if you read anything about the first or second “great awakening” you are bound to bump into a story or two about a staid, stoic preacher who is utterly transformed in the midst of a sermon. i read one account that carefully explained how the preacher’s countenance completely changed and after the sermon one of the passionate, evangelical parishioner ran around babbling, “the preacher’s been converted, the preacher’s been converted, the preacher’s been converted.”
i must confess that i’ve always found these stories unbearably hokey. as i read the accounts i’m ashamed for the preacher, whose ecstatic experience seems to reveal that she has long been proclaiming something she doesn’t quite believe, as i used to be for those saps i saw raising their arms and, dare i say it, grinding with God in rhythm to some shitty 4Him ballad at a Christian concert.
so if i’m embarrassed for others in that situation, you can imagine how horrifying it is when those conversion experiences unexpectedly overtake me. it doesn’t happen that often, but when it does it is utterly overwhelms me for in an instant i am both reminded that i am the consummate unbelieving believer and astounded by the beauty of a gospel that i just cannot seem to grasp.
i suppose i’m trying to tell you that last night the preacher was converted…and i’m (almost) ashamed to admit it.