matthews-band-sub-sheryl-crow-sub-anything-that-you-thought-just-might-not-have-a-sub. Just kidding obviously there’s no rule like that, they just have horrible aesthetic taste. Well, they do that for a while, then we get the speeches.
So the leader-man starts by explaining what TC is: a faith-based addictions treatment program. I guess they got housing maybe, day programming, regular stuff like that. And the cornerstone is: god will make anything possible, as usual. So then everyone introduces themselves and just says how long they’ve been at it for. Then David steps up to the plate to give more details about his story. It’s not very compelling (sorry bro), he’s just a bad speaker i guess. Not trying to shame him for sharing his story or anything. Eventually i saw the leader guy give the cue to the keyboard player to play shitty bleeding-heart-redemption chords on the keys to close his speech. Haha, transparent attempts at emotional manipulation.
The next guy i felt for him a little more, probably cuz he seemed a little more comfortable, less awkward and like someone was twisting his arm into doing it. And he did sorta end up rocking what little of a house there was to rock. He finished with all this screaming and shit about satanism and evil spirits. He said they were flying out of him. He was possibly the only aboriginal guy in the group. Made me have some complicated feelings about the whole program. And i don’t think it’s not my place to comment about individual people’s interactions with colonial religions. So i won’t. But his story was indeed harsh as shit.
Leader guy again: “Before this day is done you’re gonna be glad you came to church!” Divination is not one of your powers, fuckface. Then he blames the holy spirit for the fact that he’s stumbling on his words. Typical. The dude in stretched ears in the front row is getting pumped, doing some jumping. I guess mosh hardcore got some of their moves from pumped up christians, or did that happen in the opposite direction. Either way, disclaimer: if you make a cookie out of dog shit, it’s as much a cookie as christian punk is punk. To that kid in the front row: I can see right through you.
Back on track here… Apparently TC is “like a virus”. Apparently “you can only live a few seconds without hope”. Apparently TC is “the most successful faith based addictions program” in the world. Apparently the room is dominated by dweebs.
Next up is Shane telling his story. He’s from Jamaica. He came here to help out with TC. He’s got a rough story too. And of course he’s got a weather joke. There’s a book about the Baader-Meinhof gang entitled “Everyone Talks About The Weather… We Don’t.” Think about it.
And so i really have to share something about this TC program. I really hate do-gooder christians. Almost as much as do-gooder white people. I find it hard to argue with someone’s personal beliefs, as long as they don’t go fucking around with them everywhere. There’s a fine line there, especially with addictions treatment, counseling, and the like. Essentially, what i’m trying to say is: if this program has helped someone get out of a rut that they needed help getting out of, good for them – being hooked on meth or whatever sucks. But the programs are only in place because there is an enormous deficit in treatment and counseling in the first place, or alternatively one could blame colonization by christian pushers. If i’m not mistaken, these evangelical asswipes are the ones in favour of cutting all the funding to harm reduction programs etcetera. So yeah, sometimes a christian program helps someone, big whoop. Anyhow, fuck all that.
TC is done for now. it’s time for announcements. Apparently marriage is like assembling ikea furniture or something. “We’re gonna be a church that has amazing marriages!” Who cares. Me and Jaymie joked about how we should pretend we want to attend their marriage workshops. We didn’t end up doing that.
Then the kids go to the front and some people touch them on their heads. They go to sunday school after that. That’s when i realized we’d been there for over an hour already and they were just now sending the little fuckers to sunday school. shit.
“What’s heaven’s perspective on finances? What’s heaven’s truth about finances?” That’s when you know they’re about to ask for money. There was no transition. “We want eternal life to manifest in finances. Eternal life needs to touch your finances.” It’s kinda too obvious to point this out, but it seems impossible not to.
There was more singing and finally some other dude to again talk to us about being saved by TC. It was getting pretty fuckin tedious by now. We had previously decided to leave after an hour and a half, whether or not they were done. So before that happened we got to watch a video about a fundraiser TC does where people go snowmobiling. That was a fascinating video. Sub-creed-sub-nickelback-etc christian music in the background just so you don’t lose your aesthetic bearings. Shots of people eating, jacuzzis, the event is actually called “Sled for Eternity”, how can you stay away. Plus “every year there’s a miracle”. This year’s miracle was that someone found out their son-in-law was doing the TC program. ASTONISHING MIRACLE WOW. Low standards. This guy really hammered home the point that the evangelical trinity is god-is-big, i-am-big, business-is-big. It’s predictable and moronic, i think. We left.
I wish the normal pastor wasn’t on a fuckin cruise cuz apparently he’s a real firebrand, all yelling and making people talk like idiots, the whole nine. This seems to always happen, i always miss the craziest shit. It won’t spare them though.
Oh yeah, this church is in the same building that minor threat played over thirty years ago. Hm!