Monday, November 22, 2010

Last night I had the unexpected experience of visiting Dr. Ian Paisley's church and hearing him preach. In many ways it was a surreal experience. All of the women wore hats (because women should keep their heads covered). The Bibles were in the Authorised Version (the only true translation). The language used from the pulpit was largely inaccessible for anyone under the age of 60.

I had tagged along with a friend who was going as a part of her master's course. It was me and about 15 other people studying conflict resolution and reconciliation. We were invited to speak to Dr. Paisley after the service. There was a marked difference in his manner and his speech when he was no longer in the pulpit. He greeted everyone and shook our hands. It was possible to understand what he was saying. He was friendly and accommodating. It was obvious that just as Northern Ireland has come a long way since the troubles, Dr. Paisley has come a long way from "Ulster says no." It was also obvious that just as Northern Ireland still has a ways to go, Dr. Paisley does as well. My prayer for him is that he would know the grace and love of Jesus and find peace in himself.

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