The Lasting Laugh
It's not surprising to me anymore that the women I meet and with whom I interact, especially over the recent series of LOL, Girls Night Out, and Chuckles & Chocolate events this spring, have incredibly gripping faith stories. Stories that aren't very neat and clean. From atheists, to crack addicts, to former prostitutes on parole, I feel like Dorothy when she said to Toto, "I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
The "Kansas" for me, used to be: Well groomed, shiny-haired, picture perfect "June Cleaver" women who do church, have church, live church. The churchy women. You know, the squeaky clean, non-messy, religious women's events that rank right up there with Martha Stewart prep and decor. That's what it used to be. Until...
...Until I started praying for revival and outreach like never before. Until I started to realize that even in comedy and humor (especially), women are coming out in droves, bringing their friends and co-workers, because they just can't do "church" anymore. They don't fit the status quo of expectation and pew-sitting. Many don't even have a history of church in their background. But what they CAN do is bring their heavy hearts and despair for a one night experience of "hoping to be inspired, healed and encouraged." This is what I saw. This is what I see.
I gripped the left hand of a 13 year old girl who wanted the words to the crazy acronym-texting song, "LOL", smiling and laughing, while at the same time I grasped the right hand of an 89 year old gal who was crying saying, "My heart has been heavy for so long. I needed to laugh SO badly tonight. Thank you."
To the nay-say-ers out there who think or suppose that the ministry of comedy and music isn't reputable or needed in our religious circles, let me say to you (because I can - it's MY blog!): Never before in over 40 years of ministry have I ever seen such despair, difficulty, hardship, pain, anxiety and lack of trust - among women. The sad news is that many of these women will never attend a seminar or women's conference on "How to Have More Faith" or "Intercessory Prayer" or "Inner Healing" or "Grace". Why? Because they say it hurts way too much to go. It hurts to feel guilty because of the mistakes they've made.
They are, however, coming to comedy events. Events that have the word "fun" attached somewhere. They're bringing their teenagers, their co-workers, their cousins, sisters, and neighbors too. Why? Because they need to laugh. They need to know that Jesus laughs. They need to experience a true belly laugh, by looking deep into their own hearts. Ironically, it's the most covert evangelistic tool out there. And once a woman's heart is wide open, it is then and there that the Gospel can be received like never before. I know this, for I have seen it to be true.
Seventeen events in twenty-one days. That's what I did on the road from April 26th through May 17th. Thousands of women, all of their faces in front of me now as I write this.. Many who did not know God, but came because they "heard" it was going to be fun.
Fun. God. Laughter. Healing. Hope. Future.
This is why I do what I do. We're not in "Kansas" anymore. All the more the reason to stay prayed up, using your gifts to be relevant to a new generation of women. And yes, I sang the Oldies too. One woman even raised her hand after I sang, "Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing", and shouted, "PRAISE GOD!" We laughed. We cried too. She had no history of hymns, gospel music or praise & worship songs in her background, but she "understood" the language of the Mo-Town Ashford/Simpson song by Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye. It blessed her. It spoke to her heart, somehow. We prayed later and listed other Mo-Town songs that had some secret sacred language! A fun moment for this Oldies DJ, I tell ya!
Then my new atheist friend approached me at the end of a concert. Here's the dialogue:
(Mary) Hi Sue. I didn't agree with most of what you sang or spoke about tonight.
(me) I wouldn't think you would, as I probably wouldn't agree with you either at your meetings.
(Mary) My sister made me come.
(Mary) I did like the Oldies you sang...
(me) Thanks Mary. The same God that sings through me during the hymns and sacred songs, is also the same God who sings through me when I sing the Oldies and Standards.
(me) I love you, Mary. Seems you'll have a lot to think about tonite...
(Sidenote:)..And because she's learned the value of living her faith on-line via social media, women are coming out to events promoted. They know that the "Sue" on-line is the same "Sue" in person. - Renee Sullivan, from MD
Get the book @stickyJesus. You'll see why.