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Sunday, July 31, 2011

My secret investigations as a pseudo Gonzo reporter from the heart of the protestant establishment. Part 3:

I’ll try without much theology this time…

On the morning of my third day at bible camp, I started to feel numb. Even I was getting bored with the same idea trying to be drilled into my mind. “Accept Christ into your life, submit yourself to Christ, real control of your life can come only through acceptance of Christ, Bla Bla Bla.” It stopped being an inner battle of good and evil, it even stopped being interested and I just wanted it to end. My thoughts wandered, I was checking my e-mail every 3 minutes only to realize to my discontent that no one cared enough about me to send me an e-mail right then. My thoughts were about the revolution in Israel and not about my own redemption. I started reading the book of Daniel, thinking about Meir Ariel’s song and album “rishumei pecham”. I pondered on how it is not the word, the holy gospel or bible that makes it relevant to so many people’s lives, it is the interpretation. Meir Ariel created an amazing interpretation of the book of Daniel making it relevant to modern society and to my life, just as Allan, the pastor preached how psalms 21:16 (or whatever random verse he chose) made it relevant to his followers. Using up to date methods, you can use anything as an analogy to portray a message. I started to wonder if I could create a Harry Potter religion, turn it into a Gospel that people follow religiously. I’m sure that there are enough verses to reinterpret as prophecy made relevant to modern society and the message of salvation. “Everybody open Deathly Hallows chapter 34. What does Nagini, the snake, represent in your lives? Who here has battled their inner Nagini, been tempted to the forces of darkness? What allowed Harry to overcome his doubt in himself?” My mind wandered about how my recent observations during this weekend could allow me to create “The Church of Harry Potter our Modern Day Metaphorical Savior”, as a social experiment that would lose control within a matter of months, and turn into a real religion. Fo real.

“Are you all fucking stupid?” I wanted to yell so many times, but the truth was that I resented them more as I understood more, and turned more angry as I learned to accept the fundamental difference between us. I regard my faith in myself as a strength, and they regard it as a weakness. “ Would you mind if I prayed for you that God bring hard times on you, so that you fall and could then accept him as a true savior?” Drew asked me at the lunch table while we were chowing down on amazing ribs and salad. For the first time I decided to reveal a little more of my true beliefs to them, respectfully of course, but still to share my point of view. I looked at Drew, looked him straight in the eye, with all the arrogance pride and contempt I could find in a single glance and told him “bring it on”, And I truly believe in that. “What do you have to lose?” Clint asked me in the same cross-examination/conversation at the lunch table, truly enjoying myself for the first time today, awakening my mind from its earlier numbness. “If you’re doing good anyway, why not accept Christ into your life, and then if there is eternity you won’t burn in hell. But if you’re wrong and there is a God and you don’t accept him into your life, aren’t you scared of burning in hell for all eternity? That’s quite a price to pay”. It sounded so rational, so solemn in the core belief behind it, what do I have to lose? at that moment I felt like leaping onto the table painted in blue and reenacting Mel Gibson in Braveheart standing at the top of the grassy hill while being shot by arrows yelling from the top of my lungs. “FREEDOOOOOOOOM”,all I have to lose is my freedom and sovereignty over my life, not too big a price to pay, is it? But I just smiled politely and said, “I’m not ready to let go of that yet”.

As I left their property, feeling relieved that I had accomplished what I had set out to do, I thanked my hosts once again for their hospitality, with true sincerity. They asked me to fill in my info, my email account so we could keep in touch. I thought about all I had written in this blog and decided that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to let them have my info, so I wrote down a wrong e-mail address and spelled my name wrong. Not because I am ashamed in anything I have recorded of my experience, but only because I acknowledged that, as Drew told me “fundamentally, we disagree and we could continue this discussion forever, and not change our minds”. We were both completely confident that we were right, and I was a guest in their homes and I would not want to offend them. So I chose to disappear into one of the hardest things to achieve nowadays, anonymity, by the simple act of spelling my name wrong.

As I got into my car to start driving into Rocky Mt National Park, I noticed that someone had left me a book on my windshield. I stopped the car and took it off my windshield, it was the new testament. Only then did I truly recognize that they saw it as a battle just as much as I did. I think the only difference in our approaches towards one another throughout this weekend was that they tried to save me from eternal hell, whereas I had not presumptions of that sort. I tested my faith and overcame.

Singing quietly to myself “we shall overcome” changing it after a couple of times to “I have overcame”, I turned on my ipod and put Meir Ariel on, and listened to the only interpretation of the bible I truly appreciate. I smiled.

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