Nov 29, 2004

In this manner, I

We roared in prayer. We shouted the names of God until they could hear us down the street, could pull up their windows on a Texas afternoon and listen to that rumble-yelling wave we called calling down the Holy Ghost and they called a Penny-costal show better’n the radio. We prayed like we were desperatly praying down God, scared he'd pass us by. We prayer there, rocking back and forth in our fold-out chairs like Hassids at the wall, like mental patients confined to wheel chairs, rocking back and forth and praying.

My dad said we would’ve swung on the chandeliers, but we didn’t have any. So we danced in our seats and on our seats and ran through the aisles around the building in a procession going nowhere. We raised our hands and waved our hands and when we clapped I cupped my hands so my claps popped air explosions and the violence beat my palms an ugly red. We shouted in the words of men, shouted in the words of angels, shouted until the place reverberated with the mixed-up mashed-up sounds of supplication noise loud enough to drown you.

The three elders sat up front, where the gray carpet rose in three steps up to the platform past the podium to the three chairs against the wall, sat there rocking and praying in baritones. We’d pray like that to exhaustion, until we’d slow down, calm down, still out into a mumble, tired by the fervor fever, worn out on the excess and you’d hear some sister sobbing and the usher at the door hissing by threes the One Name of Jezzusss, Jezzusss, Jezzusss. Then the second elder, the number two man sitting in the middle chair would drop his west Texas boom booming out over us Aaaaa-men, amen amena mena mena mean men. Aaaaaa-men, and we’d rise to it, shouting Jesus Lord God Yahweh Jesus Amen Hallelujah Amen Hellelujah Jesus Jesus raising prayers to the decibel we called zealous.

We joined when I was 9 years old. Left when I was 14.