Sunday, August 29, 2004

Friday night Matt and I decided to attend a “crusade.” I was relieved when we got there to find that it was not a true crusade with Muslims and Christians killing each other as was the case in Middle Ages, but merely a church service. The speaker was a young woman from California, which was one of the reasons we went—anytime we can hear a sermon in English, we try to take the opportunity. A group had come from America for this crusade. Matt had heard them speak in the chapel service at the school where we teach and thought that I would enjoy the service.

One thing you need to know about our school is that most of the teachers and faculty there are Seventh Day Adventist, thus the crusade was hosted by the SDA churches in the community and the American team that came is SDA. Generally this is not an issue. We go to church on Sunday; they go on Saturday. We eat pork; they don’t. Not a big deal. (There was a problem when the man teaching history in high school noticed that the A Beka books that the school uses classify SDA as a cult.)

We went to the crusade expecting to be able to agree with them on a lot of issues—we all love Jesus, we all read the Bible, we all believe in God. Little did we know that the message on Friday night would be on the importance of worshiping on Saturday.

We entered the church and were greeted with a sound system that was maxed out to the point of causing hearing damage. The Indonesian people took turns yelling into the microphone, singing and such. I think that sound systems are still a bit novel here. If someone has one, they want everyone in the surrounding 50 miles to know about it.

So we sat in the second row of this church, next to the young woman who would be speaking (her name happened to be Jody Foster). After about an hour of singing and preliminary speakers, Jody got up to preach. About 15 minutes into her 30-45 minute sermon, we knew we were in trouble. We sat for a long time listening to misinformation about the early church and Constantine (Thanks to Dr. Carter and his gruesome class on Baptist Heritage, we knew where her sermon was historically wrong or misrepresenting the truth). Then there was the exposition of why going to church on Sunday was started because of the pagan sun god.

I was relieved when I heard her winding down, thinking, “good, it’s almost over. Surely the invitation will be normal.” Wrong again. We were invited to raise our hand if we were ready to follow “Jesus and his commandments and worship on the day he set aside for us.” My hands stayed down, although by this point my ears were ringing and my head was pounding from the loud PA and I desperately wanted to put my fingers in my ears. I refrained, not because it would be rude, but I was afraid it would be misconstrued as raising my hand.

Matt when hiking with all of the visiting Americans and the SDA people today (Sunday). Since my leg is STILL swollen (more on that later), hiking up a volcano is out of the question for me. I went to church with one of the other teachers. Selvia goes to a Full Gospel church, complete with speaking in tounges and people being slain in the spirit.

We arrived about 30 minutes late, which was earlier than most others. The sound system was quite loud in there as well, but luckily Selvia wanted to sit in the back. I was quite relieved. After about an hour of a lively song service (which included some speaking in tounges, but because of the distortion in the sound system and my ignorance of Indonesian I could never tell when they were doing it), a guest speaker gave a nice sermon on wisdom and how God has it or something. Selvia translated some of it for me, but I didn’t quite understand.

Afterward, a couple who have two children in our school approached me to see if Matt and I would tutor their children. I told them what we have been telling everyone, the truth: we are very busy with the regular classes we are teaching and adjusting to the culture and do not have the time to tutor anyone at this point. I advised them to get a tutor from the school for their girls (who really do need a tutor, as their English skills are well below par). They said, “No, we want a native speaker.” I restrained myself from slapping some sense into them and said that I understood, then explained (again) that there are no native speaking tutors available.

I left the church annoyed and frustrated with their persistent pleading for us to tutor their daughters. I tried very nicely to say no about five times. I told them “maybe next semester” and even, “I’ll talk to Matt about it.” Nothing would dissuade them, “How about just once a week?” Sigh.

Health news:
Please continue to pray for my leg and the blood within it. It is still quite swollen. The doctor said that since it is still swollen, I will need to be on the rat poison (i.e. blood thinner) for six months instead of the initial three that was prescribed.


Robert H. said...

Did anything else happen with the SDA crew?

Anonymous said...

one time, joel and i found this book in someone's driveway in shreveport after we got married and it was from the SDA headquarters or something. (we didn't steal it. they were distributed through out the neighborhood and this one wasn't actually IN the driveway, it was more like on the street) we read the whole thing and it told us that the anti-christ is the pope and sunday worship is the mark of the beast. they explained that with numbers somehow...anyway, i would love to find another copy of that book because it was easy reading and maybe you could use it for your english classes. love, anonymous

Anonymous said...

hey matt and melody,

i'm glad that there wasn't an actual crusade in indonesia on friday. that sure was a good choice of words for their revival.

i'm not too familiar with the SDA except for having read the same book that the previous anonymous poster talked about. quite interesting. i have a question related to this topic but not specifically accusing the SDAers of anything: At what point does overemphasizing the importance of a particular aspect of one's faith constitute idolatry? you may recall from pauline epistles at OBU that the dictionary of paul and his letters makes an argument that paul is claiming that the judaizers in galatia were idolatrous in their emphasis on the law (or at least particular aspects of it). i'm not sure exactly how i feel about all that and i'd like to see what you kids have to say...

love, anonymous's husband

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