01 April 2008

Holy Frottage, Batman!


Here’s a highly questionable news article:

Sydney – APAA

A church in Sydney is wowing them in the aisles for what appears to be a new take on the gospel message.

Crossfire, a Pentecostal church and Sydney’s fourth largest Christian congregation has seen its regular Sunday attendances triple after the occurrence of a new style of worship. Parishioners are even talking about needing to move to a larger venue.

‘Our current church only seats 2,000. It’s awesome that our church is blessed in such a way that so many more people are able to witness the power of Jesus for themselves,’ said regular attendee, Evangeline Ng.

For the past month or so, it has been literally standing room only at Crossfire’s converted warehouse, situated in the outer south-western suburb of Ingleburn’s industrial estate. Not that this appears to present any difficulty to the church’s flock.

‘It was a miracle. About two months ago, people just stood up and started embracing each other in peace and worship,’ said Pastor Michael Hunt-Hearst, the director of the church. ‘The grace of the Holy Spirit has been with us ever since and we can personally bear witness to the love and unity that our Lord inspires.’

Indeed, love is the word. To the uninitiated, your typical Sunday service at Crossfire appears to erupt in what can only be described as a display of passion as members of the congregation throw their arms around each other and grind against the person or persons nearest to them. It was described by one witness as, ‘a frenzy of uninhibited testament to the Power of God.'

Curious onlookers have been almost turned away, due to the sheer numbers of people who have converged on Crossfire since the word of mouth started spreading. One newcomer said, ‘It’s just too unbelievable for words. The Star [local newspaper servicing the Campbelltown area] ran an article about this last week, and I had to see it for myself.’ The newcomer, who declined to give his name, went on to say that, ‘I’m not particularly religious, but I’m rethinking this as we speak. This is fantastic.’

Our non-religious onlooker proceeded to wander off into the gathered throng and rub himself up against several female parishioners in a way that more closely resembled the dance crazes of ‘freaking’ or ‘lambada’ than actual praise. The ladies in the congregation appeared more than happy to reciprocate, speaking in tongues as they did so.

Of course, the criticism from the more traditional churches in the area has started to trickle out. The minister of the nearby St Andrews’ Uniting Church, the Reverend David Fotheringay said, ‘Naturally, we all worship the Lord in different ways. I’m not sure what the Lord would make of what almost resembles outercourse, though. It’s a bit out there for some.’ St Andrews has seen its regular Sunday attendance dwindle to only a handful over the past few years.

Of the question that Crossfire’s growing popularity represents a threat to his - and others’ - congregation, Rev Fotheringay said, ‘There will always be worshippers who prefer more traditional church services.’

Father Patrick O’Riley of St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Campbelltown is more forthright about Crossfire’s more intimate worshipping style: ‘About a year ago, at the invitation of Pastor Mike, I attended one of their masses (sic). The Pastor did a sermon from Revelation about false prophets, as I recall. The Bible doesn't say anything about frottage, divinely inspired or otherwise.'

Pastor Hunt-Hearst appeared sprightly in the face of such criticism. ‘We have no problem with celebrating the Almighty Power that is God in this way. Indeed, Isaiah prophesised that people would embrace each other in worship. In One Corinthians, Paul talks about having the whole church coming together in unity, and of growing larger through the gifts of the Spirit.’

Gillian Lambert of Campbelltown Area Rape Victims Support Unit is not convinced. ‘We are a little worried that Crossfire’s services could, in time, attract the wrong kind of worshipper and believe that eventually, someone may get stalked or even attacked,’ said Ms Lambert in an email.

The Pastor believes that the ‘miracle,’ as he describes it, is here to stay.

‘We believe that the Spirit will bless other churches around the world in this way, but that there will be many witnesses who will visit Crossfire from around the world to see where it all began, just like in Toronto,’ suggested Pastor Hunt-Hearst, referring to the Toronto blessing, first seen at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.

In readiness, Crossfire’s shop is already selling t-shirts with, ‘Feel the Spirit at Crossfire.’

And as for whether Pastor Hunt-Hearst foresees parishioners eventually having actual sex in the pews? The Pastor laughs for a bit nervously before responding, ‘That’s a bit silly, don’t you think?’

Not as silly as what he thinks.

21 comments:

taj said...

I have only one TLA for this.

WTF????

DRY-HUMPING FOR CHRIST?? Who spiked the communion wine?

taj said...

(mind you, I don't believe a word of it, and am quite certain you made it up. But it's still good value so full marks)

Greg said...

If experience is any guide, this will turn into a "sex on premises" church and become a full-blown cult.

It will start out with someone in a leadership position taking a few of the more attractive and enthusiastic lovelies into a back room for some special worship sessions. Three ways, four ways, then BAM! - regular orgies.

At this point, approximately half will leave, half will get it on and the congregation will double each week.

The inflection point will come with new revelations: this could be a major doctrinal departure from traditional Christian churches, a nominated date for the end of the world or a whole new Holy Book.

Next thing you know, they'll all be living (and swinging) on a farm, compound or cave. Money and resulting children are pooled collectively. The outside world is shunned. Weapons and supplies are stockpiled. Taxes are ignored. A New Order declared. This is followed by a reluctant showdown with the authorities.

It's always been the way.

Dikkii said...

Well, it's after midday, so I suppose I should come clean, this being the custom and all.

Happy April Fool's Day, everyone.

Yes, Taj, I did make it up, but I appreciate the full marks that you awarded me.

That's quite an interesting cycle you've diagnosed there, Greg. It reminds me of the "product life cycle" that we had to do at uni when I did marketing. Still, I suppose that religion, even freaky evangelical ones are largely a product with a similar cycle.

I await the fallout from Mercy Ministries with regards to Hillsong with baited breath.

Dikkii said...

Incidentally, Taj, I don't think that evangelicals/charismatics/pentecostals do the communion thing. It would be far too traditional, and fundies appear to have an aversion to this.

Plonka said...

Crossfire’s services could, in time, attract the wrong kind of worshipper

Looks like it may already have done so...

Dikkii said...

Yes indeed it does, Plonka.

Simon G said...

dickii you are a legend.

I was going to go up there on the next plane but...

Dikkii said...

Thanks Mr G, and welcome to Dikkii's Diatribe. Nice to have another old crony visiting the blog. And I'm glad I nearly fooled someone - Taj spilt the beans on this awfully early on.

taj said...

Sorry Dikkii, I didn't even realize it was April 1, which gives you an idea of the state of mind that I'm in these days.

Re: communion - yeah I have trouble keeping my denominations in order.

Ordinary Girl said...

I was about half way through before I said to myself, "Oh that Dikkii, this has to be an April Fool's Day joke."

Well-written. Very nice.

Plonka said...

Dikkii:

Well you got me. I guess nothing surprises me with religion any more.

I don't think that evangelicals/charismatics/pentecostals do the communion thing.

We did when I was happy clappy. No alcohol mind, just some grape juice and a piece of bread torn from a leavened bread roll, which really should have been wine and UN-leavened bread, if you want to keep the tradition properly.

Greg said...

It's not just alcohol in the grape juice that can be a problem for happy-clappers.

Let's not forget that most Holy of Communions at Jonestown in 1978, where the grape juice was loaded with something far more potent than mere ethanol.

Dikkii said...

...or grape flavoured Kool Aid, which is what Jones and co used. Incidentally, if you haven't already done so, put the Jonestown documentary in your Quickflix queue. It's excellent, if a bit harrowing.


Plonka, I didn't think I'd catch anyone out with this - I thought that Pastor Michael Hunt-Hearst's name would be a dead giveaway. Thanks for that bit about the grape juice and bread - that's similar to what some traditional protestant churches do.

OG, I'm not surprised that I didn't fool you. But I'm glad that you liked it. Thanks.

Dikkii said...

Plonka, one more thing:

Well you got me. I guess nothing surprises me with religion any more.

Me neither. I'm going to go out on a limb here and boldly state that during my lifetime, we will see dry humping appear in a happy clapper church somewhere, defended as a "gift of the Spirit" by its proponents.

What I'm not sure about is what they'll quote to justify it. Will it be:

* Isaiah (even money)
* 1 Corinthians (2-1 against)
* Acts (2-1 on)
* Jeremiah (5-1 against)
* Revelation (5-1 against)
* Some obscure verse from Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah or Haggai (20-1 against)

I'd really like to see them use something out of Song of Songs but can only, sadly, justfy odds of 100-1 against for this.

Plonka said...

They'd have to start with Genesis, surely...;)

Dikkii said...

They could, Plonka. Seriously, have you seen some of the tenuous verses that biblical prophecy nuts use to justify, well, pretty much anything?

morisetn said...

dikkii - how did i miss this yesterday? :) i was rather dumbfounded reading this and since it's now very late on april 2nd - it totally didn't trigger the typical cynicism that comes with most april 1st long tales.

way to stir the pot.

thanks for the laugh :)

Dikkii said...

Thanks for that, Morisetn. I'm glad you got a giggle out of it.

Curse that time difference - it does make things seem a little weird.

the chaplain said...

Excellent April Fool's post.

Dikkii said...

Thanks Chaplain, and welcome to Dikkii's Diatribe.