07-22-2009, 08:54 PM
(01-25-2009 09:45 PM)Vic Wrote: [ -> ]I've always found it within the charis/pentecostal circles when people are getting wound up to get "slain" or pray ...in tongues... except they tend to fall backwards...which is really weird.[/color]
(above quote stolen from the Obama / Messiah thread)
Thought I would mention my own experiences and observations in this, particularly the "falling over backwards" thing. Am not mocking anyone who has felt they were being slain in the spirit.
The first thing to realize is that the falling is culturally accepted within those circles. People have seen it, they expect it, and when it happens to them, they feel they are part of the whole.
So, in some cases, particularly when there is a mass of people around an alter, someone in front can fall backwards, and be assurred that someone is behind them and can catch them, and lower them gently to the ground. So, one can raise their hands, close their eyes, sway, pray, and fall back and be safely caught.
As a member of one of these churches for 15 years, I have seen this 98% of the time. The other 2%...well, someone fell backward, and crashed on the floor. Usually when that happened, they immediately snapped out of their trance to take care of themselves.
Often with a visiting minister, healer, evangelist, etc., the end of the service (actually, the mid-point of the service, but that is another posting sometime...) is a prayer line of people with needs of all types.
The pastor and visiting preacher would often start at one end and proceed one person at a time, standing in front of them. Behind the person in the prayer line was a rotating group of ushers and women.
When a person was "touched" by the evangelist, often they fell backwards. The ushers caught them, and lowered them to the floor gently. In the case of women in dresses going down, the ladies would provide modesty cloths over the bottom of the dress, so the women on the floor could be assured no one was looking at their calves.
So...why fall backwards? Several reasons. One is that the preacher is in front of you, so you wouldn't want to fall on them. Falling backwards was a safe choice. Plus, the "touching" was often a sharp short-stroke push on the forehead. That often was all it took.
I have personally seen a nationally recognized evangelist in a prayer line, with a great technique. They would place their left hand behind the small of the back of the prayer person. Their right hand would go on the forehead, and they would push. This combination causes someone to bend backward quite sharply, affecting balance, and in an environment where the person next to you fell down, you usually fall backwards yourself.
Now, if someone is starting to resist certain church practices (such as myself), one is in a prayer line, and the preacher attempts the same technique. You physically feel their pressure on your head, and your back, and while you may be sincerely praying, but not falling over as the preacher expects. The pressure increases, and yet you still don't fall over. He then announces (over his microphone) in a deep booming voice, "This person is resisting the Spirit of God..." You are pretty well marked at that point, all eyes on you condeming your lack of faith, and the next person in line usually falls backwards pretty quick!
Nope, no emotional scars in my background.