(Click here to skip this if you don’t know anything about Christianity.)
My mother’s younger, fortysomething-year-old brother was out of one job. Which was a cause for celebration. He was in charge of a church’s music ministry, which played the otherwise dull, electronic-organ-heavy church hymns. The only other instrument that I noticed received prominence was the drums.
But today, hey! Whaddya know – the youths took over! My mom relayed the message as an excuse to go to church, which I sportingly went along with.
This would be a change, I thought.
A little background: I was born into Catholic Christianity, went for the regular cathechism classes, and am part of the majority – the lazy majority. The majority that doesn’t go to church, go only during the 4 days of obligation (See? See? I did pay attention…), go only when their parents force them to, or (in the case of guys) go to meet church girls. It’s a fact. The chances of a girl being attractive there was a lot higher. (I have yet to deduce a reason for this observation!)
So I went. Whoa. They were playing Christian rock! (I don’t listen to Christian rock, but I’m guessing that’s what it sounds like…) It was the first time I heard a bass guitar, and an electric guitar, in that church! I thought, “Hey, they’re playing my kind of music!”
I scanned the area for looks of displeasure on the older folks of the crowd. They looked the same – stone-faced, obscure, wondering what had happened to the regular music. I guess the music kept them awake – my shirt was thumping to the bass guitar plucks! Sure, the volume was loud, but the music wasn’t that loud.
I tried to think back on what genre of rock it was. It wasn’t punk rock or heavy metal from the electric guitar. It wasn’t rap rock or ballad-like crooning from the vocalists. It was in the style of the Beatles! The band played to the heavier side of the Beatles’ definition of rock and roll! And yet, surprisingly, it sounded just as upbeat and radio-friendly, without being soft and sleep-inducing like hymns! (At this point I started realizing just what bands meant when they say they were influenced by the Beatles…)
Seeing the priest, and the front part of the pews lively, reminded me of those African-American movies where the church would be injected with hip-hop, R&B adrenalin. Luckily it wasn’t hip-hop or R&B. It was rock. The kind of rock I like. The kind of rock the congregation would be okay with, because it wasn’t 90’s or beyond rock – it was the Beatles’ generation rock and roll.
Jam session was over. Time for the usual drones of the priest (who wasn’t exactly young). Or so I thought. Sure, he still had that accent and intonation, but he seemed livelier. Perhaps he was a fan of the Beatles (I’m not a fan, but I don’t dislike their music).
Oh no. Testimonial time. A girl was brought up to the altar. She and the priest had a conversation about lecherousness (yay!) almost as corny and scripted as the First MTV Asia Awards. It was in Malaysian English, though, and it was very amusing to see the priest speaking casually, and stumbling over words, like “opposite se… s… sex.”
The rest of the hymns, especially the regular ones, had merely the addition of guitars. Sadly, I started hearing more of the sickening electronic organ (which to this day I still associate to church hymns!)
They had the good sense to jam in between the parts of mass. Of course, that meant an addition of half an hour to the whole show, but it didn’t seem to be that long. To add to that, they had this youth thingy, which I wanted to go, but wasn’t sure about my sister’s reluctance levels. Surprise, surprise – she wanted to go! I then pretended I was just following along. (Do I have to reveal my motives to you?)
Now, I hadn’t been to a youth thing before this. All I knew was that it was a good place to meet members of the opposite sex, in between calls from the church to return to a church life. Bah. I knew very well that they would try to drill those subconscious messages in their activities. Little did I know that the theme for this youth activity was to be Harry Potter!
Harry Potter is overrated (which is why I don’t fancy his story), but The Church wasn’t exactly supportive of witchcraft and magic, so I was shocked to see a wannabe wizard waltz up on stage to announce the youth thing!
So I went. Names on labels that usually don’t stick. They had games, all based on Harry Potter. Ugh. I was expecting some prayer session, candles and all, with bibles in hand, after the game. Imagine my disappointment (yeah, right!) when there wasn’t! The games just continued. What? No prayers? No church-like activities? No mention of Jesus? No call of repentance? This was weird. It was only at the end that bore any resemblance to a church activity. Two regularly recited prayers. That was it. I felt shortchanged and yet happy (because I don’t fancy church activity stuff! :P)
By now you must be wondering what my motives were. To know God better? No. To cleanse my sins? No. To meet girls? Yes! (Hey, at least I didn’t sin by lying to you, right?) Of course, my sister being there and her bashing of a nearby playa stopped me there. I felt like I wanted to know them, but my sister was tying my leg to the ground (not literally).
Even after the whole thing, I lingered around, reluctant to leave the area, because I felt unsatisfied. I had to make a connection; a contact; a potential someone. Alas, my sister dragged me back into reality. Before I could run back into my fantasies, my dad came, and it was time to go. The story ends there.
A quote from a time before when I didn’t know church could be less boring:
“Shame on you making noise in church. Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep?”