I got up early last Sunday, made a cup of black Hong Wing coffee (no sugar) and settled down to surf the Caribbean Televangelists. In the island I was staying in there were half a dozen services being broadcast simultaneously, so there was plenty to choose from.
The first thing to say is that the title of the church is important: there are certain key words you must employ. They include Miracle, Calvary, Deliverance, and Fellowship.
Secondly, a smart suit and tie are de rigeur. Colour doesn’t matter. One heavily built preacher wore an orange outfit. He looked like a large toad – especially when he leapt up and down on the stage .
Lastly you need a stage, with or without a rostrum, with funeral parlour drapes and pedestal flower arrangements. (I know what they are – my mother used to arrange them in churches when she was alive [and she was an agnostic!]).
Here are some of the highlights
- One preacher ended up with the entire congregation shouting “It’s mine, all mine!” and making beckoning movements with both arms. I guess I wasn’t concentrating because I don’t know what was all their’s! It did occur to me that Jesus was more concerned with giving than with raking it all in – whatever it may have been.
- ‘Mr Toad’ in his orange suit induced total hysteria in one poor young woman, who writhed on the floor moaning. No-one called for a doctor. The cynic in me whispered ‘Some people will do anything to get on TV!’
- One man in a yellow suit mumbled incoherently into his microphone completely oblivious to his audience. Sometimes he wandered out of view of the camera which was in a fixed position and didn’t follow him. His church’s name was hidden by the station logo in the corner of the screen. What an amateur – doesn’t he ever look at the broadcast of his own service? Rather distracting were a man reading a book at the back of the stage and another person playing the piano, rather badly. Out of sight a woman was screaming. The 3 men visible on screen ignored her racket. It was a surreal, unsettling experience.
- One preacher told us , in unnecessarily embarassing detail, the academic c.v.s of his 3 daughters, complete with photos of them in university gowns and mortar boards. Perhaps he was implying his faith made him a successful paterfamilias?
- Back to ‘Mr Toad’ who explained that Jesus healed lepers by travelling into the future to acquire post-crucifixion healing powers which he then brought back and employed to good effect before his death. New one on me! Notably, no-one in his congregation shouted “Nonsense!” or “Pull the other one!” Shame! It would have made the service much more interesting.
It was rather depressing to see how conformist and docile the congregations all were (at least the one who had visible on-screen audiences). Terms like “gullible” and “uneducated” came into my sceptic’s mind. After an hour of surfing, I was quite depressed – there is only so much manipulation I can watch at a time.
Now, shall I have moko and roti for breakfast or salt-fish and hops bread? Definitely another cup of Hong Wing. (Well it does say advertising may occur at the bottom of each WordPress Post. If they don’t provide it, I will!)
PS After breakfast a youth band of hundreds marched past the house. Neatly turned out and all marching in step. Impressive. I assumed, as they wore scout and guide uniforms, they belonged to those organisations. But no, they were Seventh Day Adventist ‘Pathfinders’. I have commented on another Post on the SDA’s racism. Here it was evident too. The island has approximately equal populations of people of African and Indian origin. The Pathfinders were all from one racial group. (Perhaps the Indians had more sense than to join such a group?)
Related Zingcreed Posts:
I accuse #6: Adventists are racist