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.