Sabrina and Taylor have been mentioned here at BDBO before. So has The Prayer Palace.
The Prayer Palace – a prosperity gospel church in Toronto was featured in a Toronto Star investigation piece called Houses of the Holy in March of this year.
I blogged aboutÂ The Prayer PalaceÂ a fair bit, including posts on the PR firm the ministers and board hired to deflect the investigative report.
Of course, a few press releases later, it was back to business as usual, but not before a Florida paper had picked up their end of the story and a lot of online heat was generated.
Forward to a religious talk show host named Drew Marshall who decided to pay two contestants to go to five different churches in the Toronto area. Sabrina and Taylor applied, won, and have been blogging about their experience at Hoof Hearted. They will be on The Drew Marshall Show July 7th.
He didn’t spare them, they dutifully showed up toÂ their assignments includingÂ the infamous Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.Â Â This is theÂ last and final church experience – The Prayer Palace.
Well, by about 2.5 hours in, I looked around and actually saw a guy on his cell phone. TJ and I gave up on notes, and started squirming and fidgeting like the poor little kids in front of us who had sat through the whole thing as well. It was cruel and unusual! I donâ€™t know if the service is always as long as that – in any event, the congregation seems to spend all of Sunday there since thereâ€™s an evening service as well – but it was brutal and unpleasant.
It felt like all the warm fuzzy feelings of Sanctuary were sandblasted out of me to make way for this loud and noisy debacle. The only saving grace was that the people were honestly friendly – they walked around shaking hands and saying good morning like they really meant it. To those lovely people, I say: check out another church. These wackos donâ€™t deserve you.
As always the big tease that is a good start rears its ugly head. The lights dim and the anthem raises, we are asked to standâ€¦ a little late but better late then never. The projector flares aerial views of all the major Canadian cities, 30+ people with full sized Canadian flags run to the front and begin waving them enthusiastically, the crowd pipes up and begins to dance with a fervent energy. Then my personal favorite, the acrobats and fire works. Just like Jesus would have done it, had he the means to so. I poke fun but I was genuinely impressed, I couldnâ€™t believe the production that was put on for Canada Day, I was proud especially considering I could count the white people in the room on one hand. I was in great spirits as no one is prouder of this fine country then I am.
And cue metaphorical brick wall. â€œHeyâ€¦ That isnâ€™t a person dressed as Abe Lincoln is it?â€ â€œAnd those arenâ€™t pictures of the world trade center attacks are they?â€ Celine Dion? July,1st? Toronto Ontario Canada? Melting pot?
Go home you Yankee Bullitt Headed Saxon Motherâ€™s Sons. Take your hate mongering and cultural ignorance back across the 49th and donâ€™t come back. Christian holy wars should have been done with centuries ago.
An hour and every continent later (except for Europe?) we had finished the celebrations. I didnâ€™t so much mind the other countries besides the United States because Canada prides itself on multiculturalism and part of that would mean celebrating our other heritages. However if your going to do the whole world why leave out Europe and why does Barbados have its own banner?
Like all great things in life it seems Jesusâ€™ love requires an upfront deposit. Two hours in and yet no sermon.
…I got lost.
My mind was melted from a mix of exhaustion, boredom and outraged nationalism. Although there was one clear message that I did understand, the message that everyone understandsâ€¦ Money makes the world go round, and apparently it even applies if you created the world. The only underlying current that was evident throughout the whole service was that the more you give, and it was emphasized monetarily, the more God will love you. The pastor even made a comment about how putting your hand in the collection bucket was a way in which to physically touch god. I am no scripture buff but I know that isnâ€™t right. I was disgusted. But someone has to pay for the pastors face lifts, might as well be the poor black community, they donâ€™t have enough money for Jesus to love them anyway.Â