Friday, 1 February 2013

THE PECULIAR CUSTOM OF HOME DEDICATION.

One of the strange customs practiced by the cultic house church that I joined in the seventies was home dedication. From my How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir, here's how it was done.

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As I wrote in a previous chapter, Thee Church believed in the practice of blessing homes in order to protect the occupants from evil spirits. Nobody quoted to me the scriptures which justified this practice, but Deuteronomy 20:5 seems to fit. It reads, "And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, 'What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.'"

When I returned from Toronto the previous December, Mr. Forcier had a vacant second floor room with a balcony for rent. Since he showed me kindness and his house was close to the centre of the city, I moved in before Christmas.

"Can rooms be dedicated as well as houses?" I asked Brother Herald one January evening after the mid week meeting.

"Certainly. It's your home so God wants to protect you. People have had apartments and cars dedicated so your room should be protected by God's spirits too."

"Can I get it done soon?"

"Perhaps, if we're not too busy, we can do it next month."

Sister Roberta, Brother Herald, and Sister Eileen participated in the ceremony one evening several weeks later. As our teacher waddled around my twelve-by-fifteen-foot room, reaching out his hands to detect demons, he pronounced blessings and rebuked foul spirits. Then he dabbed anointing oil on the corridor and balcony doorposts as well as the window frame.

Having gone over the whole room, including the closet, he hesitated. "I feel that there is still an evil presence in this room. Do you have anything here which is wicked, Bruce?"

"Well, I have some war memoirs by Spike Milligan. They do have some vulgar language in them, I suppose."

"That's it then. You must get rid of those books. They're attracting demonic spirits."

My heart sank. I loved Spike's hilarious war memoirs. They contained some obscene buffoonery, but that was how secular soldiers coped in battle.

I also bought his comic novel, Puckoon, a fictional story of an Irish village divided in two by the Boundary Commission when it partitioned the country in 1924. As with Spike's memoirs, that book contained some bawdy humour. I sighed as I dropped it and the other brand-new paperbacks in the garbage.

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I wrote extensively about that house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.