Of the house of the Lord and who is welcome, how and to what extent those who are welcome are welcome, many a commentaries have been given. In a recent, trending video, a popular vernacular tele/radiovangelist commented on the Virgin Birth arguing how much saved pentecostals pass judgment and segregate on the basis of sin and would have not even wanted to hear of unmarried-but-betrothed Mary’s side of the story about how she got pregnant without fornicating. Ironically, the one they proclaim dined and wined with sinners even at their natural habitat and places of daily chores (consider the Samaritan woman). I am not sure whether you have faced this segregation from a clique of the very saved ones who have pocketed a Christ that cannot and should not be shared lest the son of man suffers contamination from the very sins that he died to cleanse and sanctify. As a Catholic faithful (you may want to stop here if you already feel like the Jesus in your pocket is about to throw up), I have faced this tons of times. So much so, it bothers me not and – to be honest – I kind of expect it when I interact with our Christian colleagues from many other non-Catholic denominations.
See, I was once invited to the wedding preparations of a couple as a member of the planning committee. This was the time when COVID was really kicking us and pulling a squid-like sniper shot on everyone who was still moving after the red light. Anyhow, due to Baba Kahûra’s concern for all our safety, gatherings had been banned completely. As such, the wedding committee meetings were held virtually. As usual, the Jürgen gene in me kicked in and I was 5 minutes into the meeting room before the groom and bride could sign in. My default settings is jolly and entertaining (or I choose to believe so and there is not a damn thing you can do to convince me otherwise even if my jokes are all dad jokes). There were strangers coming in and we had a good laugh before the meeting could begin. I believe I was the warmest and that is why I was asked to lead the opening prayer. I am not the kind that fits into your programme when you can fit into mine and I do not conceal my identity – I have no reason to and I am grateful to The Supreme for my Catholic Faith. So, I began and ended the prayer with the usual, “In the Name of the Father…” By the time I was done, they were all done with me and my praying. I believe to date that they believed that I had jinxed their wedding with my sinner’s prayer being the opening one for the wedding committee. How knowest thou this…? Because that was the first and last time that I was ever invited to offer an opening or a closing prayer during the entire 3 months of two meetings per week. Even when it was just the groom, the bride and I, they insisted on asking each other to open and close – a sinner was welcome to offer fantastic ideas and money for the wedding, but he needed to social distance himself from the Lord, masked and silenced by Pentecostalism without chance for redemption.
It appeared to me that the couple and the entire Pentecostal team therein believed that a Catholic’s prayer bounces back off the ceiling when they utter it and cannot, should not, and would not permeate the ozone layer to get to God’s ears if the Pope made it. If it were up to some Pentecostal “savedees“, such prayer would bounce back and choke the unclean Catholic with such fervor Lucifer would come to his aid to no avail.
The double standards are astounding and the shifting of goalposts tantalizing. One moment your prayer isn’t welcome and – in fact – you are unwelcome; another minute your M-Pesa or wallet is not you and is a non-sinning, non-sinner entity that is welcome under the usual Christian extortionist favorite, blanket verse, “The Lord loves a cheerful giver…” Some go to the extent of presuming and proclaiming salvation by giving, as if the grace of God could ever be earned!
This is just one instance of many that I have encountered – others were funny. Like when I was described as non-prayerful because I did not shout and sweat (cry to God) when the defeaning shouts of believers woke up all the babies in the upper room during a morning glory intercession. If this is not accusation aforethought by stimulus, I don’t know how to classify it. The Good Book refers to Lucifer as the accuser and the constant lack of second chances for redemption or the unwelcome approach to presumed/pre-judged sinners by some Pentecostals is Luciferous and lackadaisical.
How dare you shout down racism when you cannot believe that a fellow human has the right to approach their father’s throne of unending mercy and unearned/undeserved graces. I do not mean to imply condoning sin. Instead, I am advocating for embracing the sinner – especially the one you think is not as worthy of salvation as you are. Dare I remind you that it is not your salvation nor is it your grace. Dissociate from sinners by all means, but do not hinder their path towards and unto righteousness. With that written, “Hallelujaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!”