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The Manly Men of God 

No women allowed into the Promise Keepers, but that didn't stop Infiltrator from getting on the Prayer Team

Wednesday, Nov 16 2005

Page 4 of 5

With building passion, he ignites, "In these three years, I've had more mainstream media, major recording deals, a large agency sign me ...."

Jesus, it's implied, is a much better agent than William Morris.

"God said, 'The reason I want you to put your dream out of the way is because it's too small!'"

"Wooo! Wooo!" shouts the crowd of men.

"USA! USA!" I shout, erupting into a rapid high-five-ing machine. "USA!"

Sure, he just got 10,000 men to applaud, but boy, this Christian comedian sucks. It's all hackneyed jokes, bitterness, and boasting mixed with a serious part about religion in the end.

As two paramedic women, totally uninterested, loudly converse, a man in an "Iron Sharpens Iron" T-shirt barks, "Can you ask them to be quiet," almost venting his distaste for the gentler sex.

Love of God and Country

The large men in the stands continue to wolf down greasy concession stand food as two motorcycle gang members, scarred, covered with tattoos, wearing "Messengers Jesus Reigns" jackets, make their way through the crowd.

"Has anyone needed the Prayer Booth yet?" I ask the Prayer Team Leader.

"It's been kind of slow," he replies, then squeezes my shoulder.

Then comes a weird meld of religion and patriotism with a segment called "The Epic Battle for a Man's Soul."

"I'm not over the hill, I am the hill," says a roly-poly man resembling comedian Louie Anderson in a video clip, pointing to his stomach. He's a Vietnam vet who's had half his face blown off in combat. It doesn't get more manly than a Nam vet who's fallen on a grenade.

A request is made for all the other Vietnam vets to stand up along with those who served in Iraq, harvesting a huge, loud standing ovation. I didn't realize that Jesus was pro-war.

"Jesus and USA! Jesus and USA!" I chant.

The vet's shtick starts out funny, then segues into graphically describing what it's like to fall on an enemy grenade. And then: "I might make some statements some of you might not like," he says in regard to the 9/11 attacks and the Muslim religion. He then explains that he has the right to make these upcoming statements because he had half his face blown off in Vietnam. I assume the statements are going to be slightly racist. Ten thousand men grow silent.

"They don't have the same God as us. Their God says, 'Give me your son.' Our God says, 'Here is my son!'" he shouts.

A thunder of all-American screams and hollers echoes throughout, in a let's-kick-their-ass fashion. Rightfully so. I say screw those towel-headed bastards, because their actions are obviously due to a blatant lack of Christ (and not because of U.S. imperialistic foreign policies). Sure, good Christian George W. Bush said God told him to invade Iraq, then lied about the reason we went to war, but it's OK as long as it's for the betterment of spreading democracy and Christianity. Hell, it worked during the Spanish Inquisition.

"We're not looking for soldiers, we're not looking for Marines," the war vet says in regard to our current situation in Iraq. "We're looking for Jesus Christ!"

I chant: "Jesus and USA! Jesus and USA!"

"Are you ready for Jesus? Let's get it on," the war vet screams in a WWE are-you-ready-to-rumble fashion. Like Gen. Patton leading the Third Army into the Battle of the Bulge. "Father, I've come home!" he hollers.

Inspirational music builds. Men, and then groups of men, come down the hockey arena aisles, arms around each other. It's the altar call.

"There's an ex-wife beater here tonight, an ex-drug addict, an ex-homosexual. Come on down!" More men, hesitant at first, trek down the stairs and parade toward the front. They form a line and make their way to the altar in the place normally used for the Sharks' home goal and the stage where Depeche Mode will be performing next week.

"As a man, I'm expecting you to do what's right before God," the war vet declares.

"If you're a man, start walking right now!" I almost expect him to call those who don't a big pussy. "Some of you came with a friend tonight. Well, you can leave with a brother."

A man of great girth, wearing a "Live to Die, Die to Live" T-shirt, chews tobacco and intensely listens, spitting into a cup. As the numbers start to dwindle, the war vet then explains another long, graphic story about having third-degree burns and his nurse named Rosie who saved his life. He requests that everyone turn to the person next to him. "Look them in the eye and say, 'I'm your Rosie.'" The music once again builds. "The second wave of the miracle is going to happen!" he shouts.

Another sea of men starts parading toward the front. It appears more than 300 men are coming forth to direct their lives toward Christ. Each of the men receives a copy of a new joint publication by the International Bible Society and the Promise Keepers, All About Jesus (as well as a high-five).

After the Altar Call

The Prayer Team Leader was right. After the altar call we, the Prayer Team, are slammed. It is Denny's after-bar rush, except it's the prayer rush. Men, groups of men, make their way over to the Prayer Booth area. Some have that desperate look in their eye like they need that immediate Prayer Booth fix. One right after the other, men requesting the Prayer Team line up, and suddenly there's a long line leading out into the arena.

Looking at the newly formed line, I freak out and scream to the other Prayer Team members, "We're swamped!"

"Do you want to lead people on your own?" asks the Prayer Team Leader, nervously looking at the large line.

About The Author

Harmon Leon


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