Friday, August 2, 2013

Creepy Prayer Is Better With A Friend

Yesterday, I learned that there's a National Day of Prayer Bus Tour, and it was in Omaha that day[1].  I was not able to do the stuff during the day, but I did make it to the bit at 6:30.  As a bonus, it was my first one of these where I had someone with me.  And it wasn't just anyone, it was, friend, fellow blogger, and photographer whose stuff has been shared by the Richard Dawkins Foundation[2]Biblename[3].  It was fun pretending I had my own personal photographer with me.  Side note, you should all read it his blog because his writing is as enjoyable as his photography and I hope the hits will encourage him to write more.

But back to the point at hand.  We got there and found this parked outside.

The preacher guy was standing in the door of the bus, as he was polite enough to halt while I took the picture.  I thought I'd get that in, as that's the last nice thing I plan on saying about him.

We walked in and found what appeared to be set up for a small contemporary worship service.

We learned later that this wasn't even associated with the National Day of Prayer bus tour.  It's something called SOZO 402[4].  One of them had a t-shirt that this photo doesn't do justice.  It's the A&W symbol, but the "W" is instead "Ω".  See what they did there?  Alpha & Omega.  Christians are so clever.  I may visit them later for another post, but for now, that's all on them.

I think the plan was to do this thing outside, but it was raining.  Obviously, they forgot to pray for favorable weather.  So they set up inside the Hope Center's basketball court/skating rink.

Photo Credit:  Biblename Foto[5]
Yup, they put the outdoor canopy up inside.  With his caption for that picture, Biblename put it better than I could.
Why they actually put the outdoor canopy up in the middle of the indoor facility is not actually that baffling. It just makes the fact that it’s pure propaganda that much more blatant.
We got in the bleachers with the Christians and watched this guy spout standard Christian dogma.

I'm pretty sure he's posing for this picture.
He was using a tactic I've encountered before.  He was prompting the crowd to finish his sentences.  I've only ever seen this with Christian subject matter, and it's incredibly annoying to listen to.  I might find it so annoying because I can see through what's happening there.  It's easier to convince people of something if you're able to make them think it was their idea.

One of those things was "Faith is the evidence of ...".  I missed what the exact phrasing because he had one guy answer it, and that guy said it quietly.  But it really doesn't matter because faith is the evidence of fucking nothing.

He then went through more of the standard.  If I'd made a drinking game out of how many times he used a form of the word "righteous", I wouldn't have been able to drive home.  The 12-year-old part of me was amused when he said "come in Jesus".  Other than that, it was hard to focus.  The more I go to these things, the more I tune out the details of standard crap.

He regained my attention when he started talking about politicians and suggested they get to know their mayor, state senator, governor, etc.  It would be good advise if he meant actually getting to know them for anything other than simply knowing more about who you're praying for.  Unfortunately, they'll probably also be lobbying these government officials for religious shit.  Knowing your local government, is something we should be doing[6].  Especially if these assholes are doing it.

And what if you have a leader who's not a believer?  As expected, my answer to that isn't what this guy's was.  He wanted to discuss strategy on how to deal with these godless politicians.  I don't think there's anything to "deal with".  He thinks we should pray for him.  And, yes, he did make this hypothetical atheist politician male.  We should also pray for this guy's family.  And we should pray for him using his name, because apparently his god won't know who we mean.

He went on a bit about all we have in common.  Several of us have lost parents[7].  We've all been to school.  Most of us have listened to music.  Somehow, that was how he segued into saying that he has never had anyone turn down offer of prayer.  Had he offered to pray for me, his streak would have ended.  Some nice lady did get a rejection from me though.

After that, it was a few more minutes of the standard preaching.  God wants us to pray.  Blah, blah, blah.

Then, he asked what troubles adolescents have.  The kids in the group gave answers I'd expect from any group of kids.  Addiction, lack of identity, disrespectful, disobedience.  The first 3 are quite serious, and I hope the kids going through those things get more help than prayer.  Sadly, many will only get prayer and never receive real help.

When the prayer began, that's when the creepiness began.  He told them to extend their hands.

These 3 people are the pastors he pulled out of crowd.  They, and the 1 they brought over from the SOZO 402 crowd on the other end of the gym, were the focus of much of what followed.

He went down the line, praying for each one individually.  I'm not sure what the purpose of the 3 in the back was, but they were part of what they called the Prayer Team.  I think the touching is key to what they're about.  You'll see what I mean in a moment.

Then this happened.

I don't think I need to go into how creepy that was when I have this picture.  The way such an incredible focus was put on the pastors, people who they're supposed to be following, would be an effective brainwashing tactic if these faith pushers wanted to be even more dangerous than they already are.

After the creepy ass prayer dogpile was done, it was time to split into smaller groups for more prayer.

These 2 had a long moment so tender, it had a spectator.

Photo Credit:  Biblename Foto[8]
I have no idea what these people were praying about, but it was clearly more effective than the other prayers because there 7 of them, they were all touching the entire time, and they went for quite a while.

By "more effective", I mean, "What's seven times zero?"

Although, the preacher guy had a secret weapon.

Photo Credit:  Biblename Foto[9]
Photo Credit:  Biblename Foto[10]
He sent the prayer straight into their fuckin' heads!!

That's probably a hundred times more effective than this holding hands bullshit.  What's a hundred times zero?

I can't close out this story without talking about the tongues guy.

Photo Credit:  Biblename Foto[11]
This guy was one of the 4 pastors under the creepy ass prayer dogpile.  He was muttering to himself the entire time.  He started about as soon as preacher guy first touched him and didn't stop until well after the creepy ass prayer dogpile.  I never thought a guy speaking in tongues to himself wouldn't be the creepiest thing in the room.

This experience was made (more) fun by having a companion. For his take on it, see his post about the event[12].  If you like his photography (his are the pictures above that aren't shitty cellphone pics), see his Facebook page[13] for more.


1 comment:

  1. This one in particular really hit home for me. I actually HELPED my church go to SCHOOLS to do this type of shit on a bus. We never mentioned "God" because it technically wasn't allowed, but we disguised it well, and these impressionable children fell for it.
    Seeing the bus, and the set up inside of a gym brought back those memories.