Darlene's story: There's a little weirdness in all of us

By Darlene Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--With the Feast of Tabernacles only days away, you know what that means. We are all about to be surrounded by people just as weird as we are. It is a historical fact that the Feast attracts, shall we say, the unique among us.

There's an old saying: It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Well, it doesn't take all kinds to make the Feast go round, but they sure can make it a lot more interesting.

Have you ever been to a Feast site that didn't have a weird person in attendance? If you have, I bet it was a boring eight days.

(If you didn't encounter any unusual people, have you considered that you may have been the one?)

Weird is wonderful; it has a normalizing effect on the rest of us. It puts us at ease knowing that we're not the weirdest of the weird.

Can donkeys preach?

Throughout the history of the modern-day Feast of Tabernacles there have been numerous sightings of prophets, angels and the ever-popular two witnesses.

During the middle of a sermon at one Feast site I attended, I saw a man walk down the aisle, climb the steps to the stage, and approach the podium.

The speaker apparently assumed the man was there to make a legitimate announcement of some sort and surrendered the podium and microphone.

The visitor commenced to tell everyone that God could raise up "donkeys" to preach if He wanted to. The man proved himself perfectly correct, but it didn't take long before that donkey was escorted to the door.

(Some people think the office of deacon is an antiquated one, but you never know when a couple of burly ones will come in handy.)

In my early Feast-keeping years there never seemed to be a year when there wasn't talk about an upset, unconverted husband arriving at the Feast to take his wife home.

In all those years I never once heard of an upset, unconverted wife arriving at the Feast to force her husband to come home.

Women are funny that way; they know how to recognize and take advantage of a vacation when they see one, especially if he took the kids with him.

Weirdos in the midst

The unique among us don't always come from the outside world. In more recent years we've seen an abnormal increase in abnormal behavior right here in and amongst our own fellowships.

Of course defining abnormal (weird) is so subjective. What I do is normal, what you do is bizarre. That, brethren, is human nature. When you throw religion into the mix it can take on a whole new level of savagery.

The history of the world revolves around different religious systems warring against other religious systems--much like the Churches of God today.

We as brethren need to realize we don't all think exactly the same way (as we were once instructed to do) and that there is a pretty good chance we will be interacting with some folks who may think very differently from us.

Why don't we go over some of the tough situations we may have to face during the Feast this year and see if we can come up with some solutions?

To begin with, some brethren attending the Feast this year will be wearing clothing and accessories that are tailored more toward the Jewish culture.

Not a problem. After all, Jesus was a Jew. (Of course, I'm not sure that if He visited our present-day Feast sites He would be dressed the same way He was 2,000 years ago.)

Regardless, these brethren are wonderful, peace-loving people celebrating the Feast in a joyous and harmonious manner.

If we spend all our time worrying about why certain brethren feel compelled to dress after a Hebrew tradition, we'll never have enough time to confront the women wearing high heels and makeup. Please, let's get our priorities straight. If we're not careful, these women will try to commandeer the podium.

Ecclesiastical debates

We find so many important issues to deal with at the Feast. Traditionally, the Feast of Tabernacles is a time where we dine out more than usual. A debate among some of the ministry and brethren is whether we should eat at a restaurant on the Sabbath or not.

If you believe you should abstain from eating out on the Sabbath, and if someone invites you out after services on the first holy day, what will you say?

What you say really isn't important. Just make sure you get a rain check.

Why do some people observe the Feast on certain days while others observe it on other days? We just have to acknowledge that God's people have always been numerically challenged and let it go.

Why do some people prefer to attend a site that's geared toward the tourist industry and others prefer to observe the Feast from their own personal Petra?

Highly populated areas can be enjoyable and oftentimes culturally educational, but we need to remember that the Feast is not a time to rub elbows with the world. If we do, it is quite likely that the mix of heathen weirdos and converted weirdos could overload the congregation and there just won't be enough deacons to handle the outbreak.

Raise your right hand

Last but not least, an issue has resurfaced for the umpteenth time in certain sections of the ecclesia. Should congregations applaud for special music?

What kind of question is that? Of course we should. How would we wake up the old men and babies if we didn't applaud?

I know this is a touchy situation for some people, so here is a suggestion for those of you who feel you shouldn't applaud for fear that you might get escorted out of the auditorium for rebellion: When you feel like showing your appreciation for a job well done, try raising and lowering your right hand at a very rapid pace (as you would if you were clapping your hands with great enthusiasm).

The performer will see the hands shooting up and down in the air and know that he is much appreciated. You won't have to worry about being escorted out by burly deacons for your insurrection because they'll still be asleep.

Here's hoping that all of us as brethren, bound together by many common beliefs (and a few differences), can come together and have a safe and wonderfully weird Feast!

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