Play, Pay and Pray
A Quintessence of the Loon Special Edition to recognise the outer limits of religion
Religion causes some people to behave in strange ways. Some ways are stranger than others. The ways here are beyond strange, leaving us to wonder about the wonder of it all.
It is more blessed to give than receive
Open your hearts to the truth. While you're at it, open your wallets as well.
- Pastor Benny Hinn
I feel a bit sorry for Benny Hinn. I am a late-night person and I am useless early in the morning. Benny, on the other hand, has to get up when I am going to bed so that he can get dressed and made up for his television show which comes on really early in the morning where I live. I suppose he gets to talk to interesting people like night watchmen and cleaners and there is never any traffic on the way to work. He probably gets to park near the door, too, but it's still a lonely life. I also feel sorry for his audience, because all those blind and crippled people have to get to the studio before breakfast if they want to get cured. I suppose some people are going to try and tell me that Benny is only on the television at that time here because I live in a different time zone, but I have spoken to a lot of people and they all say that Benny is on at 5:00am or thereabouts. I suppose it's because he can't afford to buy television time later in the day. I know he must be short of money, because he is always asking people to send him some.
- Beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
In the traditional Christian burial service the words "ashes to ashes" are spoken. The Beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was at a funeral once, but he is a bit hard of hearing and mistakenly thought that the priest said "ashes to cashes". From that moment onward he knew that his mission was to turn ash into cash. Studying with the magic masters, he gradually learned the skills of legerdemain, an ancient art passed down through the generations. You can see from the picture that he has rather small hands, and towards the end of his apprenticeship his master commented on how "slight" his hands were. Again, the Beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's poor hearing deceived him and he thought he heard the words "sleight of hand". The rest is history.
- Transcendental Meditation ®
Some would say that Transcendental Meditation ® is not a religion. These people like to point out that there is no ® after "Catholic Church" or "Islam", nor is there after the names of most religious bodies. What these people don't realise is that in these litigious times it is necessary for newcomers to protect themselves legally. It's all very well to be a couple of thousand years old with a reputation for stake-burning or stoning dissidents and defaulters, but newer theologies need time to develop. Anyway, what have those old outfits ever produced? They say they invented universities, but did they run them like businesses? Did they teach people how to fly? Oh, yes, they talk about flying prophets in their fancy Bibles and Korans, but what was the last time you saw your average worshipper zooming around the apse or the mosque? Pathetic, really. I'm off now to my flying lessons. My master tells me that as soon as I get my mantra right I will be able to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Oops, sorry. That was my boxing teacher.
Off to Hell!
Where we are warned, and warned well
- Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards
I like a good sermon. A good preacher can fill the hall with the smell of brimstone and get you shakin' in your shoes. You hear this stuff and you know you are going to Hell. You will not pass Go. You will not collect $200. If you have been wicked, and you know when you have been wicked, then God will cast you into a lake of eternal fire where you will spend eternity wishing for a single drop of cool water on your tongue. But no water will come, only bile and vinegar. And even they will dry up before your eyes. Remember this before you covet your neighbour's ass, or even his donkey. Don't even think about his Lexus. Imagine what it will be like, standing up to your waist in molten steel being thrashed with barbed wire and having salt rubbed into the wounds. And that's only for the first million years. After that it gets nasty.
- God Hates America
Fred Phelps. Does any more need to be said other than that name? A name which strikes fear into the hearts of hairdressers, crossdressers, sodomites, catamites, dancers, prancers and men romancers. And funeral directors. Fred has now declared that, as well as those who ignore Leviticus, we are all doomed and are GOING TO HELL! Well, I'm not, because I'm not in America but it will happen here as well. It's now too late according to Rev Fred and even praying won't help. When God gives up, He gives up for good. There is something wrong with the expression "gives up for good" in the previous sentence. I must look it up in my dictionary. Aaarrgghh!! The dictionary has rude words in it! I am going to Hell! Why didn't I listen to Phelps?
- Gospel Plow
I have always made it a habit to avoid harlots. There is something about the average harlot which makes me uneasy. Perhaps it's the clothes harlots wear, although some of them don't wear much at all. Maybe it's because you can't have a good conversation with a harlot, as their profession is so intellectually demanding that the only thing they can talk about is harlotry. Just about the only time I have anything to do with harlots is during the local Chamber of Commerce's "Helping Hands for Handicapped Harlots Festival" when I push a wheelchaired harlot in the parade. Usually I'm like the man in that old film who told a woman called Scarlett O'Harlott that he didn't give a damn. Whores are a different matter, but we will get into that subject at another time.
Spreading the word
Where unusual methods of persuasion hold sway
- The Covenant Vision Ministry
These people live just up the road a bit from my place, and I am so glad they do. With the end of the world so close, it is comforting to know that I can just jump in the car and in a few minutes be with the chosen ones. Note that I said "chosen ones", not "chosen people". We all know who they are, and there won't be any of them going where we're going. I was particularly impressed with Pastor Frank's analysis of the impact and significance of the Olympic Games on Sydney. Those of us who live here know that Sydney is a Godless kind of town (we even have a Gay Mardi Gras), but until I read Pastor Frank's exposé I didn't know how close to perdition we really were. Now I understand what that synchronised pole-vaulter meant when I overheard her say "Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?".
- Jack Chick
When you read Jack's books and comics, you get the feeling that he is trying to tell you something. These works are not just entertainment, but seem to have a message in there for all of us. I am not quite sure what that message is, although I get the impression that Jack is going to be the only person in Heaven. I can't even be sure of that, though, because the subtlety of these stories, the cleverness of the writing and the focussed chiaroscuro of the artwork hint at a postmodern allusion to and acceptance of a synthesis of impressionism from the art world, the just-hidden but tangible threats of a Kafka novel, the majesty of a Sousa march, and the taste of a great champagne. If Jack had been born in Russia, God would not have needed to create Tolstoy.
- The Son of Man Image Explained!
A picture is worth a thousand words, some clichémonger once said. Here is a picture that is worth ten thousand words. Nay, a million words. Here is a picture of Jesus on someone's hand. The picture at the right is an enhanced colour version which makes things a lot clearer. You may have heard about how NASA and the CIA enhance photographs using sophisticated computer techniques, but when we're dealing with miracles an ordinary felt-tipped pen will do. The only thing that worries me is that the image does not look like the Jesus we are used to seeing in paintings. This Jesus looks a lot like Leon Trotsky. There is the obvious similarity in the way Jesus and Trotsky were betrayed by people whom they had known as friends, but maybe this is a sign that the great Jewish/Communistic conspiracy goes back to the first century.
Enforcing the Word
Where help is offered to keep us on the straight and narrow
- Balaam's Ass
There are places you don't want to go. Ever. Especially not for ever. Hell is one of those places, and this site reminds us of what lies ahead for those who ignore the warnings and do not listen to the truth. The page you first get to doesn't tell you much, but you can escape to the Balaam's Ass site which will guide you to a mountain of facts and figures that will make you change your ways. It is a pity that the combined forces of the New World Order, the UN and the US Government have caused some parts of this site to become too hot to handle and they had to be removed. Seeing the thoughts on Christianity there, I was so looking forward to reading what Steve had to say about Islam. We will just have to settle for his piano work.
- Re-Versed Lyrics
Everyone likes a good sing along. There's no better way to spend a cold winter's evening than gathering around the old harpsichord and belting out some tunes. The problem is, the words of most songs are totally unsuitable for family use. Even if they are almost acceptable, they still don't quite have that magic that makes them a joy to sing. The problem is solved. Now you can sing along to the familiar tunes you hear on the radio, but you can sing words which have meaning and which raise the spirits and let praise ring forth. I'm a bit worried, though, at the thought that these good Christian folk had to listen to the real (and obviously evil) words of songs like "Cocaine", "My Generation", "I am the Walrus" and "House of the Rising Sun" and therefore be exposed to thoughts about illicit drugs, youth suicide, gambling and prostitution. Hey, maybe those songs did need new words!
It looks like the songs are not only re-versed but they are re-tracted as well, gone to join the great librettist in the sky. Well, at least we can still hum along if we don't like the words.
- ChildCare Action Project
Imagine the Monday morning staff meeting down at the ChildCare Action Project headquarters. Tasks are being allocated for the teams to review the week's new crop of films. Doreen requests a change of assignment, because she is suffering from repetitive strain injury from clicking the f-word-counter at last week's reviews. John announces that now he has his new glasses he is ready to resume his counting-the-naughty-bits-below-the-waist duties. Margaret asks for clarification: does Sharon Stone saying "Oh God, oh God, oh my God!" to Russell Crowe get counted as three cases of "O" (Offense to God) or one case of "S" (Sex/homosexuality)? (She knows it is not homosexuality - someone explained that to her once.) Everyone is given a copy of the new U2 CD to see if the Irishmen are putting down religion again or being too Catholic.
I have included this because people are always writing to me suggesting it for inclusion in Quintessence of the Loon. I don't really think it's loony, because the scoring method for films is consistent. Weird, yes, but consistent. Still, public opinion says it should be in here somewhere. Oh, OK, it is loony! PB
What does it mean?
Where the truth in the Bible is revealed. Several truths, apparently.
- The Bible Decoded
I have mentioned before how those great 20th-century philosophers Plant and Page have told us that "sometimes words have two meanings". Here is proof that sometimes there can be even more than two meanings. In fact, there can be as many meanings as you want, but you have to seek them out. By examining the Bible carefully, it is possible to read between the lines and between the words and, by applying such techniques as the 14 Principles to come to true enlightenment. I look forward to future research which will enable us to remove the redundant words that make up the traditional Bible and just leave the decoded stuff. Then we can start again.
- Bible Code Research
There is a group of books in the Old Testament that are devoted to prophecy. Theologians and other biblical scholars used to think that these prophecies were about the coming of the Messiah and other things relating to matters of religion and God. Now we find that the prophecies were even better and more subtle than that. There is stuff in there that would make Nostradamus look like an amateur with no prophetic ability at all. Then again, Nostradamus didn't have modern computers to check all the letters and find the patterns. He did, however, predict the Bible code in that famous quatrain:
|When farmgirls' eyes see peppercorns|
And Archdukes speak of fowl
The time of thyme reverses
And lets me count the ways.
- Revelation 13: Astrology for the New Age
Now, here's some good solid predicting, based on the obvious meanings of the words in Revelation. I just don't know why I didn't see all this stuff for myself when I first came across St John the Devine's masterwork. How blind I was not to see the connection to astrology and the Age of Aquarius. It should have been obvious. On another matter, it's just as well for Noah that Revelation is at the other end of the Bible because he would have exceeded his quota for animals on the ark. He might have squeezed the four horses in somewhere, but what would he have done with the seven seals