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The Devil in the Church

I don't want to go back to that March Sunday in 2018, when I first attended worship at The River at Tampa Bay.

I don't want to feel again that heart-pounding anxiety, that sense of wrongness deep in my soul, the intense reality of the presence of evil amidst so many earnest Christians, desperate that - like the young woman who gave her testimony - their financial contributions would lead to a new car.

I don't want to return to the night when I walked in past that front door, the door that told me the pastors were strapped and locked and loaded, that they'd defend "their own" with guns inside the sanctuary.

Sign posted on the front doors of The River at Tampa Bay Church
I can still hear it now, legions of people lying flat on their backs and laughing maniacally, after the pastor pushed their foreheads to the floor. One longtime churchgoer there told me he didn't agree, that the so-called Holy Spirit laughter had been manipulated out of the people. But they…

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