Posts Tagged ‘exorcism’

I’m sure you’ve heard the saga of Governor Mark Sanford, whose adulterous Argentinian tryst briefly dominated headlines last week until displaced by the untimely death of OxiClean pitchman Billy Mays.

But now, with every TV network seemingly devoted to showing Hercules Hook ads and Vince Offer interviews, you might have missed the news that Sanford has begun comparing himself to the biblical King David:

“And what I find interesting is the story of David and the way in which he fell mightily, he fell in very, very significant ways but then picked up the pieces and then built from there.”

And it’s true there are some obvious similarities between the two:

However, there are a number of parts of the David story that Sanford has yet to fulfill. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in eagerly looking forward to the following:

Unless Bobby Jindal can pull another exorcism out of his hat, I think I know who I’m pulling for in 2012.


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Economic times are tough. Maybe you’re working for a bloated auto company that makes expensive cars no one wants to buy. Maybe you’re a schoolteacher without enough seniority to avoid the latest round of budget cuts. Maybe you work for a Canadian company losing business from “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus bill. Or maybe your job just sucks.

Well, according to the New York Times, you probably shouldn’t consider joining the clergy:

The anecdotal evidence collected by the Association of Theological Schools, which covers 250 graduate institutions in the United States and Canada, has found job listings for ministerial positions down by about one-third at major seminaries serving both evangelical and mainstream Protestant denominations. The Jewish newspaper The Forward reported last month that Jewish seminaries accustomed to placing nearly all their newly minted rabbis were finding jobs this year for only about half.

Also the pay isn’t that good (unless you run a “prosperity gospel” scam), and you have to wear a funny costume.

But if you’re really intent on being a religious leader, there is one option:

Only the Roman Catholic Church, with a well-known shortage of priests, has more openings than applicants. And that, in turn, has led to a round of mordant jokes among seminarians about converting to get a job.

Of course, they don’t bother to tell us any of these jokes, forcing us to speculate. I’m guessing they’re along the lines of

  • Sure, the Catholic Church may be The Great Whore of Babylon, but they do offer a steady paycheck!
  • I don’t agree with their boy-touching policies, but I do agree with their clergy-paying policies!
  • I bet if you pretend you work in a toll booth the days just fly by!
  • The celibacy sucks, but the exorcisms more than make up for it!
  • Taking marching orders from a crazy ex-Hitler-Youth might be cool, just like in Apt Pupil!
  • Maybe I’ll get a free trip to Rome out of the deal. I hear the pizza there is amazing!
  • Come on guys, it’s not like any one of these crazy religions is any less false than all the others!

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I bet you thought demonic possession was something that only happened on “Days of Our Lives.” You probably thought that the people who historically were accused of being “possessed by demons” were merely misunderstood acid-trippers, off-their-meds schizophrenics, four-year-olds playing with imaginary friends, mimes, breakdancers, performance artists, heavy-metal musicians, manic-depressives, politicians, and Czech “slam” poets.

Well, once you meet a modern exorcist, you’ll think again (although probably not for very long). It turns out that these days people are actually seeking exorcisms for themselves. And often they end up with Gary Thomas, who took one of those Vatican-approved courses on demonic possession that you sometimes see advertised on television if you happen to be up at 3am, and who now helps the “possessed”:

“When we started, he told me, ‘Wait! Can’t you just take this thing right out of me?’ But that’s rarely how things work,” said Thomas, the official exorcist in the Diocese of San Jose in Northern California.

“It’s hard to get people to understand that no two exorcisms are the same. Reality isn’t like the movies.”

Well, based on the movies (mostly The Exorcist, but also UHF and Girls Just Want to Have Fun and No Retreat, No Surrender), I always thought that the possessed were freakishly strong, with unreasonable knowledge of the exorcist’s peccadilloes, the ability to speak Latin, and an aversion to religious items like holy water, crosses, Bibles, “MY BOSS IS A JEWISH CARPENTER” bumper stickers, glass-jar candles with pictures of Mary and Spanish-language prayers printed on the side, “Footprints” posters, WWJD bracelets, Amy Grant albums, Thomas Kincade lithographs, punching-nun puppets, and Jesus bobbleheads.

The reality, however, is totally different:

The classic signs of possession have been established for ages. The possessed may exhibit superhuman strength, describe private events in the life of an exorcist or possess the ability to speak languages — such as Latin — they have never studied. They often suffer bizarre physical reactions to contact with holy water, crosses or icons.

Well, maybe it’s sort of different? OK, it’s exactly the same. So it’s best to keep the Heart in Motion CD lying around, you know, just in case Father Thomas can’t get to you in time.

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