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June 15, 2021

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Bible Purple

By John Aronno (Alaska Commons)

There’s a truck that’s been driving around town. I saw it sputtering down Northern Lights Blvd last week as I gazed out the window at the Spenard Roadhouse. The four-wheeled apocalypse barker is touting the message that a massive, worldwide earthquake is going to hit us, giving way to the Rapture, and ending with the complete obliteration of the Earth one month later. Judgment day, according to this group, will happen Saturday, May 21st, reminding us of the utmost importance of gettin’ down on Friday.

There’s nothing new about End Times warnings (in fact the same guy, Harold Camping, who made the May 21st prediction, is fairly well known – wait for it – for predicting the same thing would happen on Sept. 6, 1994), mostly because Revelation reads something like a horoscope written on a bad acid trip; applicable to most any turbulent time in history, and used likewise by narcissistic snake oil salesmen to capitalize off of terror-stricken believers in vulnerable states. We often trivialize the very real origins of the term “drinking the kool-aide.” We shouldn’t.

So, I did what a lot of news outlets seem to do in these sort of situations: I took something that had nothing specifically to do with Jerry Prevo and sought out his opinion. Was he a Twenty Firster?

I didn’t have to dig very deep for an answer. And after hours of denting my desk and forehead, I decided to open the passenger door and invite you along for the journey.

To save myself from having giant block quotations, I’m just going to put my text in blue italics from here on out. Grab a beer. This gets all sorts of bumpy.

Excerpts from Sermon entitled “Judgment Day” – Anchorage Baptist Temple, Sunday May 1st, by Jerry Prevo. [video here]

Now, there’s a van driving around that says ‘Judgement Day, May the 21st.’ … Somebody emailed me and asked me what do I think about that. And I said, well, Jesus has already answered the question. He said in Matthew 24:36, he says “but of that day and hour know no one, not even the angels of heaven, but my father only.” Alright? He doesn’t know the day or the hour. The danger of setting dates is this: What if it happens before May the 21st, huh?

 

[II Peter 3:10] “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” Oh, not May the 21st, as everybody knows. You know, the Lord can’t come on May the 21st. Why? Cause it won’t be as a thief in the night.

So, May 21 can’t be Judgment day because random crazy person managed to “leak” God’s master plan?

I believe another sign of the Last Days is possibly the crumbling of America as a powerful financial and military nation. I’m going to show you why I believe it’s possible from Book of Revelation, Chapter 18.

Today, conservatives and liberals are worried about one thing. They’re worried about our national debt. Let’s look at our national debt. I think we can put it up here. This is a live clock. This is how fast our national debt is mounting… I want you to look at it… Now, the liberals and the conservatives are saying we cannot sustain this. We’ve got religious people, nonreligious people saying, listen, America cannot survive with this going on as you see it happening right now. Everyone’s concerned about it and rightly so.

Throughout this speech, which is overtly political at times, Prevo makes sure to offer balance: Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. ABT is a 501(c)3 company that is tax exempt. But favoring one candidate – or group of candidates – is prohibited. This isn’t Jerry acknowledging a bipartisan problem. He’s covering his rear end [check out “Political Campaign Intervention on p.2 of the form]. Although if poor people were recognized as a political “group,” I think he’d be screwed.

Now, there’s some things that we need to think about. There’s 311 million people in this country. Do you know how many of them pay taxes? Only 111 million pay taxes. That means only one out of three people are paying taxes to help pay off the debt. Furthermore, this past year, and this year, some people that did not pay any taxes at all are going to get a refund. I don’t know how you get a refund when you didn’t pay anything. I mean, there not going to give you money back that you paid in, they’re going to take money from some of you that paid taxes and give it to those that didn’t have, didn’t pay anything. We can’t sustain this.

Let’s talk about taxes, then. Anchorage Baptist Temple sits on a plot of land that spans, roughly, twenty acres (they brag about their size). It’s also housed right next to Cheney Lake in East Anchorage. Coincidentally, we’re neighbors. Given my yearly property tax rate as an unscientific barometer, ABT is annually letting the average municipal taxpayer shoulder it’s megachurch weight in property taxes to the tune of somewhere around $350,000. And that discounts the residential property exempted in our municipal code for ABT as well.

That might sound off, but the municipality has allocated a religious tax exempt status to 4 properties owned by Anchorage Baptist Temple, on Banbury Dr., Banbury Cir., Sunflower St., and 4th Ave. Each are afforded their enjoyment of said tax exempt status on sprawling 8k square feet plots – the one on Banbury even boasts a jetted tub. Maybe Mr. Prevo, who takes in plenty of “love offerings” (read: donations) from his faithful flock without claiming a penny, should ditch the whole complaining about tax-dodgers gig.

And yet he doesn’t. He also prescribes our debt problem to the two-thirds of Americans he feels do not pay taxes. It is true that millions of the ranks of the poor don’t make enough to owe federal income taxes (a married couple making less than a combined yearly average of $18,900 would owe nothing, for instance) – but it’s a joke to believe those are the only taxes Americans pay. Federal payroll taxes, municipal property taxes (Ahem, Jerry), food, gas, health care… The pastor is not doing much homework.

Or maybe he’s taking a muted jab at Exxon and Bank of America. Yeah, not so much. He’ll clarify in a bit.

Could our country go bankrupt like another business can go bankrupt? And the answer is yes, it can… America could go bankrupt. Now what happens when people lose their retirement? What happens when they lose their jobs? Things get tough, don’t they? And I believe it looks like, as you watch this, we’re seeing the beginning of the collapse of the United States of America…

So, let’s look at Revelation Chapter 18, Verse 1. He said: “after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great authority, and the Earth was illuminated with his glory. He cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, a cage for every hated and unclean bird!’”

This terminology… refers to an immoral lifestyle. And look at the immorality that’s displayed and portrayed on television and movies today.

Look how far this country has gone. There was a time where you couldn’t use a cuss word on television. There was a time where Elvis Presley couldn’t shake on television. Man, Elvis Presley looks like an angel today compared to some of the stuff today. Look at what our country has become. Our country has endorsed the lifestyle that God calls an abomination, that is called detestable, we’ve endorsed homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, when God says it’s an abomination, it’s detestable, that Romans Chapter 1 says that God has given people like this over to a reprobate mind.

Bad words beget hip gyrations beget the gay. We’re back in familiar territory. Wonder where he’ll take it…

And then furthermore, the Royal Wedding! Prince William and Catherine. They had this big church wedding. You listen to the minister, man, it sounded pretty good… But here, it was bestowed upon them, this big, great church wedding as if these people were moral examples for the young people of our country, when really they’re two big fornicators that have been living together unmarried for all of these years.

Some of you don’t like what I’m saying…

Did not see that coming.

We make heroes today out of fornicators and adulterers! That’s how far our country’s come.

Is premarital sex really the issue we need to be most worried about? Priority number one?

Notice [Revelation 18:3]: “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

Have other countries become rich from us, from our luxury? China, man, their economy is growing great, and they make a lot of money off of us. Look at all the stuff we make.

Psst, Jerry, they make it now. We buy it. It leads to crappy end tables and missing screws.

All the Arab countries. We buy their oil and they become rich because of us.

Now, some Bible scholars believe this is, that Babylon of Revelation 18 is referring to the United States of America. Is it? I’m not saying for sure. But it’s possible…

Look at [Revelation 18:4]: “I heard another voice from heaven saying ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’”

You look at the history of this country. This country was founded upon the word of God. All of our moral laws of all states were founded upon this book, and now they’re being repealed and being changed, and God says “my people, come out of her. Don’t be like this country.”

But we’ve got churches becoming like the world. We’ve got ministers that are becoming like the world. We’ve got ministers that are advocating “live like the world; you need to go out and act like the world so you can get them saved!” That’s a bunch of hogwash as we’d say back in Tennessee.

So, just to be clear, a good Christian should be pro-God, anti-world. This is a little out there.

…We’ve been a country that honored God, and we’ve had in God we trust, and people would honor God even if they weren’t religious people.

Kind of like how we honor all gods by burning other holy books?

But today, we’re not honoring God as a nation. They want to take “In God we Trust” off of our coins.

Yeah, I remember that bill. It also had death panels, Sharia Law, and a ban on new comic book movies. So, it wasn’t all bad.

You say America could never cease to be a prosperous, powerful nation. Yes we could. Look at Revelation 18:8: “Therefor her plagues will come in one day- death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who” what? “Judges her.”

I’ll tell you what, brother, God judged this whole Earth one day when he sent a flood, Amen? And he can bring down America. And I’ll tell you what, if God doesn’t judge America for its sin, he’ll have to apologize to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Because we’re guilty today of the same sin they were guilty of.

[Revelation 18:9] “The kings of the earth who’ve committed fornication and have lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’”

One hour. Now, this could refer to a nuclear attack.

Pronounced “nuke – yuh – lur”. Drink.

We were asleep when Pearl Harbor happened. We were asleep when 9/11 happened. And today, they’re saying because of our national debt, we may have to cut spending and one of the places that they say we could cut spending is in the military. And if you start cutting the military it would make us more prone to be attacked by a rogue nation, and I’m going to tell you, the Muslims don’t like us. The terrorists don’t like us. They want to bring down America. And they could.

I’ll pause and ask you to read that last paragraph over again. And we’ll pick up a minute or so later at Revelation 18:16 as he shifts away from a brazenly uninformed description of reality to blatant make believe:

“Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed”- now get this- “in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!”

I want you to notice the colors of Babylon here. The colors: fine linen, that’s white. Bible purple is blue. Scarlet is red. Red, white, and blue. What is the color of our flag? Red, white, and blue.

Time out.

Fine linen is, indeed, white. Scarlet is, no doubt, red. Purple, however, is purple. There is no such thing as “Bible Purple.” “Bible Purple” is a made up term. This is one hundred percent fiction. Purple, purple, purple – just google searches away – means Purple. Not blue. But reality doesn’t fit neatly in the narrative, so facts be damned. America bad. By the way, can you imagine if Michael Moore was giving this speech? Jerry Prevo would be livid.

Speaking of which, let’s hear Prevo’s prescription for our country’s economical woes (this goes back to that whole “poor people should pay more taxes” reference earlier).

[Revelation 18:23] says “For your merchants were the great men of the earth, whereby your sorcery, all the nations were deceived.”

The Greek word for sorcery comes from the word pharmakeia, from which we get the English word pharmacy. What do you get from a pharmacy? Drugs. Do we have a drug problem in this country? Yes, we do. We have a drug problem. That’s why the drug cartels in Mexico along the border; we’re having trouble. They’re bringing their drugs over into this country because there’s a great demand for it. We got our drug problem. And our people are getting all drugged up and when you get all drugged up you can’t perform; you can’t produce. And we have less and less people that are capable of holding a job and producing so that they can have to pay taxes, so they can help pay down the national debt. Plus, they get to the place, they’re hung up on drugs, that they don’t want to work. And they go on welfare. And that can bring the financial collapse to the nation.

Now, remember what I said. I said this may be another sign that we’re living in the Last Days.

This is backed up by the empty unemployment lines plaguing this nation; the tremendous job surpluses we have created by the conscious choice of the “junkie class” to sit home and count the days until their jobless benefits run out and they are forced onto the street. Poor Craigslist job sections, sitting their with so many jobs, paying a living wage, sitting there collecting drug-dust. I you’re homeless tonight, don’t blame your adjustable mortgage rate that was sold to you as a fixed mortgage rate. Don’t blame your wife for getting sick and being denied health care. Don’t blame your job getting outsourced and your unemployment benefits running out. Blame your black tar problem, loser. You’re going to hell.

But, yet, we have the liberals and the conservatives; we have the Democrats and we have the Republicans saying our country cannot sustain this financial dillemma that we’re in. We’ve got to do something. And I’m not sure we’ve got any politically minded people that have got the intestinal fortitude… to do what needs to be done to correct this before we have a total collapse. But maybe it’s not going to be corrected. Maybe God has taken his hand of blessing off of this country, because we’ve turned away from him.

…And if we’re living in the last days, judgment day is coming. Let’s look at the national debt again. Look at it. Look how fast it’s going up. Just went up another million. Just went up another half a million. Just went up another million. That’s why the liberals and the conservatives; Republicans and the Democrats, the educated, the uneducated, are saying listen… We’re smart enough to know we can’t sustain this…

There were four reasons here for the judgment against Babylon in Revelation 18, whoever it is, and whatever it is. There was the increase in all kinds of immorality and perversion. Has there been an increase in immorality and perversion in this country? Yes or no? Yes. Second reason was her love of wealth and riches over God. Has there been an increase of the love of wealth and riches over God in this country? Yes or no? Yes. Her abusive use of drugs. And we have an abusive use today. And her hatred, abuse, and persecution of people who stand for Jesus Christ and Biblical Morality. And they hate Bible preaching, teaching churches today that are not politically correct. But they really hate Jesus Christ. If the world likes your church, there’s something wrong with your church.

You know how I know God likes our church? They don’t like us.

You know how I know that doesn’t make any sense? It doesn’t. But you summed up yourself perfectly. You use the Bible as a big bag of words for you to mold a narrative around; using applicable passages where you can manipulate and rewrite them, and simply making things up whenever you have to.

You’re “Bible Purple.”

In the 1970 Walz v. Tax Comm’n of the City of New York, Chief Justice Burger upheld the constitutionality of the religious tax exemption. He asserted that “the State has an affirmative policy that considers these groups as beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life”, but cautioned that the exemption is “not perpetual or immutable; some tax exempt groups lose that status when their activities take them outside the classification”.

The views expressed by Jerry Prevo don’t pass simple Snopes inquiries or Google searches. And he has relentlessly thrust his beliefs, on the wings of his followers, into the pursuit of affecting our laws and elections in ways that I do not believe can be justified as beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life. He has turned neighbor against neighbor for personal, private gain.

Furthermore, the properties amassed by the Anchorage Baptist Temple under the direction of Jerry Prevo are not simply to assert a freedom to exercise a religion. You don’t need 20 acres and a jetted tub to pursue your faith – especially not at the expense of the broader community who pays to keep the lights on, the heating going, and the inflammatory rhetoric pumped out of speakers and broadcast on the radio, television, and internet. This is flagrant abuse of the tax exempt status and it’s time we stopped shying away from it.

 

Politician much?

 

Comments

comments

Comments
63 Responses to “Bible Purple”
  1. Nekolibrarian says:

    Hubby is a pastor of a small congregation. For the past couple of years, they kept cutting and cutting his pay, to the point that I now have to work three main jobs (one is now full-time) plus take as many freelance workshops as possible just to make ends meet. We own our home and pay property taxes on it. We pay all income taxes, on his income as well as mine, plus all Social Security/Medicare/etc. People like Prevo make me ill, because he casts a bad light on my husband, who works like crazy to help the people of our congregation.

  2. PennyArcade says:

    I so agree with all of you on this subject. Years ago, out of curiousity, I attened one of his Xmas programs and I was absolutely floored. He had more Hollywood lighting an sound effects than Hollywood itself, and live animals, etc., etc., and after he got the crowd all hyped up, THE MAN HIMSELF came on for the big money pitch. I have NEVER been that disgusted and sickened in my life. Prevo is a blight on Anchorage.

  3. Schroon Lake says:

    Good, I am glad these religious losers are out making a fool of themselves

    • mike from iowa says:

      You need to pay more attention. These nutjobs are self-inflicting idiocy every time they open their mouths. They are emulating the one who should never be emulated-unless you are a rethuglican politician and quit halfway through your term.

  4. Phuket Tom says:

    In Thailand it’s 9 AM on 21 May. Cloudy and threatening rain. Oops! Was that a tremor I just felt. No, just me giggling at the absurdity of Rev. Prevo!

    Phuket Tom
    Rawai Beach, Phuket, Thailand

  5. beth says:

    OK – could someone, please, clear something up for me?

    This Rapture thingie — is it going to hit at midnight of the 20th INTO the 21st, or at midnight of the 21st INTO the 22nd? (Gads, I wish Americans would use a 24-hour/’military’ clock for important events such as this!)

    And the midnight part — is that midnight local time, (sort of making it a “Rolling Rapture”…Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, each Rapturing at midnight in their specific time zone) or will it be a One-Fell-Swoop thingie where it hits midnight in a G_d-designated location, say, Trenton, NJ, and everyone is Raptured –no matter where they happen to be– the minute it turns midnight in said G_d-designated location?

    Are only US Citizens and/or US Citizens residing in the US at the designated time, eligible for the Rapture — or is it a world-wide event?

    The reason I ask is that I’d hate to be in the middle of something (like shaving my legs and only having the left one done) when the Rapture hits. I’d end up Rapturing rather unkempt and that’s just in poor taste. On the other hand, if I’m not one of the ‘lucky ones’ who is set to Rapture, I’d equally hate to join the looting and squatting parties looking a mess. Timing is everything…

    So, any mudpups know the particular details of the Rapture timing? beth.

    Post Rapture Looting: Public Event — http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121968371215699

  6. mike from iowa says:

    I think god is just too busy to drop what he/she is doing tomorrow and sort out all humans. Afterall he/she wasn’t in a big hurry to call Oral Roberts home and took time to let Tammy Faye twist in the wind. Jerry Falwell was another that survived long after his freshness code expired. I wish he/she would see fit to fund schools so the little ones get an education that will do them some good. Rethuglicans apparently aren’t gonna waste money on education.

  7. vyccan says:

    John A,
    I read that all the way through (as a personal test) and for the first time I am no longer ambivalent on the issue of whether churches should be taxed or not – they need to be! For the very first time my eyes have been opened to the fact that tax-free churches are another source of untapped revenue for the country, and they should be called on to do their patriotic duty. After all, the ‘ country cannot sustain this financial dillemma that we’re in. We’ve got to do something. ‘ I cannot believe that people sat quietly through that excuse for a sermon. WHERE was the uplifting message, the strengthening of the ‘spirit’ for the week ahead? The ‘love’? He is just as selfish as the oil barons who reap tons of unearned benefit, yet begrudge the ‘little man’ when he gets a break.

    I appreciate your sharing this, even though it has been depressing to be reminded of the gullibility of some religious folk.

    • fishingmamma says:

      Actually, we could offer the churches the same tax exemption we give to seniors: The first $200,000 property value is exempt, everything else is taxable. Small churches would benefit and megachurches would pay thier fair share.

    • vyccan says:

      I hadn’t thought of that, FM, but it is a very good suggestion. That way the smaller, and often more ‘sincere’, congregations can still benefit. That is actually what was bothering me with the taxing/no taxing of churches because I didn’t doubt that there were many who were in the business of uplifting hearts and serving the needy, while there were so many others who were obviously running a business (very often a republican business which we all were subsidizing). Your suggestion quite ‘fairly’ addresses both.

  8. AK Raven says:

    Do you think it will happen before or after the Preakness? Is God a horse racing fan?

  9. AK Raven says:

    Any great parties tonight?

  10. BigPete says:

    No mas

    I’ve been preparing rigorously for this day for quite some time- credit cards all maxed-out and bills unpaid for the last few months of hookers and blow. I’m waiting quite anxiously to see if the church people come around knocking at the door as usual this Saturday morning. Quite excited actually, although I always pretend not to be home!

  11. snowbound says:

    “A thief in the night…” If I wanted to sneak around Anchorage at night I think I’d choose December. A lot more time and flexibility. Wouldn’t have to stay up so late waiting for dark.

  12. DudleysPa says:

    Getting back to that van for a moment, ‘cos I’m a bit confused about the picture of the guy on the side and back. Do all toilets get raptured first? How about TP? If I’m an atheist, and running low, is it still worth a trip to Costco for more?

  13. mike from iowa says:

    I thought Dr Who’s Tardis was red. Goes to show. Lastest poll shows all time high-53% of pollees said same-sex marriage should be legal and have the same benefits as hetero-marriage. And the state of Kentucky is giving 43 million tax payer dollars to help fund a creation-themed biblical amusement park. Not to insult any true-believers,but,these certified whackos are getting to be more amusing all the time. LKB-didn’t you make a reference to a Tardis about a week ago? I’ll have to go back and re-read stuff.

    • bubbles says:

      the Doctor lives in a police call box not a phone booth. the Tardis also has a swimming pool and a library.

      • mike from iowa says:

        While we’re on the subject of the Doctor-why are the BBC versions so much different that the PBS versions I used to watch on Sunday or Saturday nights. Different Doctors and everything else looks strange on the BBC.

    • Yes, I guess I’m Tardis obsessed. Or it could be that BBC started running old Dr. Who episodes at lunch time so I’ve been watching 🙂

  14. OK, so no one gets my Dr. Who references:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/dw

    I know, I’m such a geek…

    • Cassie Jeep says:

      Me too!
      I’m hoping the rapture doesn’t happen until Dr. Who is over this Saturday!

    • jimzmum says:

      I got it! I was busy today cursing various chores that NEEDED TO BE DONE. I tried to ignore some of them, but was given a guilt trip by dirty windows trying to glare at me. Windows can be awfully pushy.

      I love Dr. Who. One of the few DVD series we own. After all, “the Cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about.” I hope I remember that correctly.

  15. Actually, the type of “blue” they are talking about is not “Bible Purple.” Everyone knows it’s really “Tardis Blue.”

    Sheesh, if ya want to know what’s going to happen…just ask a Time Lord!

  16. mike from iowa says:

    I’m not sure,but,I guess god likes deadbeats. America got the green light to skip paying the bills. Someone needs to counsel my rabbits about “The Rapture” and just plain rapture. They seem to be really confused or passionate.

  17. Millie says:

    I have always thought Jerry Prevo to be a fraud and I detest the fact there are those within his group (to include himself) not paying real estate taxes to the M of A, but are receiving all the benefits and services provided by the municipality.

    No wonder so many are falling away from ‘supposed’ christians throughout the United States. They pound their beliefs into others (and try to do so within our governments on the national, state and local levels) and don’t act or display christian ways when you meet or talk w/them. They interpret the bible in their many ways. The book that was written by many men – not God! I was raised in faith, but haven’t been ‘of faith’ for years. I see the varied faiths as all being manmade and maintained by men (generation after generation) and as money machine, being only beneficial to those chosen within their groups. Plus, they are based on fear and going to hell!

    I don’t need someone like Jerry Prevo telling me how to think, act or VOTE. Plus, he horribly mixes religion and government like no other church in Alaska. (Remember the gay issue in Anchorage and the weeks of hearings?)

  18. GoI3ig says:

    This has long been one of my pet peeves. Prevo lives in a house six times the size of mine, yet pays no property tax on it. What a scam. Nothing quite beats being in business for the lord.

    • fishingmamma says:

      Those tax exemptions date from early America, when a community built a church and a manse for the preacher to live in and provided for the preacher with food and a small stipend. It did not make sense for the church to pay taxes to the community, because that meant people would have to give more money to the church.

      The practice has outlived it’s usefulness.

  19. beth says:

    I remember a time when a pastor introduced a biblical passage and preached on how we could (should) make that passage relevant in our own lives — how our understanding and incorporating the lesson into our lives would, hopefully, make us better people…make us more caring, kind, compassionate; more like the person/entity and central tenets around which the religion revolved.

    I remember a time when the pastor knew each parishoner by name (and occupation, family, hobbies, strengths, etc.) — and ministered to each as circumstances required. A time when parishoners also knew each other — if not by precise detail, at least by sight.

    I remember a time when a pastor (and their family) lived ‘comfortably’ but never extravagantly — when they had to be judicious in their expenditures, but always had enough…when their income and percs put them on a par -financially- with the lower-median (possibly a bit less) of their parishoners’ ‘worth.’ They weren’t flashy and grabby — their focus was on the spiritual well-being and growth of their parisoners, not on their personal bank accounts.

    I miss those times. beth.

    • Buffalogal says:

      I recently joined the congregation of our neighborhood church, looking for the very things you mention, Beth. It’s the church where I was christened when I was a few months old. Nearly 50 years later I end up taking an apartment right around the corner. Every morning during my walk I pass the church and see folks going in to mass – many of them have been members for decades. Some of them 80+ years old and had been on my paper route when I was a kid and they were raising their families.

      I went in and spoke with the priest and the “church ladies” about becoming part of the congregation of less than 200 neighbors. They asked about my kids, my family, ( and yep – even my occupation and my hobbies ) and then at one point one of the sweet church ladies said, ” but most importantly, we want to know that you’re basically happy. That’s the big thing! ”

      A small church that is about neighbors and community and is all about taking care of each other. No politics, no fear mongering, no stadium seating for thousands of people that don’t know each other, no constant hoohah about “sowing your financial seed so that God can make you prosper” . I’ll take a good ol’ Potato Pancake fundraiser over all of that glitz and pomp, any day.

    • leenie17 says:

      Many years ago my sister used to attend a very small church that consisted mostly of Catholics who were disgusted with the local parish and looking for a place where they could celebrate their faith, not be shaken down for donations.

      The church only had one priest who also happened to be the chaplain of the local professional hockey team (and often wore a button supporting the team during Mass!). My sister heard of many instances where the priest would show up at the door of a family experiencing difficulties with an envelope containing some cash or whatever it was that they needed.

      In one case, it was a young couple whose baby needed some lifesaving surgery that had to be done out of state. The couple only had enough money for one parent to go with her. Once again, the priest showed up with an envelope with enough money for another plane ticket. He told them that he felt it was critical for BOTH parents to be with their child, and with each other, at such a scary time.

      None of his activities were made public and the only way my sister knew any of it was because she knew people who were personally involved in the events.

      He ran a very popular teen group and drove the kids around in an old clunker. The parishioners got together and conspired with the priest’s sister to buy him a new car. They knew if they just gave him the money, he’d spend it on a dozen different families in need and never buy the car!

      THAT’S my idea of a real church doing what a church is supposed to do!

      • Buffalogal says:

        Agreed ! Human folks committed to daily acts of humanity and kindness. From the bitty to the grandiose!

        Let the love flow !

    • That’s the kind of church that we attend and for those very reasons. And it’s exactly the reason you’ll never find me in a church like Prevo’s or any of the mega-churches around the area. They have pastors with suspect credentials for the most part or creds that prove they are good at running a business instead of a church. And when they boast of having congregations in the thousands, there is no way they can possibly be aware of all the needs of the people who are members, let alone those who attend on a more casual basis.

      Prevo and his ilk, as aussiegal said, are giving my religion a bad name and I don’t like it either.

      It’s now May 21 and I’m still here and haven’t noticed anything unusual happening. Of course, it’s only 2:53 in the morning, so there is still time. But I’m not holding my breath all day.

      I heard somewhere that some of the people who believed today would be their last were selling off all their worldly goods. I don’t quite see the point in that. If you’re gone, what difference would that make. But they were doing it anyway. How sad when they wake up tomorrow and have nothing left.

  20. scout says:

    Dear Anchorage Baptist Temple and ChangePoint humans:
    “No More Lies” by Fred Rotondaro, Chairman of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

    http://catholicsinalliance.org/thecommongoodforum.php

    It’s about time, and also, too, Amen.

  21. Juneaudream says:

    Ya know..I’m thinkin; there’s a lot of money to be made..Not in the ..Post Looting partys..but..in setting up Lucy Booth type tables in every community and for all who expected to be ..’Rapured’..and were not..sell them the ..last-chance-second-balconey..cheap seats..but they ‘might’ still make it up to the rapture..in time (with such a mass of folks flying up there..ya wouldn’t really notice the late-comers..now would ya?) and for only 50 bucks cash..hand them a photo of a glorious sunset..from the box of photocopied sheets..atcher elbow. (I’d pint at least 500..and number them!..and borrow a dark choir gown from the local high school music dept……

  22. aussiegal77 says:

    Ugh. “If the world likes your church there’s something wrong with your church?” What utter idiocy. If unbelievers are not attracted to the expression of God we are giving out – HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO BE SAVED?????? If they are running away in DROVES from my church then MAYBE we should re-think the whole Bring the Gospel to Those In Need strategy that we have??!

    OMG I am SO tired of idiots masquerading as Christians.

    By the way – I’ll be back later on Saturday night to tell you all whether I was raptured or not. I might be! =D Oh wait…..if I am then….uh…..ok, here’s the plan….if you hear from me, I’m still here!

    So….uh….I guess in case you DON’T hear from me…..love you all and hope to see everyone on the flip side!

    (seriously….ugh….Harold Camping has made a mockery of my faith. I really resent him right now)

    • ks sunflower says:

      I guess I’d best say my goodbyes and best wishes to you now because I am pretty sure I won’t make the cut, non-affiliated person that I am.

      I am hopeful you will be back (for reasons of a non-event rather than your piety – for you certainly have been a voice of sanity and compassion on these cyber pages). I agree with you that it is a shame that someone such as Camping or even Prevo have misrepresented your faith. At its heart, it is a beautiful, uplifting faith that has transformed people’s lives for the better. However, with hucksters like these pastors, many would not know that.

      I read that Camping has more than 70 million dollars in reserve – imagine how much good he could have done with those kinds of resources. Sigh.

      Thank you, aussiegal77 for being a testament that evangelicals don’t have to be hateful, thoughtless twits. You certainly are not, and your example should go far to heal the image once these folks have faded from prominence.

      • leenie17 says:

        Aussiegal is an example of someone who actually LIVES their faith instead of talking about it and doing the exact opposite. Seems these days there are fewer and fewer like her.

        And that’s why we’re so darn lucky that she’s a mudpup! 🙂

    • bubbles says:

      ♥AussiGal♥
      we will see you darling.

  23. merrycricket says:

    I’m guessing he won’t be at the post rapture looting party. More for me and Bubbles! Good thing too, he’d look like an idiot in one of those hats. Looking forward to living in peace and harmony with my fellow Mudflatters.

  24. Alaska Pi says:

    Oh goody-
    ” If the world likes your church, there’s something wrong with your church…
    You know how I know God likes our church? They don’t like us.”

    Loving me some paranoia served up as beneficial and stabilizing influence(s) in community life.
    Just what we need more of. You betcha.

    Thank you John.
    Good essay even if it ruined my first cup of coffee this morning. 🙂

    ( Is there a way to fix the link regarding koolaid?
    Having had a small connection to people who were profoundly affected by the Jonestown tragedy I always recoil when that term gets used as it does now. )

  25. ks sunflower says:

    Does anyone know Prevo’s educational credentials – specifically as regards his training on religious studies?

    • ks sunflower says:

      Well, duh, I should have answered my own question as regards his religious training because a quick visit to the church’s website answered that:

      “Dr. Prevo is a graduate of Baptist Bible College, Springfield, Missouri, and has done additional work at Belmont College, Tennessee Temple University, and the University of Tennessee. He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1978 by Hyles Anderson College and in 1993 was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.”

      What interests me more though is whether he has any non-dogmatic training? Is his only post-secondary training that done within the narrow confines of his faith? Every college or university listed in church-based. Not that there is anything inherently wrong in that, it merely speaks to his narrow worldview. He has apparently not sought out or been exposed to anything outside the confines of his right-wing Baptist dogma.

      • PollyinAK says:

        I interviewed Prevo about 15 years ago for a publication. Without going back to the actual article right now, the main impression that Prevo gave me wasn’t a spiritual or religious one, but a business one. He was very proud of his accomplishment in building a lucrative church.

        • ks sunflower says:

          I am not surprised. We have had a mega-church scandal back here. The pastor was, shall we say, rather less than a good shepherd of his flock. In short, he fleeced them well and truly and made away with the wool right before their eyes.

          He made sure that he and each of his children lived in very expensive homes, were very well-dressed and were able to live a rather good material life. Even then, after the misappropriation of funds was made public, there were some in the congregation that turned on the whistle blowers amongst them rather than the pastor. What a nice racket, eh?

          To have the very people you steal from defend you deeply appalled me. They seemed more interested in the big building, the amenities the church provided (a gym, meeting places, etc.). I don’t remember the man ever giving a public apology – either to his flock or to the religious community at large. It certainly damaged the faithful beyond the confines of his own church. He ran his church as a private business, taking a large portion of the profits himself.

  26. ks sunflower says:

    I want to thank John Arrono for his post. John, I admire your stamina and ability to overcome the instinctive gag instinct that Prevo’s preaching provokes. Thank you for providing us insight into the disturbing mind of this religious zealot. It is territory most of us would not willing venture into, and yet it is important that we understand this warped and dangerous distortion of a faith that many see as gentle, compassionate, and tolerant. That Prevo has such a large congregation is terrifying.

  27. ks sunflower says:

    What a badly-reasoned, misogynist-tainted harangue. The head of the Anchorage Baptist Temple brings shame to his faith, to his city and to his state. That he and his congregation have any power at all is a sad testament to the reputation of Alaska. First, Palin and now Prevo – both power brokers of hate, fear and resentment.

    Jerry Prevo lost my attention and respect early-on. How can people listen to such tripe, such fear-mongering tripe much less believe it?

    According to the U.S. Census Population Clock (http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html) at the time I write this, the US population is indeed over 300 million — 311,388,636 in fact, and changing (people dying, people being born, citizens being naturalized, et cetera).

    However, no one in his or her rational mind would ever expect every single person deemed a citizen to be paying taxes. Does Prevo really expect infants, toddlers, adolescents without jobs, the totally disabled or seriously ill unable to have jobs, the elderly to be paying taxes. Seems to me, he grabs a “fact” and runs with it without any intellectual engagement of said “fact.” He obviously thinks no one in his congregation has the ability to think themselves out of a paper bag. Should we put one on his head and see if he knows how to take it off?

    His inability to honestly and objectively evaluate an issue surely undermines his right to lead people. It doesn’t take much mental energy to see that this man cannot (or will not) engage in even basic logic or analysis.

    That he uses “she,” and “her” every single time he refers to a corrupting factor, be it the City of Babylon, or something else hints of his distaste for the feminine. Grammatical traditions aside (that customarily refer to inanimate objects as female – boats, cars, cities, e.g.), I have long suspected that the evangelical fear of and angry towards homosexuality has more to due with the perceived feminine characteristics of gay men than anything else. Considering the current cultural and political “war on women,” it seems hand-in-glove with an anti-homosexual attitude as well. The Divine Female paradigm is not a viewpoint accepted by evangelicals because it seems to threaten their divine masculinity and their right to exercise dominion over the feminine. He needs to get over it and accept that neither gender is more divine or deserving than another. His God made all humans – male, female and all shades of gender identification, and we should celebrate one another, not try to destroy and denigrate one another.

    That he embraces the concept of Christian persecution is telling – and completely unsupported by the prominence and power of Christianity in this country. Point in fact, I would argue that it is the far-right Christians such as Rev. Prevo who are doing the prosecuting – of women, of the LGBT community, and anyone who does not subscribe to their narrow worldview.

    That Prevo refers to himself as being from Tennessee made me laugh. Considering the laws issuing forth from that state’s legislature, it comes as no surprise to learn that Prevo hails from or identifies with that state. It has become a bastion of backward, fearful, restrictive legislation – much like the state where I live (Kansas).

    I subscribed to the hopeful view that Shannyn Moore promoted recently – that a young state such as Alaska started out with a youthful, progressive, hopeful and positive viewpoint. Sad to think that such a positive worldview has been replaced by a narrow, hate-filled view such as Prevo’s. That Prevo and his “Temple” have come to represent cities such as Anchorage in particular and Alaska in general in recent years is sad. That he and his congregation have affected the laws of Alaska is tragic.

    I hope that we eventually enforce and further tighten the tax laws in this country so that politically active congregations pay their fair share. They are, after all, affecting the laws in general – transforming a nation that once stood for individual freedom into a nation where a small, powerful faction dictates what the rest of us can and cannot do. Such power comes with a responsibility – a responsibility to pay for the burdens it is inflicting upon the nation. Otherwise, our country is in danger of succumbing to religious tyranny – one of the essential things our founders sought to avoid.

  28. benlomond2 says:

    OY! I have SUCH a headache after reading that ! Where’s the asprin ?

  29. Bible purple? Couldn’t figure out what that was all about. I’m so glad you transcribed his speech (it’s not a sermon or it would really have something to do with learning some insights from the Bible, imo). I don’t think I could have listened to him. What a lot of tosh.

    And with all that lurking about in my mind, I think I’ll go back to sleep, if I can.

    I do wonder how this particular church still has tax exempt status. Have there been any challenges to that, and what does it take to get that changed?

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