I was at a funeral, in a charismatic church in North Texas, sitting beside a charismatic preacher from a different church.
The preacher giving eulogy did something ghastly. He commanded the corpse to get up and rise to life. It didn't. There were shocked sobs from the family, of course, but everything had gone according to plan. The eulogist continued with the message, pre-written with the assumption that the deceased was not to rise, and informed us all that the reason she stayed dead was that she liked it more in heaven.
The preacher I was sitting next to, mortified, turned to me and said "I wanted to say, 'DUDE, SHE'S EMBALMED.'"
I can't think of this without getting a weird sick, still feeling. I imagine this is the feeling of "stop" one would get when they realized mid-dinner that they had been dining on human flesh.
Consciously or unconsciously, people growing up in charismatic churches must learn the rules quickly if they are to survive. You do not pray for amputees to grow their limbs back. You do not pray for people to sprout wings. You *do* pray for cancer patients. Colds and headaches? Absolutely.
You pray for what is known to be possible without a miracle.
Raise the dead? Sure. Pray for some kid who just drowned, or something. But an embalmed person? That's just embarrassing.
The subconscious is an amazing thing.
The subconscious basically gets split from the conscious when we're beaten, shamed, or screamed at by our parents when we're kids. Part of us goes underground. We no longer hear its voices. We stumble upon its camp sites when we remember our dreams, but even those are extremely difficult to understand, since the meanings laid out for us are the very ones that our conscious personas developed to avoid.
There are things that you cannot say or ask about God, I can attest, without feeling that you've broken the whole world with your five-year-old hands. In other families, the recognition of sexual abuse or alcoholism gets buried in the same caverns.
What's interesting, though, is that these realizations and questions never die. The subconscious still makes moves for us, but the conscious mind rationalizes them and selects different motives. "No, I stopped wearing deodorant because--um--something about nature!" . . . not because I'm trying to deter someone's physical advances.
I don't have a smart conclusion. I do have a chilling question: What if everyone is subconsciously an atheist? Why else would we allow ourselves in prayers only that which is known to be naturally possible? How did the preacher know that the deceased would choose not to rise? Why was he obviously stupid for not accounting for the embalming fluid?
A hundred strange memories from church begin to make sense.
I need to turn this off and go hug my kids.