Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cult of the Week: Fellowship of the Martyrs

This group caught my attention while watching "My America" with Lisa Ling. While I traditionally stray from Fundamentalist Christian cults, this one was too interesting to ignore...

This group seems to be inviting, loving, helpful to the poor, yet full of powerful, destructive contradictions. The core belief system is a complex mix of demonology, wife swapping, faith healing, and a direct commune with God while living in a spiritual oasis in Liberty Missouri.

The pastor, Doug Perry, a charismatic former businessman who forged his own ministry in 2004, posted lengthy sermons on YouTube, outlining in verbose detail what he deemed the gross shortcomings of the institutional church and describing his vision for a community ministry in which all the Christians work together to feed and clothe the needy. They come in the hope of spiritual awakening, personal sacrifice, and find joy in the give and take of it all. Then the disenchantment creeps in...

Perry, the son of an Excelsior Springs pastor, had grown disillusioned with the institutional church when he was a teenager. As a college student, he distanced himself after observing what he describes as seedy behind-the-scenes practices. And though he double-majored in religion and psychology at William Jewel College and earned a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he entered the business world. (so we have a son of a pastor, a double theological major and psychology major...what does that tell you? He knows how to manipulate, perhaps?)

By 2004, he was running his own furniture business, Built to Last Home, in Liberty. He said he was happily married with a child, living comfortably in a typical suburban neighborhood. It was then, he said, that he experienced a religious awakening.

During a prayer session in Blue Springs, Perry said, he was granted the power for 15 minutes to see the world from Jesus’ eyes.

The experience radically altered the course of his life. Within two years, he had closed his furniture business. God, he said, told him to stop paying for advertising and use the money to help the poor. He and his wife split up in August 2006, he said, and not long after, he rented out the first town home in Liberty’s Ashley Acres neighborhood.

Perry began his ministry with the idea that if individuals struggling with addiction or attempting to work through troubled pasts lived together with strong Christian mentors, and were therefore in position to receive a constant stream of support and ministering, it would help accelerate the healing process.

Because Perry considered his group a faith-based rehabilitation facility, he opened his doors to those he believed were most in need of assistance. Perry said he has housed drug dealers and addicts, at least one sex offender and “a guy that had gotten out of a super-max prison for killing a cop.” He has permitted parolees to use the place as a residence and has long grouped members together the way he says God instructs him to, which has sometimes meant pairing a recovering drug addict with someone still using.

The Martyrs believe God speaks directly to them. Members are taught to heed God’s voice, letting it guide them in everything they do. They also believe man’s transgressions can be traced back to the temptation of demons. “When you read in the news that somebody’s raped and killed 14 girls, who’s guilty?” asked Rusty McAlister, the group’s longest-standing resident. “Not the guy. It’s the demon.” I love's the devils fault.

There is extensive talk of demons and exorcism and the potential for violence. Perry has a rather unusual idea about marriage. It is said he believes that people are married or divorced when God, not a court, says they are. It’s an idea, he said, that’s “not out of the realm of what plenty of other groups around the country believe.” Wife swapping is not a common practice in conventional religious dogma.

Perry, whose website features a wedding ring wrapped in thorns, considers himself married to another Martyr, though they’re not legally wed.

“He was saying marriage is a covenant, but in actuality he was teaching people that marriage was kind of like being friends with somebody,” one member said. “That it happens, and then it falls apart. Then it happens again, and it falls apart.” Really?! That's what happens in high school, or a drunken romp at the club. Not a marriage.

The world wide pulpit is the Internet home to the hundreds of videos Perry has posted to YouTube, some of which involve Perry railing against the institutional church and urging viewers to pledge martyrdom. Perry tells his viewers that the perception of the Martyrs is that “we’re part of a group that seems to worship and be obsessed with death — and I think I might be hard-pressed to argue with that.” In another, regarding the institutional church, he says: “Something needs to be done. Something big, something dramatic, something that’s going to hurt real bad and something that’s probably going to cost a lot of people their lives.”

Perry denied that his ministry promotes violence. “The fact that I wouldn’t cry if God hit (the institutional church) with an asteroid does not mean that I’m going to take God’s job into my own hands and go blow things up.”

But in October, a former member of the Martyrs was arrested in Oklahoma and charged with plotting to bomb nearly 50 churches. Gregory Weiler II, who lived with the Martyrs for roughly six months in the year leading up to his arrest, is accused of threatening to use an explosive or incendiary device and violating the Oklahoma Anti terrorism Act after police discovered in Weiler’s motel room bomb-making materials along with a list and maps of churches in the area.

Perry shrugs off the accusations levied by critics and other former members. He acknowledges the pitfalls that come with the Martyrs’ living arrangement, such as occasional theft and violence, but said he has no plans to alter the manner in which he runs his ministry.

“You get bonus points in heaven for the drug dealers and junkies and murderers or child molesters or whatever,” Perry said. “So if we’re going to be serious about saving the lost, then I want the most lost." I didn't know that salvation was on a point system, I certainly missed that scripture.

“If we’re going to get the hard cases, then we’re going to have some that relapse, some that make you want to pull your hair out. … I am mocked and reviled by bankers and pastors and lawyers that I know, and I am loved by toothless, hungry, lonely, hurting people. And I think that’s exactly the way Jesus would want it.”

Asked whether he believes the environment could pose a legitimate threat to the well-being of the children living on-site, Perry shakes his head. "God, he said, "has it under control."

So...there are some fundamental issues that I have with this group common sense wise and biblical. First and foremost, people of faith stood in line last summer to purchase soggy chicken sandwiches to protest the marriage and happiness of people, not them. Yet, we have "spiritual marriage" that would basically render probably 99.9% of all marriages ever, null and void, and billions of children bastards, and also renders God's holy institution of marriage no longer holy.  You know the crux of the holy roller argument...According to this group, you can be legally married, but if God "speaks" to you and tells you that your spiritual spouse is your brother/ sisters/ or best friends spouse then you must obey the voice that may or may not be God's. What happened to the sanctity of marriage? Marriage being between one man and one woman? What about what the Bible says, for God has made marriage a wonderful thing before Him, right from the Garden of Eden, and so much so, that He even refers to the Church as the Bride of Christ, admonishing men to love their wives as Jesus loves the church. Can you spell hypocrisy?

This church has an unnatural fixation on demonology and exorcisms. They believe that demons are the cause of depression, panic attacks, phobias and fears, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation (cutting, etc.), anorexia, agoraphobia, guilt, self-condemnation, worry, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-hate, anger and others. They believe they can heal people from physical problems like lupus, fibromyalgia, heart problems, broken bones, chronic pain, food allergies, epilepsy and seizures, infertility, addiction to Methadone and other drugs, brain problems (confusion, Alzheimer's, dyslexia, etc.), and others - even autism in children. When the demons get exorcised they have to go somewhere and something have to replace the space the demons occupied. This theory is the "cup model". There are three things in our cups, sin (red stuff), self (yellow stuff) and Jesus (blue stuff) and we ask Father God to fill us with Jesus, i.e. blue stuff when the demons are exorcised, otherwise they will comeback with friends. 

Fellowship of the Martyrs believe that they speak directly to God and they ask him for guidance for such mundane decisions like, "what shirt should I wear today? or "When should I go to the bathroom?" So what happened to free will, wisdom and choice? I thought the purpose of God creating man to have free will was so that they wouldn't be a bunch of mindless drones whose love for him wouldn't be actual love for him but mindless obedience. I know that's in opposition to what every single church doctrine tells us...If we get to hear audibly the voice of God tell us every move to make, then why do we need the Bible again? Wouldn't the source, the horses mouth, be the best source of the information, instead of a designers imposters, or something "inspired". Might I add that the most devoted saints in the scriptures seldom heard the audible voice of the lord. Sometimes it's only a few times in a lifetime, not on a daily, hourly, momentary basis.

According to the leader, he "heard" Jesus and God the Father arguing in a vision. How is this possible? Aren't they one in the same and on one accord? How can one have an argument with oneself? Only Nicki Minaj along with other schizophrenics that are eating the grapes off the wallpaper can boast that particular honor.  

This group is one of the most anti-biblical groups that I have ever seen and whatever voice propels these people to join this group is not the voice of the Lord. Doug Perry does not have the moral center or authority to lead. This is one group that I can say is close to a modern day heresy as theology can come if it hasn't already been classified as one. In the old times, people like Perry would get hung, disemboweled, and have his head cut off for creating a dogma so outrageous. Sadly, that fate would be too good for him and would inadvertently grant a backwards yokel with a god complex the ultimate gift of martyrdom. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beyonce's HBO's Special Revealed Absolutely Nothing

All hail Queen Bey, she is perfect right? 

beyonce not perfect
All but her grammar skills, her songwriting ability and who knows what her real hair looks like...No tea, no shade...Sure she she has 17 Grammy's, has conned the world into believing that her performances are fresh and new, she sings live, writes all her songs, creates all the concepts of her shows, justifies shilling for hair dye while wearing a wig, promoting a "fashion line" that is fit for ladies of the night, a creole lover of popeye's chicken, a hijacker of Destiny's Child, and a commander of the 5th grade vernacular. She commands the devout and a dangerous brand of sycophancy that places her dangerously close to godlike status among her many worshipers.

Sunday, little Ms. Private decided to "let the world in" and show us her private life and see her vunerable side. This of course came after she decided to join Instagram, Facebook and other social media after about 10 years behind the curve. What exactly did we see? A sanitized view of Beyonce' in the most positive light possible that was as controlled as possible. Oprah has sang her praises and basically equated her to Mother Theresa reincarnated. This is the same person that pretended that she wasn't seeing Joe Camel for years long after the world knew they were in fact dating and bumping uglies. This is the person that turned the mic's down on Michelle and Kelly at the Superbowl, and forced them into singing one of her solo song about *snicker* Independence. What about the time she admitted to being a raging narcissist?

Anytime she wants to remind herself of all that work--or almost anything else that's ever happened in her life--all she has to do is walk down the hall. There, across from the narrow conference room in which you are interviewing her, is another long, narrow room that contains the official Beyoncé archive, a temperature-controlled digital-storage facility that contains virtually every existing photograph of her, starting with the very first frames taken of Destiny's Child, the '90s girl group she once fronted; every interview she's ever done; every video of every show she's ever performed; every diary entry she's ever recorded while looking into the unblinking eye of her laptop. ... Beyoncé's inner sanctum also contains thousands of hours of private footage, compiled by a "visual director" Beyoncé employs who has shot practically her every waking moment, up to sixteen hours a day, since 2005. ... This digital database, modeled loosely on NBC's library, is a work in progress--the labeling, date-stamping, and cross-referencing has been under way for two years, and it'll be several months before that process is complete. Yeah, that sounds perfectly normal to me...

Of course she admitted that she is nuts..."I now know that, yes, I am powerful," she says. "I'm more powerful than my mind can even digest and understand."A legend in our own mind, Beyowulf with intense delusions of granduer.

And now this is what the Internet had to say about it...
How about the countless plaigerism lawsuits? Every album she get's slammed for stealing choreopgraphy, video and show concepts, and entire songs from lesser known artists without so much as giving them a credit or a mention in the liner notes. 

She also covered her alleged pregnancy in the documentary with footage of the baby folding in on itself. Beyonce' had an explanation for that. "It was a fabric that folded - does fabric not fold? Oh my gosh, so stupid." If we were to believe the pregnancy story then we would be stupid.

It's hard to say exactly how long because particulars like where and when are barely telegraphed – there's not a single explanatory chyron in the entire film. Cynically, I wonder if this is a sign of co-director Beyoncé's egocentrism; she assumes that we've been following her closely enough to know what she's talking about without bothering to explain certain key facts. Or maybe she thinks we can read her mind. Or maybe she's just not that great of a memoirist.

The problem with Life Is But a Dream's treatment of her pregnancy isn't that it protests too much – it protests too weirdly. We never see a full, clear shot of Beyoncé's pregnant, swanlike body. Instead it's presented in pieces, owing to the limitations of her Mac webcam. When her body is shown in full, it's in grainy, black and white footage in which her face is shadowed.

Why, though? If you're going to present an image of your pregnant self to prove the naysayers wrong, why do it in such an obscure way? Why bother? The footage seems to exist to be described as "beautiful." Is it just art, or more lies?

That question could apply to the whole of Life Is But a Dream, in which the notoriously tight-lipped Beyoncé consciously unveils parts of her life and, in the process, reveals nothing. On firing her father, Matthew Knowles, as her manager, she says, "It was a stressful, sad, difficult time." Gee. Imagine. On her general feelings, she says, "If I'm scared, be scared, allow it, release it, move on." On her humanity, she says, "I know that people see celebrities, and they seem like they're so perfect - they seem like their life is so great, and they have money and fame. But I'm a human being. I cry. I'm very passionate and sensitive. My feelings get hurt. I get scared and nervous like everyone else." This last quote, by the way, came from a video message she recorded for journalists attending a listening session for her I Am...Sasha Fierce album in 2008. Prefab on top of prefab.

Much like in Madonna's Truth or Dare, there is a great sense of performance in Life Is But a Dream. Beyoncé Knowles is Beyoncé Knowles. But unlike Madonna, who got off on being bad and pushing buttons, Beyoncé's aesthetic is perfection. She lives to be admired, and the supposed grittiness in Life Is But a Dream exists so that we admire her more. Look at how critical Beyoncé is of herself when she watches herself! Look at how pretty she looks naturally! (Never mind that her several made-under looks clearly required makeup.) Listen to how well she articulates herself when presented softball questions by an interviewer that she hired for a movie she is orchestrating and directing!

Again, I wonder: Why bother? Is it all for money? Is the point to promote a brand? To keep fresh in minds for her imminent upcoming album? Maybe. But if you read Life Is But a Dreamas sincere expression, it becomes something far weirder, the product of an extraordinarily talented, extraordinary bland person who is never not stilted. What if this were an accurate depiction of Beyoncé's limited, surface-level capacity to express herself in daily life that reaches savant-like highs only through her art? That is a fascinating life worth capturing.

Like the black-and-white footage of her supposedly pregnant self, all of Life Is But a Dream provokes more questions than it answers. We leave knowing nothing and talking and talking and talking, essentially doing the heavy-lifting for the privileged star. "All I need is not me, because I can't do it by myself," says Beyoncé on the makings of Beyoncé. It takes a nation to fuel a machine this big.

After watching this documentary, it will also take hip boots to fuel a machine this big...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Beyonce Debuts New Nose at Superbowl...

beyonce nose job

But Recycles performance...

I know I will be accused of throwing mad shade because I am the only person alive that thinks that Beyonce is unorginal and does the same thing over and over, yet is called "entertainment". Sure booty popping in a corset, lights flashing with an industrial wind machine blowing her lace front is mindless fun, but really is that something we haven't seen from her a thousand times?

What may be new is her nose...surgeons have speculated that Mrs. Joe Camel has had a rhinoplasty. Specifically, her nose narrowed and tip refined.  I guess we can add the nose to the fake hair and the skin bleaching, oh, but she is "creole", which means something in the Beyonce school of non thought and non genetics. Maybe it was simply heavy duty contouring from the Drag Race reject that did her makeup, who knows. This isn't the first time that Beyonce has basically used a putty knife to spackle on her paint by numbers makeup.

Of course, an article from People, US Weekly or some other celebrity butt kissing publication will have her quoted as saying that she loves her body and she is in comfortable in her own skin. Too bad she isn't as comfortable in her production and songwriting skills, otherwise she would stay off Myspace and Youtube stealing other peoples entire shows. It could be worse, she could fake a pregnancy for attention, or display gross hypocrisy by campaigning and "penning" love letters to The Obama's and their Let's Move program, while taking a $50 million check from Pepsi. What's that? She did those things? Oh well... At least she comes up with clever and witty names for her shows like her upcoming Mrs. Carter tour. Wait...where have I heard that name before? That's her married name?! That's as creative as Nicki Minaj naming every album Pink Friday. If it ain't about hot pants, its a complex, concept isn't it? The last horse really needs to try to make it to the finish line instead of her chasing her tail.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Nick Minaj Won't Win a Grammy Here's Why

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Red Carpet
Psychotic Barbie
Despite having a big year in music, Nicki Minaj didn't receive any Grammy nominations. Not a problem, she says. "I've gotten tons of awards and I believe when it's my time to get a Grammy, I'll get a Grammy," she said with a laugh. What personality spoke no one knows, was it Roman, Harajuku Barbie? Who cares really...

The 30-year-old had one of last year's biggest hits with the multiplatinum dance-pop anthem "Starships,"  which sound no different than "Pound the Alarm" or "Va Va Voom" or any other sacharrine song that puts the listener in a blissful diabetic coma. Her music is goofy, it's ridiculous, it's "fun", until it's not. It's so not.

Her sophomore album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," has reached gold status and launched other hits on the rap and R&B charts.'s just Gold status, wow...if that's not the definition of epic failure, I don't know what is. 
But Minaj, who received three Grammy nominations last year, including best new artist and best rap album for her platinum debut, "Pink Friday," was shut out when this year's nominations were announced.
"I think that the Grammys had a different reason, that I do not want to discuss ... and that's just between me and them," she said in a recent interview. "But I respect their organization and I'll get a Grammy eventually. I'm not worried about it." 
Oh really Nicki? Let's play victim again...the stores are selling your candy coated recording of psychological breakdowns with annoying screeches, whoops, auto tune and bad accents thrown in to make us forget the sheer lack of talent and mediocrity coming from that bell pepper nose and dragged out pink wig. What you are talking about Nicki is hocus pocus, just like your talent.
Here are 3 reasons Ms. Minaj why you weren't even nominated...Rihanna, who literally phones her vocals in over Skype was nominated numerous times in between instagramming naked photos of herself, photos of herself rolling a blunt on a bodyguards head, and telling us repeatedly that her slobbing Chris is nobodies business but theirs while simultaneously posting detailed accounts of their bodily fluids on twitter, instagram, and in every interview, song, album and in every video. 
Reason #1: The Grammy organizers are still mad about the weird performance that Nicki Minaj put on last year.

Remember what Nicki did last year? She showed up on the red carpet with "the Pope" and then performed an exorcism of her alter ego/ alternative personality Roman while she performed a new song called "Roman's Holiday." That was ghastly...

It was, er, interesting, to say the least. The Grammy organizers haven't forgotten it, either. On a night where they were scrambling to celebrate the life of Whitney Houston on super short notice, Nicki put on one of the most ridiculous performances in Grammy history. So, they must have decided to make her pay for it this year by snubbing her. And, let's face it: After last year's performance, she probably deserved it.

8/5 Nicki Minaj Performs On ABC's
Reason #2: The Grammy organizers weren't sure what category to put Nicki Minaj's music into this year.

Nicki's sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was a commercial success. But, one of the problems that a lot of rap fans, if she really had any in the first place, had with it was that it was so geared to the pop charts. Sure, it included songs like "Come On A Cone," "Beez In The Trap," and "Roman Reloaded." (The Mental Breakdown),  But, the songs that really made an impact in 2012 were tracks like "Starships" and "Pound The Alarm." So, the Grammy organizers were understandably confused. Were they supposed to nominate her in the rap categories or the pop categories? They had no idea. So, they just left her off the ballot altogether. If there was a category for turgid overplayed crap that leaves the listener feeling lifeless and joyless, then she could win hands down. Sadly, there is no category for fake muppet babbling unintelligibly about nothing.
American Idol Season 12 Judges
Put Us Out Of Our Misery Dog

Reason #3: The Grammy organizers are all part of #TeamMariah.

Mariah Carey has won five Grammy Awards over the course of her career. She's also performed at the Grammys numerous times in the past. So, when word got out that Mariah and Nicki Minaj were beefing on the set of American Idol late last year, of course the Grammy organizers sided with Mariah! Hey, it's a pretty ridiculous reason to leave someone off the ballot. If Rihanna who basically does nothing but show up high, in a bathing suit and stocking cap on her head with recycled tracks from the producer of  Bandz a Make Her Dance can make the cut, with the exact same beat, literally... 

But, it makes just as much sense as any other reasons that we've presented here, right? I know I am team Mimoo, even if she still dresses like she is 18, and reeks of desperation. Remember when she was on a treadmill on Cribs with 6 inch heels? Real is real, she can judge talent because she has talent, Nicki has only contributed "loving strippers, keys to the benz, keys to the benz, let me get that, let me get that, let me get that, pussy on your side sideburns, you a stupid hoe", and other un notable quotes that make these quotes seem smart. 

Minaj said she would probably be upset if she doesn't earn Grammy respect later in her career.
"You do feel good when you get awards and accolades. Maybe if I had been doing this for 10 years and I thought like, `Oh my god, I've put out 10 albums' – maybe it would have hurt my feelings. But I still feel so new that it's like, `Charge it to the game,'" she said. "It's part of the game."
Nicki Minaj VMA Outfit
The Gimmick is Getting Tired
Baby, let me tell you something that maybe you haven't realized, you will never have 10 years or 10 albums because THE WORLD IS ALMOST OVER YOU.