Sunday, January 16, 2005

El Shaddai on a Vette?

I was walking through a parking lot today when I saw the I heart El Sahaddai bumper sticker on a new Corvette Roadster. My first thoughts were typical for me. I wondered, what kind of idiot would put a tacky bumper sticker on a $60K car? One never really knows, and in California, one REALLY never knows. It is common to see this kind of thing on a Bentley, so why not one on a Vette.

El Shaddai is a Filipino charismatic Catholic sect. El Shaddai translates as El (God) Shaddai (Almighty) according to the Gospel Trail. Therefore, the bumper sticker means, “I love God Almighty”, which seems innocuous, right? However, I always have to ask, is that what it really means? In this case the answer to this question brings us into the realm of the Nutballs, well maybe anyway….

Brother Mike Velarde is the leader of El Shaddai. Apparently, some services can last 24 hours and start at Noon on Saturday. They often attract over one hundred thousand participants at a service. The sect is said to have over a million followers. It has been reinvesting its donations and has built a media center in Manila to help get the word out. Just what is "The Word"?

Brother Mike is a faith healer of sorts and also professes to being a Dedicated Roman Catholic. His mission is to lead the “unchurched” back to the true Catholic Church, (through him of course). Brother Mike is not a priest, nor does he hold any position in the Catholic Church, nor is he affiliated in any way with the Catholic Church. Bother Mike also emphasizes many of the cultural aspect of Islam in his ministries. It is quite common to see woman wearing official El Shaddai headscarfs, and to segregated duties base on sex. I’m going to have to check my sources on this one, but for now let's just say Bother Mike sets off my “Jim Jones” sensor.

The bottom line, most mainstream Christian groups thing El Shaddai is a cult. tt's leader a snakeoil salesman, and it's real purpose is building wealth. It’s core theological teachings are significantly different from those of the Catholic Church, different enough to get a good Catholic in serious trouble back at the local parish, And most telling, Brother Mike has used his sect to become a millionaire and political player in the Philippines....

Sign me up, oh yes, sign me up! I like Kool Aid just as much as the next guy.

If the bumper sticker had been on a Saturn, I would not have even noticed.


passthebread said...

Thoough I think to have a Christian bumper sticker on a frivolous luxury item is a terrible witness, El Shaddai is a very common name of God used by christians every where. Amy Grant had a big hit by that title in the 70's. So if you said, "...which brings me to bad Chrsitian music...". It would have made more sense. Just a little Christian cultural update from..

Mojoey said...

Brad – I have known about the name “El Shaddai” for years. I have even heard that pathetic and annoying Amy Grant tune you referred to in you post. El Shaddai is part of the fabric of American Christianity, not a deeply rooted part, but a part nonetheless. As with all things, there is more to the story. You must ask, “How did Joe link the bumper sticker to El Shaddai and the Philippines?” I thought the answer obvious; it is the LUCAP license plate!

LUCAP is Tagalog for a region of the Philippines called the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan (near where my wife’s family is from). Bingo! We have a winner. I knew I had a Filipino issue on my hands. Five minutes on the internet and I had my link to a nutball Christian sect (you can even bug the bumper sticker). I also suspected, because of two small American flags, that the driver was a naturalized immigrant, and possibly a Naval retiree. I ruled out the driver being a native born American because of the bumper sticker. On a car like this, it would have been a tasteful (and removable) Christian Fish symbol or a trite message on the license plate frame.

I think I win this one bro.