April 11, 2009 § 2 Comments
I asked him to meet me in the Fine Arts Building, where I go regularly to use the pianos in the numerous practice rooms on the second floor. We had met once before, as part of the music team at my church. He had told me that he used to lead worship for the IHOP in KC, which were some pretty impressive credentials [especially for a freshman in college], and his guitar playing reflected enormous talent.
We were meeting because he had asked me if I was interested in joining his BHOP music team; the idea appealed to me but I needed more details. Our chat didn’t exactly turn out the way I expected, though.
Throughout our meeting, he threw out all kinds of ideas that I had never really considered [or just considered minimally]. The first was that apparently, the vision of IHOP is based in Isaiah 56, which he showed me in his Bible after asking me if I read mine. Awkward question, but he said, “Some Christians don’t read their Bibles…” by way of explanation.
I don’t know if he was nervous or just wanted to placate any apprehensions I might’ve harbored, but he used that phrase a lot. At one point he asked me how I felt about speaking in tongues, and then about physical healing through prayer [growing back fingers whaaat??], then something called “slaying in the spirit”, and followed them all up with an apologetic “some people get freaked out by that stuff” as if I would be immediately abhorrent of such activities.
Another topic he brought up came from 2 Peter 3 [although he could not remember the exact passage, which I found by Googling]. Apparently, another part of IHOP theology is that they believe that Jesus is returning [duh], but that they can actually hasten his return through prayer and such. Um what? This has literally never crossed my mind before — most people are secretly hoping for God to delay the Rapture [please, God, at least wait until I get married!], which I would understand, but why would we want it to come more quickly? I honestly could not comprehend this, but I was too tongue-tied to ask.
Because I was sitting at a piano, he asked if I could play something. I love playing the piano, although I never really trained myself to play worship piano [I can do basic chords but none of the cool filler], so I felt rather self-conscious about my performance. He then took out his guitar [he was on his way to go lead worship somewhere else] and we played through some songs together, although it became apparent that we didn’t really know any of the same worship music.
He asked me if I was comfortable doing improvisation [“singing from the Word”?], which he likened to praying in tongues — a personal love song to God, he said; having never attempted that before, I must say that I would not be at ease with that for a while, since I prefer to be prepared down to the last detail [especially when in front of an audience!]. Then there was this thing called a “double chorus” which requires a terrific short-term memory, which is unfortunate because lately my memory has been totally broke, and also, it’s much easier for me to remember things that are written down [I’m a visual learner], which would not be the case if I had to memorize his improv..?
Anyway, I felt pretty overwhelmed with all the terms he tossed at me, although he verbalized some pleasure in what he was hearing. He told me there wouldn’t be an audition, but it ended up feeling like one anyway. It’s strange to be intimidated by someone younger than me, but the breadth of his knowledge and passion left me feeling drained [it doesn’t help that physically, he could easily pass as a 23-year-old]. Clearly, being part of a HOP worship team is a vastly different experience than what I’ve previously encountered. I felt a little inadequate.
He also shared some of his personal thoughts with me. Firstly, he believes that God is bringing a revival to Columbia [like He did in KC in the 80s, apparently], so he is working hard in a number of IHOP-related organizations to bring this to fruition. He asked if I was familiar with the Levites in the Bible [yes], and explained that God was raising up a similar group of worship leaders and priests and such in Columbia.
It’s not often that I meet somebody who is so single-minded. Before our meeting today, I admired his dedication to God, which is evident in his participation in different Christian groups as well as simply looking at his Facebook profile. During our chat, though, I sensed that he may be one of those people who is so driven for God that he forgets about other people. I know he prays for them [he placed a lot of emphasis on intercessory prayer], but I wonder if he’s ever spoken to the people who go in and out of the planned pregnancy clinic where they go to protest silently. I’m not judging him, but I’m just curious because I only recently realized that while loving religion can definitely be a strength, it also offers one the chance to hurt those who get in the way.
Unfortunately, our schedules do not coincide at all. He led this past Friday night, during which I was hosting a surprise birthday party for a friend, and he is also leading on Friday two weeks from now, during which I have another event to attend. Realistically, we may not be able to collaborate until next semester, which I suppose will give me time to brush up on my vocal improvisation skills.