Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Somebody Shoot Me

Please. In the head. Or at least put me out of my misery with some sort of Thuggee-prayer-shawl action.

It gets better. Apparently this Bishop John Francis bozo heads something called "Ruach Ministries." My poor, poor brain.

I was channel surfing and happened to come across this guy's sermon on Benny "Show me the Money" Hinn's show. Here's my little attempt at live-blogging the first segment, where Bishop Francis comments on how cool the tallit is.

11:30- John Francis: "Here's the part of that whole scripture that goes with the tallit. People don't realize how powerful this is. In my book, I talk about how this is known as a mantle. We can trace it to a mantle. It's a covering. Most Jewish people, when they get married, they put this over their heads, like a's known as a little tent."
Really? I checked this out on the Internet and most of the sources for this don't seem to be super-kosher. (Though I do think that "prayer-closet" is one of the coolest words I've heard in a while.)

12:04- Benny Hinn: Like the tabernacle?
John Francis: "Like the tabernacle. And the people would wrap themselves in this... I was reading in Psalms, it says, "he that dwelleth in the secret place... under his feather and under his wings," again, that same word. (He tugs on the tzitzit.) This represents the WORD of God!"
Fair enough, and some nice symbolism. Of course, one could point out that a lot of mitzvot represent the same thing.
12:28- John Francis: "When you've got a WORD covering you, the Devil can't get you!"

No, no... damn it. Leave tzitzit out of your Word-of-faith theology, man! Haven't they suffered enough?

12:35- John Francis: "People have been seeing this for years but they don't understand the power... this is like a personal tabernacle... A tabernacle is a dwelling-place... The moment you get one of these (holding up the tallit) and wrap yourself in it, and call out to God, and hold onto the wings, which represent his word, he's GOT to come to you!"
Bishop Francis then gives historical background- originally there was tzitzit on everything, but then as Jews were in exile, they began to "amalgamate with Gentiles", so they no longer wore distinctive clothes, which necessitated the prayer shawl. Amalgamate? Really? They were being blended with mercury? Sounds like another "silent Holocaust" in the making.

14:05- "So even if Jews were being oppressed, they could carry their personal tent with them. And even today, some Jews carry them around under their clothes. And when they go into the Temple, they will wear it and be praying to God."

Nice try, Bishop. But I don't know of any source that says the tallis katan came about as a secret, "don't-persecute-me" version of the tallis gadol. They're two different garments that have two distinct purposes, and I don't think most Jews are in the habit of switching one around for the other. Besides, you're starting to make us sound like weird persecution-complex-suffering amulet wearers. We're not all like Shas, ok?

15:00- And apparently the moral is that Christians- sorry, "Believers," should wear tallitot when they pray because "doing something Biblical means God has to answer your prayers." Well, if that's all it takes, why don't you guys do more? Like, say, Sukkot, or shmitta?

Anyway, if you're a mean skeptic like me (or this guy), don't worry, apparently the good Bishop did something called a prayer study to figure all this out. Well, that's a relief. I'd hate to think someone hadn't thought this one through.

The best part is that this waste of paper is free when you make a donation of ONLY 100 dollars to Benny Hinn! Wow, that's quite some freebie.

Watch the whole painful thing here. And don't say I didn't warn you.

Oh, and incidentally, Bishop, the crappy wordplay in your book's title doesn't seem to add up. But who knows, if you're messing around with the tallit today, I suppose it's only natural that pseudo-gematria is close behind.

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