Who’s on First?
In the world of geeks, there is a perceived hierarchy. Most all of them think that they’re better than the rest, and rank everyone else according to their own sensibilities. Sports geeks consider themselves at the top of the pile, as do gamer geeks, sci-fi geeks, goth geeks, and so on. (No one considers otherkin to be on top.)
Apparently the same structural elements hold true for evangelical ministers as well. Even while non-believers are sniggering into their sleeves over the notion that god has that kind of taste, other evangelicals are finding members of their own to make fun of. For those who do choose the invisible man on his jet-powered throne in the clouds, (how do you think it stays up there?) it isn’t that you treat god like a trained monkey you can command to heal people at will, it’s how you do it.
I give you Todd Bentley, the evangelist even the other evangelists think is whacko. This cat goes up onstage in jeans and black T-shirt, covered in tattoos and piercing, and spoutin’ the word o’ god. (Sorta. Bubba Todd’s sermons read more like the crib notes version of the bible. The details seem to move around on him a bit.) My opinion is that it’s his appearance that has the evangelical community all verklempt. Typically these are a very buttoned-up, suit and tie-type crowd. I think they want to avoid the impression that just any yahoo could hop up onstage and do what they do. And trust me, Todd is just any yahoo.
It’s what he’s saying that the other evangelists point to, specifically that he claims to have gone up to heaven and chatted with the apostle Paul, (“You might be wondering how I knew immediately that it was Paul. I just perceived it by divine knowledge and revelation. People have asked me what he looked like, and so I will attempt to describe his appearance. He was short, not more than 5’1″ or 5’2″… I’m 5’6″…. Looking very Jewish with a short, trimmed, white beard, my first thought was of a monk in a monastery! He actually had jolly cheeks and I thought: Paul, you’ve got a little weight on you! I mean he wasn’t fat but he looked a little pudgy!”) sees and talks to invisible angels in the room with him, and has given prophesy that Jesus would appear in the flesh at the next night’s ministry. (Admittedly, on that last one, he almost immediately began prevaricating and backed off of his claim, as soon as he realized he had lost the crowd. He then stated that Jesus would be attending the show as an invisible spirit and his audience quickly got back on board. I guess folks prefer a god they can’t actually see or detect in any way.)
My only beef is the violence with which Bubba Todd “heals” his flock. Many already know about the fellow who came onstage with stage 4 colon cancer in hopes of healing. Todd took a run across the platform to plant his knee squarely in the man’s stomach, driving him to the ground. The fact that the guy fainted a minute later was taken as proof of god’s healing influence… rather than evidence of a man with stage 4 colon cancer having just been kneed in the gut. The rest of the Bubba Todd show doesn’t strike me as any more ridiculous than any other part of any religion.
With a shouted Emeril-like cry of BAM! Bubba Todd knees, punches, and kicks his victims (uh… patients?) as he heals them. Frequently, after kicking someone in the face with a biker boot, he’ll ask if they can feel any pain from the condition they walked onstage with. This reminds me of a “cure” for headaches my granddad used to joke about where you whacked your thumb with a hammer until you couldn’t feel the pain in your head any more.
Sadly, Bubba Todd Bentley has recently been laid low. Not by the demons he says have inhabited his body, but by a woman. The church newsletter reads:“We have discovered new information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff.” (Heheh. They said…member. Heheh. They said… staff.) His wife Shonnah took the kids and went back to Canada.
While I would never say for certain what I didn’t know about a guy who commands armies of slavishly devoted christian loonies and looks like a Hell’s Angel, I personally think he was nailing her. Just my opinion.
Now it hasn’t escaped my attention that with his portly belly, black Ts and jeans, Bubba Todd would fit into most any gaming group without a ruffle. But considering his background, where would he rank in the hierarchy of geeks? I’m afraid flim flam artists would have to go straight to the bottom. Gamers typically take a dim view of out and out cheating, and Todd has got it written all over him. Welcome to the bottom of our barrel.
Except for otherkin. You’d still be better than those guys.