Sunday, June 11, 2006

Church #6: Mt. Carmel Church of God

1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica

How was the experience?
1: I was so uncomfortable and/or offended that I did not stay to the end of services.
10: This church was welcoming and thought-provoking. I would recommend that others experience this church.

ERICA: 2, and that was solely because of the music.
Bradley: Also a 2 because of the music.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Mt. Carmel Church of God
4672 Summerside Road
Cincinnati, OH 45244
This church does not have a website.

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
No-- it was just down the street from us.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
I'm not positive, but they believed in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which Wikipedia tells me belongs to Christian Pentacostals.

8. Who did you meet?
No one. No one at all. Sorry-- when services were over, Bradley and I high-tailed it.

9. If applicable, scans of handouts, tracts, etc
None were made available.

10. Church Hopper’s personal experience with the church, additional details:

ERICA: Oh boy.

First off, as I told Bradley... had this been the first church we went to, Church Hop would *not* have made it another step.

But let me start with the positive: the music. While the church itself was decorated with store-bought Jesus chotchkes, money can't buy a 70-year-old man on the guitar. The old-timey music with high-energy pianee and classic hymns-- perfect. I really thought we were on to something, for the first half of the services. And when the preacher got out a scale and people contributed their pennies to orphanages, my heart was warmed.

Enter creepiness. After the music they brought in a guest preacher, whose name I believe was Alan Tutor? The sermon scared me. First off, they are obviously from a sect that takes all of the Bible literally, which I can't really stand behind to begin with. He poked fun of a few other sects that don't believe that they believe, which is another thing I really can't abide. He made it known that theirs was the One Truth, the One Answer, the One God, etc. Nothing too frightening yet. Even when Alan Tutor claimed that he had healed people in hospitals when science had given up on them-- the knots on a woman's head instantly disappeared, and a man with 100 blood clots as a result of a simple knee surgery was also healed with the touch of his hand. That man was supposed to die, but he walked out of the hospital the next day.

Then came the part that pushed me over the edge. At the end of the sermon, when he got a 13-year-old girl from the congregation to start "speaking in tongues." He convinced her that she was being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and after she started crying and he started speaking in some foreign/made-up language, she started spouting her own language. All I could think the whole time was, "In improv, we call this jibberish." Seriously. When you start making meaningless sounds as a form of made-up language... it's called jibberish. We do it all the time.

I was definitely past uncomfortable at this part. There were maybe 10 people in the congregation, and most of them were swaying or crying or praising Jesus loudly. Bradley and I just looked at one another and stuck it out. I almost wish that we had stayed afterward to meet someone or at least ask them their denomination, but at noon I was too repulsed to stay another minute.


This church was really, really awkward to be in. First of all, this church was like nothing we've been to before. I looks like it was built onto the side of a house in order to evade taxes. When we pulled up to the side, we could see kid's bikes and jump ropes hanging off the house this "church" was attached to.

We then proceeded to follow somebody in, out of fear we would walk into somebody's house. Because of this, we started in right as the thing started. We got some strange looks from the eight or so people that were in there. The street-clothed preacher (?) walked up, and started talking about the penny war, and was shortley followed by the really, really good band.

Each time something was mentioned, I could hear this greasy, sleazy, Alec Baldwin like character "praise" God every time anything was mentioned. It really got annoying listening to two preachers at once.

He finally got up

His guest sermon was just unspeakable. He lacked rhythm, timing, grammer, and some basic things needed for all sermons. Now this church said they were Pentacostals (which I had never heard of), which belives in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, so this like 12 year old girl was up there being forced to speak in tounges. It was very, very ackward. He tried the subtle power plays of looking me strait in the eye, but my dead-pan stare proved him wrong. After his really, really, bad sermon, Erica and I high-tailed it out of there.


Mark Zimmerman said...

Haha, definitely pentacostals.... i'm surprised they didn't start bringing out the snakes to prove that god would save them from them.

speaking of which, did you hear about this guy?

Erica said...

better luck this sunday, i guess.

Travis Johnson said...

Hi Guys,

We have a discussion going on a message forum associated with the Church of God about your Church Hop blog. I've enjoyed reading your experiences in the different churches.

Would you mind stopping by, reading the thread, and sharing your thoughts about what makes a church engaging and hospitable. What do you consider a Church Hop success to be?

Here is the thread:
Actscelerate Discussion of Church Hop Blog

Thanks a lot,
Travis Johnson