CHRISTIAN SUPER-DIVERSITY



CHRISTIAN DIVERSITY

Thus, if we start with the older liturgical church, the Catholic Church, (which has its own section here) we find the Catholics are very strict in their belief and follow the rules of the Vatican.

The variants as follows on the other hand invented their own Christian beliefs and sects since the Lord decided to make man in his image they all decided they were going to do it their way: Kind of a Do-It-Yourself religion. As a photographer,  you should expect everything and anything, thus the importance of scoping the Church weeks before the wedding and take notes. There is a very successful shooter in Tampa who keeps a looseleaf book on file on the best churches with pics and insides and rules all on one page, even the pastor name and phone number.

•  The Latin Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Independent (self-identified as Catholic) , Eastern Orthodoxy,  Oriental Orthodoxy,  Church of the East, Proto-Protestant Groups.

•  Anglicanism, Anglican Communion, Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Congregationalist Churches, Anabaptists and Schwarzenau Brethren, Plymouth Brethren and Free Evangelical Churches, Methodists, Pietists and Holiness Churches

•  Baptists, Spiritual Baptists, Apostolic Churches, Irvingites, Pentecostalism,   Neo-Charismatic Churches,  African Initiated Churches,   Messianic Judaism / Jewish Christians,   United and uniting churches, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) ,  Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement,   

•  Southcottites, Millerites and comparable groups, Adventist (Sunday observing) ,   Adventist (Seventh Day Sabbath/Saturday observing) ,   Church of God movements (Sunday observing,  Church of God movements (Seventh Day Sabbath/Saturday observing,   Sabbath-Keeping Movements Separated from Adventists,   Sacred Name groups ,  

•  Nontrinitarian groups,  Latter Day Saints, Oneness Pentecostalism ,   Unitarianism and Universalism ,   Bible Student groups,  Swedenborgianism,   Christian Science ,   Non-Trinitarians, Esoteric Christianity ,   Racialist groups,   Syncretistic Christianity,  Christian Internet Churches,   LGBT-affirming Christian denominations



REGARDLESS, THE MAJORITY FIT OR ARE
RELATED TO SOME MAIN CATEGORIES:

•  LUTHERAN    •  PROTESTANT  •  BAPTIST   •  SOUTHERN BAPTIST            

•  METHODIST   •   EPISCOPALIAN  •  LATTER DAY SAINTS  •  MORMON

•  NON-DENOMINATIONAL   •  EASTERN ORTHODOX    •  ANGLICAN     

•  REFORM    •  PENTECOSTAL   •  SNAKE WORSHIP  ( NOT KIDDING)


WHY SO MANY ?
This is the most divergent and competitive group in the Wedding Planning business and interpretation of Religion for that matter proving once again Religious diversity is man-made. 

 If they all claim they have the right spiritual road to the heavens and God, then they are saying they are right and the other hundreds are wrong.

Since Churches are tax free and accept donations, the success of their religion is based on money, and numbers so accommodation is offered. ‘Give the folks what they want’.

Simplified it is an accommodation and we adapt certain rules , regulations, theories and sometime some “ Crack or Marijuana inspired” chemicals to satisfy the congregation. Or snakes adapted from the literal bible.

For some reason, none of them seem to agree with each other all claiming theirs’s is the real path.  I suggested at one time that G-did subscribe to Garmin so all of them could find the right path.   As one who took several Psychology courses in college (thought they would help in Business Admin) studying the effects of religion on individuals several things became apparently clear.  


THE SNAKE WORSHIPPERS - AN EXAMPLE OF INSANITY

The Pastor in the picture is Jamie Coots.  The Diamondback we think was named Fred is the snake that killed him. Others in his church and in other followers of this sect are quite dead.  

Most religious snake handlers are still found in the Appalachian Mountains and other parts of the southeastern United States, especially in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and South Carolina. 

In 2001, about 40 small churches practiced snake handling, most of them considered to be either Holiness, Pentecostals or Charismatics. In 2004, there were four snake-handling congregations in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

As in the early days, worshipers are still encouraged to lay hands on the sick, speak in tongues, provide testimony of miracles, and occasionally consume poisons such as strychnine.   Snake handlers do not worship snakes, instead using the snakes to show non-Christians that God protects them from harm.  In church services, when they feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit come upon them, these Christians reach into boxes, pick up venomous snakes and hold them up as they pray, sing, and dance.

Gathering mainly in homes and converted buildings, snake handlers generally adhere to strict dress codes such as uncut hair, ankle-length dresses, and no cosmetics for women; and short hair and long-sleeved shirts for men. Most preach against any use of tobacco or alcohol.

Like their predecessors, today’s snake handlers believe in a strict and literal interpretation of the Bible, and most Church of God with Signs Following churches are non-denominational, believing that denominations are human-made and carry the Mark of the Beast.  Worshipers attend services several nights a week, where if the Holy Spirit "intervenes", services can last up to five hours; the minimum is usually ninety minutes. Those who die from snakebites are never criticized for lack of adequate faith; it is believed that it was simply the deceased’s time to die.

The handling of venomous snakes has significant risks. Ralph Hood observes, "If you go to any serpent-handling church, you'll see people with atrophied hands, and missing fingers. All the serpent-handling families have suffered such things”. Before he died, Jamie Coots, a pastor said, “ handler’s get bitten all the time, and every few years someone dies”.  Various figures for the total number of deaths from snakebite during religious services have been proposed:

  • Over 100 documented deaths” (2003) by Ralph Hood
  • Around 120 (2005) by Robert Winston
  • About 100 deaths” (2013) by Julia Duin, a journalist who has covered snake handling churches 
  • "91 documented snake bite deaths" (2015) by Paul Williamson, professor of psychology at Henderson State University 
  • In September 1992, Roy Vestal, bitten by a timber rattlesnake at the Hi-Way Holiness Church of God, Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • In 1996, Spencer Evans was bitten by a timber rattlesnake during a service in a tent at Ephesus, Georgia
  • In May 2014, Cody Coots, whose father Jamie died from a snakebite three months earlier, was bitten by a rattlesnake.

IT’S A  MANLY THING
One in kind, a theory to diversity, proves that most religions are man-made, there is only one G-d and that’s why people kill each other for the front row seats unfortunately not believing enough to do the right thing so they do the wrong thing.  It’s a bidding war for forgiveness.

I have been gathering wood to build a large boat if the boss decides they have gone too far.   To quote: "In the beginning there was the heaven and earth and God created man”.   Man took off and ran with it and today every conceivable variation and nut case revisionist have brought strange stuff to the table from the devout to the brain-dead devoted.  Like ice-cream, there are flavors for everyone and the real-truth gets lost in the conversation about as quick as ice cream melts.

It really boils down to one belief in Christianity, the arrival of the Savior.  With it comes the hope of redemption, Christianity is forgiving, not legally but spiritually, most other religions are not.  It’s the strongest selling point. And adapting the redemption to any movement is as simple as raising your hands and mumbling in some cases.

NOTE:  Also,  there are public records and check to see if any of the players, have been bad.  I don’t mean this as condescending toward any faith, but some churches need to be investigated.  It’s what I do.  I write about various topics and if you go to www.aljacobsladder.com under Religion you will see some eye-openers.  Crooks whose faith as a money maker, over 790 million dollars last year.

 

BAPTISTS, SOUTHERN BAPTIST AND PENTECOSTALS
Your Baptist ceremony requires that the two of you be baptized Christians, and this is not an area where you can expect a lot of wiggle room. If you already belong to a Baptist church, talk to your minister about finding an appropriate house of worship to suit your needs. If you don’t belong, call several pastors to find the right church or the flavor of the Church. Some into music, voodoo and only God can explain some of them.   Baptist ministers are always in demand, and you need to search for them immediately.  

If you don’t have a minister, start investigating as soon as you’ve set the date.  They for some reason all have different agendas.
Before you start planning on where to put the new china, it’s likely that you will have to schedule pre-marital counseling, as well as marriage workshops.   You might be asked to abstain from sex until after you are married.  Also, some Baptist ministers will not marry you if you are living together.   Show different drivers licenses.  

These rules vary from minister to minister, so when you talk to pastors, be upfront and honest to avoid unnecessary problems later.  If he or she is not working with you pass, there’s another just down the block.


Pentecostal wedding traditions are similar to those found in other Protestant faiths, including the white bridal gown and veil; the bridal bouquet; the exchange of vows; a brief sermon by the officiating Pastor; and the partaking of the sacrament, or communion.   

The reception is held at the church hall, a private home or hotel, and commonly includes punch and wedding cake, among other refreshments.  There is usually no dancing or alcohol -- not even champagne toasts -- at a true Pentecostal wedding reception.  Very stark and bizarre would be how I described it.  

Guests throw rice or birdseed at the departing newlyweds for good luck.  One I attended, blew me away.  My partner who is Methodist told me a Pentecostal joke... There is no fornication standing up, folks would think they were dancing.  
 And no alcohol, tell me that when my friend who is the Liqueur buyer for a very prominent Las Vegas Hotel is standing next to me. They have no traffic at this hotel bars during their conventions but make a killing on room service.  My best weeks are during the Southern Baptist Convention. 


PENTECOSTALISM OR CLASSICAL PENTECOSTALISM
Is a renewal movement within Protestant Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts.

Like other forms of evangelical Protestantism, Pentecostalism adheres to the inerrancy of the Bible and the necessity of accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. It is distinguished by belief in the baptism in the Holy Spirit that enables a Christian to live a Spirit-filled and empowered life. This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and divine healing—two other defining characteristics of Pentecostalism. 

Because of their commitment to biblical authority, spiritual gifts, and the miraculous, Pentecostals tend to see their movement as reflecting the same kind of spiritual power and teachings that were found in the Apostolic Age of the early church. For this reason, some Pentecostals also use the term Apostolic or Full Gospel to describe their movement.

But, if you haven't witnessed a full-blown Pentecostal revival that happens to be in progress with a marriage ceremony, look out, the spirit is strong and you will witness a few caught up in it, auditioning for “  Dancing with the Stars”  or for the Dallas Cheerleaders and a few for the “Mentally Disabled Person of the Year”.
  They driven by crowds and endorphins go nuts.  At one wedding I thought it outdid a break-dancing competition I had shot a week before.

And there are a few hundred of them… I apologize if I missed yours, especially if it involves snakes, other strange customs, a tambourine extravaganza, animal rites, other heathen customs.  

They are the norm.  Most customs in the Church today came from directly I might add pagan rituals.  The snake handlers have had a bad year.  Four of their ministers promoting this abomination of the Bible have died during services showing they were believers and refused medical attention.  G-d may not have been buying it.  After all it was a snake that screwed up his initial gig.

Look in the phone book, note there are hundreds of Churches all with diverse themes and the game is wide open as to rules and regulations.  It’s not unusual for churches of the same denomination differ.  Each is an independent business.

There is no guide just as there appears to be a problem in finding the one true religion.  Find the church your affair will be taking place in.  If in the weeks before there is a wedding in that church, just pick up the monthly directory at their front door one day to find out. 

Walk in like you own the place. Dress nice, you are a friend of the groom, and observe. No one will ask, tell them you are here to surprise and old friend.  Just sit in a back pew and follow everybody around casually using your light meter or even better a small digital, no flash to get EXIF information.   

You watch the operation take place. This will give you the clues you need for the job.  Not all you need to know; the rehearsal will tell you the rest,  but you are one leg up on anyone else.

There is a wealth of knowledge to gather here. Some are casual, some are very strict with ground rules. For example, Pentecostal weddings can be very straight laced too and then go all out nuts. But you never know when you'll get a winner. I covered one that was so open and nuts, I got some great shots out of it.  

Scout out the church beforehand. I can’t emphasize this enough. Trying to fix things during a Wedding doesn’t work. They won’t wait while you adjust or learn to use your light meter or strobe. 

And remember to write it down, take notes, about time of day and any ambient light coming through the windows, plus additional light settings of the back area. You know beforehand what you are up against.  Light changes during the seasons,  so keep  a meter handy.