The OCeeker: ROCKHARBOR and Another Episode of Cheaters

"Rock Harbor," as the damn liberal media always mistakenly calls it) is all grown up. The Costa Mesa church that was the hippest among Orange County church hoppers when it exploded on the scene in 1997 has settled into a comfy-cozy multi-generational ministry that serves up standard evangelical fare.

White people? Check. Mood lighting? Check. Coffee bar? Check. Massive new digs? Check. Worship set followed by sermon, followed by worship set? Check-check-check.

The OCeeker took in a Saturday night service to see if Jesus had, as He did to the church at Ephesus, removed their lamspstand. That's a Biblical phrase for Jesus calling shenanigans on a church and knocking their lights out.

Alas, like Elton John, Rock Harbor (oops!) is still standin'!

Feb. 11, 6 p.m.

The church meets in a warehouse. For a Saturday night, the place was nearly packed. These clearly are the more dedicated disciples at ROCKHARBOR. That, or there were a lot of folks on a first date through Church veterans get there early for the best parking spots, but first-time visitors have their own parking lot close to the building. The OCeeker noticed this after parking somewhere in Arizona and getting plumb tuckered out from the walk.

Once inside, the OCeeker enjoyed a relaxing time of praise and worship in a warm and inviting sanctuary designed in a rustic-contemporary style. The soft glow of orange-ish lights welcomed him into a spacious room accented by wood and wrought iron decor. Five wooden crosses bedecked the sanctuary walls, and upon the stage there stood a larger cross made of what appeared to be railroad ties. A deacon must work for BNSF Railway.

Two large screens flanked the stage, each showing lyrics to the songs, and photographs from a recent baptism. Hundreds of worshippers stood in praise during the entirety of several songs that surprisingly steered clear of the Jesus-as-boyfriend lyrics that mark so many modern-day praise ditties. 

Bitches Ain't Shit
​No entreating Him to touch us, no asking to be wrapped in His embrace. Instead, the crowd sang some basic confessional stuff and acknowledged God's presence, as a five-piece band, led by Lead Pastor Todd Proctor and his Ben Folds stylings on keyboard, cranked up the modern praise. Old-school worshippers were treated to a snappy rendition of Paul Baloche's "Open the Eyes of My Heart".

The congregation swayed more than it bounced, and some raised their hands in praise. A young man next to the OCeeker did this hand thing that looked like what Eminem does when he spits lyrics in the cypher. Jesus be sick wit' it, yo.

I Don't Always Go to Church, But When I Do, I Go to Rock Harbor

It was during the time of praise that the OCeeker noticed three distinct people in the crowd. 

The first was a young white man who took advantage of the dim lighting to rub-a-dub 
his wife on the arm and back. This reminded the OCeeker of his theory that the best sex in the United States takes place between God-fearing Christians on Sunday afternoon. Scripture speaks of the flesh and the spirit. Preachers talk often about starving the flesh and its desires, and feeding the spirit. Well, if one starves the flesh all morning long, eventually it's gonna get a hankerin' for the horizontal hustle.

The second man was white, with long, blond dreadlocks falling from underneath an orange and black trucker cap. He grooved to the music, while standing in front of man who can only be described as a clean-shaven version of the Most Interesting Man in the World.

Praise him
​The likeness was so startling, the OCeeker could only imagine what was said of the man (cue Dos Equis commercial music): "God tithes to him. He doesn't walk on water. He moonwalks on it. Judas thought better of betraying him. He rose from the dead on the first day. He is...the Most Interesting Man at ROCKHARBOR."

Speaking of people-watching, all the babes seemed to taken. But there were plenty of handsome young zealots for those lonely Delilahs in the crowd.

Proctor closed out the worship set, during the middle of which an offering was taken (ass, grass or cash, no one rides for free), and the band left the stage, which was backed by a dark curtain and several shelves that were tall, but not very wide, and held books and white cylinders that appeared to either be ancient scrolls or rolls of Bounty paper towels--the quicker picker upper.

He then welcomed the congregation and asked how many had started attending Rock Harbor in the past year. About 20 raised their hands. Proctor talked about "Welcome Week"--an effort during the previous days to get members to know each other better. Because of a scheduling snafu, Proctor had to spend most of Welcome Week in Portland.

Proctor then introduced Darin McWatters, the church's teaching and next generation pastor.

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