Friday, June 12, 2009

Liva, Vas Legas

Our Vegas experience is over. All glitz but we didn’t find any glam. Actually to say it’s all glitz is a gross exaggeration, there’s a bit of glitz but it’s moniker really should be ‘Las Vegas: All hopelessness and despair, with deviance and infirmity thrown in for good measure!”.

If we though last week in Santa Barbara was a slight culture shock, this week has been like a punch in the face. Las Vegas is all the worst things America has to offer all thrown in together with huge spiritual oppression hanging over the whole city. Every day we’ve really had a sense of sadness that has been all over this city, especially Jane. So many people overweight, in wheelchairs, unkempt, rude, obnoxious and with sadness in their eyes. We got a sense that God really has a heart for this place but it’s really going to take spiritual warriors to rise up and take authority in the heavenly realms to break strongholds and open up the heavens so that the living waters of Jesus can rush through this place and wash it clean. Practically people just so desperately need to be treated like they have worth, like they actually matter to God and to his children. And also that gambling isn’t going to solve any of their inner issues. Even if they hit the biggest jackpot in town, it’s not going to help. As cliche as it sounds, they need Jesus and not just the golden ticket to heaven Jesus, they need holistic healing Jesus who cares more for them than they can possibly imagine. Our hearts broke for this place.

Having said that, we did have fun in the midst of it. Fun in our usual way, finding somewhere to have a coffee and chat! I also got to play my guitar which has been great. The place we stayed in was super low budget but actually great. A hotel with a giant casino, a cinema, bowling alley, mcdonalds, dunkin donuts, subway, tgi fridays and plenty more for 20 euro a night is definitely a one of a kind experience! Under my encouragement Jane put a dollar in a machine and won 18 dollars - very entertaining. The next time she put a dollar in of course she won nothing but the third time, she won 24 dollars.

We took a walk down the length of the strip on our second to last night so we could take plenty of photo’s. Some of the casino’s where nice but really once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. No one is really dressed up that well, mostly shorts. All the way down the strip are guys giving out cards for ladies of the night. So disturbing that guys walking with their girlfriends/wives take the cards and put them in their pockets. Hello!!!? Your wife is worth so much more than that. The guys had no shame trying to give me a card with Jane right beside me. Mingers.

On Sunday we got to go to a local church here. I think they had possibly the best communion I have had at church. Not the taste of it - no one can get the juice right and they had mingin wafers but that’s probably one of those things christians never discuss: how communion elements usually taste awful (Grosvenors bread is usually pretty nice though!). There was real victory to the taking of communion rather than the usual downcast feeling there is to communion. Not that there isn’t a place for reflection in communion, however it was a nice refreshing way to celebrate it. My friend Hoey would have loved it as he talks well about how communion doesn’t always have to be a ‘sad’ moment. The service was great until an hour and 15 minutes into it when the assistant pastor got up to speak. He finished 45 minutes later. He was great for the first 3 minutes, he then proceeded to repeat himself for the next 42 minutes and I really wanted to get up and say “yeah we get it, wait on the Lord, he’ll come through for us”. I didn’t, much to Jane’s dismay; it would have made for good lunch conversation. It put a dampner on what was a good service up to then.

It was definitely an experience doing Vegas and in a weird way I'm glad we went, but I don't think we'll ever go again. We leave Vegas and head to Death Valley, yes I do see the irony in that.