When I was young my grandma used to teach me how to make the cross sign and pray. Later on I studied religion in school, but I never placed a high importance on it as my parents weren’t religious and they didn’t raise me and my brothers to be. In fact, whenever I would speak to my father about religion, he had a strong opinion against it and used to always quote one of the famous Romanian poets – Mihai Eminescu. The lyrics go like this: “Religia – o fraza de dansii inventata/Ca cu a ei putere sa va aplece in jug” and literally says that religion is a made up tale meant to put people under control.
As you may imagine, I’ve never been a religious person, but I always kept an open mind to religion as I consider I haven’t studied it enough to claim that there’s nothing beyond my power of understanding.
Recently, I’ve come across some viral facebook posts and articles about this hipster church called Hillsong, and more specifically about its cool hot preacher Carl Lenz. The church has a strong community in NY and is very popular among young celebrities like Justin Bieber. Their Sunday sermons start with a concert that anyone can attend for free. So I decided to go and see what it’s all about. As you enter the concert hall (it all happens in one, not in a church) you’re met by smiling people who welcome you home – “Welcome home” is the tagline of their “Campaign”. Marketing and call to actions are infused everywhere – you get flyers, there are ads on big screens, you’re invited to meet-ups and you’re always told what’s the next step in your journey to Jesus.
I always liked the cheerful atmosphere of American churches as compared to the serious and sad one of the European ones. This was very much like a pop music concert. The music is uplifting and soothing at the same time. You can listen for yourself here. I even have a favorite one: So Will I. Does that sound like Snow Patrol but with religious lyrics or what?:) All in all, an interesting experience that I will probably repeat if any friend wants me to take him/her there. Enjoy the music!