Thursday, October 11, 2012

#264-Turning General Conference Into Barnum & Bailey's

Over the past few years I’ve lost touch with a lot of people and a lot of events. Sometimes intentionally. For instance, I try not to pay attention to Music Fest, Youth Congress, General Conference, etc.

Joel called me a few weeks ago and, in passing, mentioned camps, which gave me great glee in the fact that I had been oblivious to the fact that it was camp season.  It’s always the same: one shouting service, one weeping service, words of ‘prophecy’ are given, everyone eats too much and we all go home.

I knew General Conference was going on last week but didn’t think much of it. I didn’t try to stream it, I stayed away from the speaking schedule, and I was blissful.


They made it impossible for me. It’s like I’m in The Truman Show, except it’s The Glen Show and there’s some guy in a control booth somewhere saying “Ok, send in the crazy in three…two…”

Act 1

A few years ago I saw a hilarious viral video of a guy who gets his first chance to preach at a southern evangelical church. The preacher's name is one I will never forget: Brother Barry.

You will not regret bearing witness:

I remember the first time I saw the video (full sermon is around 30 minutes). A preacher friend showed it to me and we could not stop laughing. So fast-forward to 2012. One of our dear preachers saw the video, and somehow, without any drugs or alcohol assisting, made the most drunk-guy decision I’ve ever seen: He decided that this guy needs to be affiliated with the UPC. He'd be one of those trinitarian-gone-Acts 2:38 ministers we all hear about. Bonus: He's Youtube famous. 

So, bless God, they tracked this guy down. Now, I wasn’t there but what I heard happened is this:

After the trapeze artists finished up and they got the elephant that walks on his hind legs out of the arena it was time:

A little purple clown car pulls up onto the middle of the stage. The door swings slowly open as Jukebox Hero by Foreigner blares from the speakers. Out steps a big red shoe.. then another… A clown stands up and dances across the stage. Then another. And another. And six more. And just when the audience thought there couldn't possibly be another clown in the car… one penny loafer touches the floor. Followed by another… And out steps….our hero… Brother Barry. The arena erupts. Young girls faint. The Board is in tears. Stoneking has two girls by the hair. It's glorious.

Ok maybe that’s not how it happened but it’s how it played out in my head...

Anyway, they take Brother Barry on stage, give some spiel about him to the crowd and over to the dunk tank they go.

Cue dozens of iphone cameras filming a the in-house big-screen showing the baptism.

Cue baptism.

"Brother Internet-Celebrity-We-Brought-In-To-Get-Exposure, upon the confession of your faith in what I explained to you on the phone I do now indeed baptize y..w..what's that? No you can't have the microphone...I do now indeed baptize you in the Name..."

Cue shouting music.

Cue shouts from the old ministers rejoicing that they acquired one more of those Tritheists.

Cue quiet chuckles of younger ministers who were all really big fans of Brother Barry two years ago.

Cue History.

Act 2

The next act was even more daring.

Perhaps you remember this sassy young senator from the great state of Missouri:

You heard it here folks. Women can’t get preggers from ‘legitimate’ rape. But this has been hashed out in the media and on Facebook for weeks, so I won’t bore you with my take.

But yes, this media darling spoke at General Conference too.

And in related news, I managed to get my hands on the minutes from the board meeting that planned General Conference.. sorry that’s #upcigc12 #GC2012.

It reads as follows:

“Gentlemen, thank you for coming today. I trust you've brought some great ideas to the table for General Conference 2012?”
“Yes sir, we have some very relevant ideas.”
“What word did you just say?”
“Um, ideas?
“Before that.”
“After that.”
“Turn in your affiliation card and get out.”
*Two large men in suits carry away the heretic*

“Now, does anyone have any REAL ideas for General Conference this year?”
“Well, I saw this video of a really awkward guy trying to preach at some Trinitarian church…”
“How do you know it was Trinitarian?”
“Because he had a mullet.”
“That’s all the proof I need. What’s the idea?”
“Well, I was going to say we baptize him, but I think he might be mentally disabled or at least socially inept, so maybe we shouldn’t take advantage of him for our own gain.”
“No no, I like it, someone call Chance, who’s got Delta Miles? Get this guy on a plane tonight!”
“What else?”

“Sir, there was a member of the House of Representatives that went on the news and said women couldn’t get pregnant from actual rape.”
“They can’t.”
“But….according to science…”
“I don’t care about some pinko, commie, atheist ‘doctors’! They can’t and that’s final. What’s your idea?”
“Well, the election is around the corner and he’s running, and it could bring a lot of exposure to us and him equally if we let him speak, and since this conference seems like all we're trying to do is get exposure and make waves...”
“That’s the most brilliant idea I’ve ever heard! Call his office. NO! I’ll go myself. We must have this man at our conference.”
“But sir, isn’t the point of the conference to gather the members of the movement together to network, handle ministerial business, raise money for our outreach programs/global missions, and just have good church? How does any of this contribute to that?”
“Don’t worry, we’ll get Arnold to do an hour long set.”
“You mean sermon?”
“Yeah yeah, sermon, that’s what I meant, sermon, right.”

And that, my friends, is the story of General Conference 2012.


  1. Peanuts...get your peanuts!

  2. As a bearer of two X chromosomes, I am completely befuddled that another woman could be comfortable in Rep. Akin’s presence. His appearance, if pre-planned, should have been terminated the moment those lies came out of his mouth. It’s absolutely unnacceptable.

  3. I am angry that they invited Akin. They might agree with his abortion policy, but to invite him to speak is highly offensive to every woman. The women in the audience should have stood up and walked out the minute he stood up to speak, but since most of the women in the crowd are spineless preachers' wives who have been taught they can have no voice of their own this kind of crap will continue.

  4. Sadly these conferences have little to do with the supremecy of Christ, the preachers, clothing, yelling, competition, pride, and position are exalted while Christ is neglected. Its sad, very sad. I cannot imagine the Pentecostal religion lasting for too many more years to come. The people are too carnal and proud.

  5. Well, it really depends what brand of Pentecost. There's brand name...and there's generic. Generic Pentecost, like those who are more worried about how high you can get your slit without being taken aside & talked to, or the ones more worried about their image than their Creator, aren't going to last. Those are going to backslide & burn out, while the brand name true Pentecostals who stick to the Bible teach their children & get it into their hearts make it until Jesus comes back.