Heavy metal becomes the new rhythm to pray
In the inside of a garage of Sao Paulo the first chords of a Heavy Metal song sounded. The lyrics speak of Jesus Christ and salvation and their box is Crash Church, an evangelical church often visited by rock lovers who seek the word of God through music.
As in a "hard" rock concert, parishioners dress in dark and shake their heads sharply as the electric bass and drums begin to ring in a room painted black and decorated with white tribals.
After several high-voltage songs, the faithful, some with Metallica or Joy Division t-shirts, are quiet and Pastor Batista begins worship. He does not wear a suit, like most evangelical ministers, but jeans and white and red sports.
Tattoos - all with references to the Christian faith - cover their arms, a dozen earrings pierce their ears and a gray braid hanging about four centimeters long.
In addition to pastor, Batista is vocalist of a Christian death metal group called "Antidemon" and one of the founders of this "unconventional" church created in 1998 by "divine necessity."
"This is part of God's plan to break through the barriers, which had a more closed format and failed to reach many streams of society," says Batista, referring to other more conservative currents such as the powerful Universal Church of the Kingdom of God or the Assembly of God.
Maria Aparecida Castellini, 54, has seven children and three of them belong to traditional evangelical churches that do not "tolerate" the dress with punk aesthetics: they dye their hair green, they paint their nails and their lips are electric blue and He uses torn clothes that let his skin glimpse.
She declares herself a "crazy" person of Jesus and of rock, but not for that reason she is "going to an asylum", as she was advised in her previous church, Reborn in Christ.
"They told me that rock was a sin, that it was a devil's thing, and I was asking: God, am I in the right place?" Recalls Castellini, who says he walks up to two hours to attend the cult of Crash Church .
Behind a mediaeval pulpit, Pastor Baptist reads the Gospel, while devotees follow him on their cell phones, in holy scriptures, or on television screens where the biblical passages are reproduced.
Batista uses popular jargon to explain the word of the Lord and interweaves the readings with the rock songs, which, despite their intensity, do not alter two babies who are only a few months old who sleep in the arms of their mothers, or the lady of About 80 years of listening to the strident music.
In one of his interventions, the pastor compares the history of Jesus with that of the church and stresses that despite the prejudice against them, they are also "of God."
"They expect something with a face, as the people expected Jesus, they expected an imposing Messiah, a king, a liberator, they did not expect the son of a carpenter.No one expects a church like ours.You do not expect us to be people of God, But we are of God, "he says.
In his opinion, churches like Crash Church have contributed to the expansion of the evangelical religion, which, unlike Catholicism, has gained ground in recent years in Brazil.
In 1994, 75% of Brazilians were Catholics, but that percentage has been reduced to 50%, while evangelicals have advanced to represent 29% of the population.
Between 2014 and 2016, Catholicism, the dominant religion in Brazil, lost 9 million faithful in the South American country, where evangelicals have great political and economic power.
According to the latest census, the number of Brazilians who declared themselves a Pentecostal Christian jumped from 10 percent in 1994 to 22 percent today, while non-Pentecostals rose from 4 percent to 7 percent.