Re: Be the miracle, etc

1

Holy shit.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 1:21 PM
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"Jesus is bringing the Kingdom, and he's doing it through signs and wonders," says Dann Farrelly, BSSM's dean. "They're the things that make people go, 'Huh, there's something about you, about this.' Jesus even said: You don't have to believe in me, you believe in the signs I'm doing."

No. Nope. Nooooooooooo. Bad. [Inarticulate gutturals.]


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 1:30 PM
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3

Snape kills Dumbledore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 1:37 PM
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4

Snape! Do you want a beverage? Try the mulled wine, it's terrific!


Posted by: Opinionated Mel Brooks | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 1:43 PM
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5

BSSM

Like BDSM, without the D, but with extra S.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 1:44 PM
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"Nobody comes to the Father except through the signs I'm doing"


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 1:53 PM
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"That Sermon on the Mount was a total bummer, but I'll follow you anywhere as long as you keep turning water into wine, bro!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 1:57 PM
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8

If you like this sort of thing--cults, weird interpretations of mainstream religions, fringe science, UFOs, etc.--and listen to podcasts, you might like Oh No Ross and Carrie, who look into groups like this from a skeptical perspective. Sounds like something they would investigate.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 2:05 PM
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9

It was more fun if you read the guy's name a "Voltron". At least until the kids started getting hurt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 2:21 PM
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10

I scrolled down to the very last paragraph and was annoyed by how it ended.

Spoiler! This time the dead guy stays dead.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 2:36 PM
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11

I saw the sign.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 4:19 PM
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So far, Bethel's first-years have been learning the stories of their predecessors, ancient Old Testament prophets like Daniel and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, in preparation for today -- the day they begin to become prophets themselves.

If Baby Jessica was now grown and inspired to be like Jeremiah, that would make all the fraud and permanently injured kids almost worth it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 7:23 PM
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13

Now if only these kids could do something about forest fires.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 7:34 PM
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14

They could heal a bunch of people, give them shovels, and send them out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 7:38 PM
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15

Miracles Were Wrought that the World Might Believe in Christ.


Posted by: Opinionated St. Augustine | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 10:18 PM
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Well, if you bring people up to believe that magic is real, the only surprise is that more of them don't want to go off and learn to do it themselves.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 11:20 PM
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17

Any sufficiently advanced socialization is indistinguishable from psychosis.


Posted by: Opinionated Arthur C. Clarke | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 11:22 PM
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"If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 11:23 PM
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19

This is wonderful. I would love to go to school to learn to do miracles.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 11:24 PM
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20

"Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves."


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 11:25 PM
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21

How is this even unusual? People do this stuff in the White house. I've seen photos. They crowd round the president so they can all touch him because apparently Zone of Leadership is a Level 5 spell with no material components and a range of Touch, and the majority of people think "sounds legit".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-17-17 11:29 PM
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Someone I know on FB belongs to a group called Pr/ophets for Trump, where people post gems like this:

Red alert: Are you all seeing ROCKTOBER!!!! We told you to keep your eyes on Trump and His son in law! The markets are a sign of the Spirit of Multiplication that is on the President. The Markets worldwide are going nuts at this very moment! Money flying everywhere! Did I say it has WINGS! Angels on assignment! Be on the look out for Money bags to come in your hands. Many Nations will be bursting out of the seams with wealth which will be transferred! News media is so off and they too will have there eyes open! The events happening in America are signs of the Turnaround of evil losing its power, as they do they are losing the wealth that they have hoarded that should have been in the hands of the Righteous. So Now it begins in the land called the red, white, and blue! For America shall be a NEW CITY on Hill shinning brightly for ALL to see! President Trump is correct prophetically when he speaks, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. The spirit of the living GOD gave him those words that will ring for generations to come! Yes also Trump says, America is Making God Great Again in the world! Very exciting days ahead, stay the course and watch for the Salvation of the Lord in the Land!

Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:30 AM
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23

See what I mean? That reads exactly like something that a mentally ill person would write, and also like something that a devout evangelical would write.

IMHMHB my theory that the CIA has employed so many insane people not because it selects people for insanity, nor because the work drives you mad, but because if you're in the CIA and you start to develop paranoid delusions everyone just thinks you're doing your job.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 1:18 AM
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I feel like the person quoted in 22 might be out of reach of almost any conventional political strategy.

On the other hand, they're probably likely to go all out against Trump if they do have a conversion experience.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 2:00 AM
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25

22 sounds like prosperity gospel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 3:55 AM
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15. There's an almost certainly apocryphal anecdote that some prelate told Francis of Assisi, "We can no longer say, 'Silver and gold have I none'", and Francis replied, "Nor can we say, 'Take up thy bed and walk!'"


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 3:58 AM
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27

We can try.


Posted by: Opinionated Trumpcare | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 4:09 AM
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FWIW, my sister (a devoted evangelical) thinks churches like this (and the whole charismatic/Pentecostal movement) are a perversion of Christianity. If I really want to get her ranting, I mention Assemb/lies of G/od (Palin's church).


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 4:33 AM
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I always get confused with the distinctions among and between Evangelicals and Pentecostals. I think if they handle a poisonous snake, they're Pentecostals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 5:09 AM
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Or herpetologists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 5:10 AM
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31

Evangelicals are authoritarian maniacs and Pentecostals are irrational maniacs. There's a fair amount of overlap.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 5:16 AM
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The church we go to (rarely these days) doesn't do healings, which would be more than I could tolerate, but certainly claims to have personal prophecy (so divine messages but not for a specific rando in the crowd, just like "get up and focus" and unobjectionable things like that) and lots of speaking in tongues, though also even people who speak in tongues themselves exchanging knowing glances when Sister So-and-So catches the spirit. This is strategic on my part because the girls will grow up with an acceptance of this as culturally sanctioned behavior but also be skeptical of it.

Selah wanted to know last night if she can still get Christmas presents if she doesn't want to "celebrate Jesus." Meanwhile Mara is convinced by miracles and knows the Greek gods must be real because how could we have Nike shoes if not for the goddess they're named for? ("Thanks, Greek gods!")


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 5:19 AM
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33

MeToo.


Posted by: Opinionated Leda | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 5:36 AM
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34

Mara's personal belief system continues to be a source of inspiration for the rest of us.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 5:39 AM
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35

tell Selah that she can get presents still, but can't order at Starbucks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 5:43 AM
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36

Wait till Mara discovers Herm├Ęs.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 6:38 AM
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37

36 is great.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 6:40 AM
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38

I'm ambivalent about that article on a lot of axes (most idiosyncratic: to completely de-anonymize myself, the town I grew up in is named Bethel), but one thing is very clear to me, that the idea of faith healing needs to die in a fire. Is there any way to decouple it from the less-harmful kinds of insanity out there? We aren't going to get people to stop believing in magic all at once, and really the idea of faith healing probably causes less harm than more politically-oriented kinds of magical thinking, but it's a different kind of harm.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 6:42 AM
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39

Presumably eating Mars bars is a sign of High Church leanings in this faith.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 6:53 AM
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36: She's never actually owned Nikes, so there's precedent for reverence from afar. Though she's asked for a pink gown and maybe to have her nails painted for the first time as she turns 10 in a few weeks, so I fear change is coming.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 7:06 AM
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38 but it's generally true that no one believes in faith healing who has access to health insurance. I wouldn't say that irrationality diminishes with wealth, but the region covered by magical thinking shifts. Only in countries where dentistry is a dream for the masses does God allow pentecostals to fill teeth with gold on stage, miraculously.

The faith healing practiced among the global rich -- Steve Jobs is the best example -- has very little Christianity in it.

I do find it scary that there is now a thriving culture of African magicians/ witch doctors if you know where to look in London, but I doubt they stop people turning up at GP surgeries --
unless, of course, they are illegal immigrants who have heard of the new crackdown. Then we all get TB so that Theresa May can juke the statistics.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 10:54 AM
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Is anyone else laboring in the fields of UMC professionaldom looking anew at suuuuuper wastingly thin female colleagues in their 40's in light of the NYT cult story?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 11:38 AM
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43

42 ?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 11:42 AM
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44

You're just trying to get me in trouble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 11:43 AM
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45

43: to this.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 11:45 AM
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46

"Two or three years ago it was just another snake cult."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 11:50 AM
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47

"He also says he saw a hippopotamus" is a fantastic pull-quote.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:00 PM
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48

When you see hoof prints, think "hippopotamus", not "zebra".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:03 PM
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49

I might not understand Bayesianism very well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:08 PM
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50

Hippopotami do not in fact have hooves, etymology notwithstanding.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:12 PM
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51

They might have bought shoes that leave footprints.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:15 PM
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52

38 but it's generally true that no one believes in faith healing who has access to health insurance

That might be true in some sense, but it's not true in a sense that includes the supernatural school discussed in the OP. The article says the school community is a lot wealthier than the rest of the city of Redding, and brings in students from around the world, including at least some from countries with better health care systems than the US.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:29 PM
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53
by Nxivm (pronounced Nex-e-um)

Like the indigestion meds?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:32 PM
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54

"Two or three years ago it was just another proton-pump inhibitor cult."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:37 PM
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52: but where are they going to practice? Training to be a shaman is one thing; relying on shamanism for your own health care is quite another.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:51 PM
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What if the opinion of medical science is that you're going to die regardless? Or they say you need to get your balls cut off? Or, probably even more likely, you get 15 different diagnoses from 13 different doctors because sometimes symptoms are non-specific to the point where they are clearly being assholes?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 12:58 PM
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57

And when the assholes open, attack bees fly out?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 1:21 PM
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Nexium is not for patients who also use rectal bees.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 1:23 PM
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Anyway, I'm just saying plenty of people have good health insurance and still don't get much relief.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 1:38 PM
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60

but it's generally true that no one believes in faith healing who has access to health insurance

Don't forget that HTB and its plants have been heavily influenced by John W/imber and the whole signs-and-wonders movement; most people in that wing of the church believe in physical healing from prayer and the laying on of hands.

I mean, in my 20s I genuinely believed in it too. (Incidentally, that was how I once got off with a gorgeous guy who happened to have a bad knee, by asking if I could lay hands on it and pray for him. It got better, and we got into bed. Win-win.)

It's one reason why some of the conservative charismatic evangelicals are so happy to work with the Gafcon African churches: they share a worldview based on the reality of spiritual warfare and the power of prayer, as evidenced in the attempted exorcism of Richard Kirker at Lambeth.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 1:41 PM
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60.2: I think that's called "Flirty Fishing."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 1:42 PM
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I think it's a Marvin Gaye song.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 1:53 PM
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60 is pretty interesting reading; would you care to go on?

I learned last year that a childhood acquaintance, L, then horrible, had as the central feature of his life that his mom died when he was 10 due to her Christian Science faith leading her to declining treatment for a tumor. His dad had shared and supported both the faith and the medical decision, and now (that is when I knew them) dad and the sons lived together in a mansion where the boys threw knives at the walls, stumbled among the bongs and bottles that were the living room's furnishings and stashed a stolen gun at least that one time.

Another friend has stayed in touch and says that L is now a great guy, visits dad regularly.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-17 2:19 PM
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60: I watched that exorcism at pretty close quarters, and one of the most obvious things about it was that it didn't work. People do grow up. Slowly, patchily, but still. A lot of the actual work of the Wimber communities now is in explaining how to cope when miracles don't in fact happen. But, yes, it is thought very bad to taste to find anything amusing in the early death* from liver cancer of the man who first brought Wimber to England. . It is a mystery to me how the same people who will insist that when a prayed-over charismatic pastor dies horribly it's the spiritual reality that counts, but when it comes to the resurrection it's only the physical reality.

* Sorry, I mean God's decision to heal him in a very real way **, just different from the one that would have stopped him dying.

** which is not entirely mockery. Given that consciousness is where we live, to be conscious of salvation while yo're dying is a kind of healing. It's just not the one advertised on billboards. Perhaps the eighteenth century was more realistic about these things.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10-19-17 2:44 AM
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64: I know American Episcopaluans who had a kind of healing prayer service/ time after Communion. They were really clear in their own minds that what they were doing wasn't going to cure any illnesses, but people found being prayed over and hands laid on them comforting and helpful, I.e. Healing.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-19-17 4:05 PM
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Placebo is a pretty strong effect. In some cases it's been shown to work up to a point even when the patient is told they're in the control group. Also, comforting and helpful is good when you're ill.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-20-17 4:30 AM
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NW thinks that the charismatic Anglicans he knows don't actually believe deep down that prayer can heal, which is why they go to the doctor rather than a minister if they're sick (at least until the doctor tells them it's hopeless). I think it's more complicated than that - there's a lot of cognitive dissonance involved.

If you* are a charismatic evangelical, your belief system tells you that God has absolute power over the entire cosmos, that the victory over sin and death has already been won through Jesus' sacrifice (let's not go into how, exactly), that the Holy Spirit is active here and now, and that the commands Jesus gave to the disciples to "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons" and "Make disciples of all nations" apply to all Christians generally and to you personally. You may find the bits about cleansing from leprosy and raising the dead embarrassingly implausible, but still, you believe absolutely in the goodness and power of God. If you're someone who's a bit more self-confident than I was back then, you also believe that as a follower of Jesus who's filled with the Holy Spirit, your prayers are backed up by God's authority. So why shouldn't you ask God to heal someone (or if you're particularly enthusiastic, command in Jesus' name that someone be healed), and why shouldn't God answer? OK, God usually doesn't choose to respond in the way you would like, but that must be because God has a better plan than you can see. It doesn't stop you believing that prayer can be effective, even when you can see that it almost always isn't. But it doesn't stop you going to the doctor as well, because the Holy Spirit works through modern medicine too.

*more or less me in my early 20s


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 10-20-17 5:47 AM
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TL;DR: You convince yourself that you do believe that God can heal, because your belief system depends on that being possible even if it in fact never happens.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 10-20-17 6:04 AM
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