Friday, July 02, 2010

“Jesus is in Todd [Bentley]’s shadow…” and other possible documentary snippets?

[Originally posted at Bene Diction Blogs On, Mar. 29, 2010]

Todd Bentley’s shadow had healing powers? You might see someone saying that in Roy Petersen’s upcoming documentary on Lakeland.

The filmmaker, as I have noted, was very kind in answering my questions about his new documentary on the Lakeland “revival”, which he hopes to release this summer.

So, I had a look at his YouTube channel. I think there are several clips there about “Lakeland” “evangelist” and such, which might make it into his documentary.

Here, by the way, is a more serious approach to a possible trailer for his documentary, which I found on YouTube:

[I should note that, at 2:38, this clip is incorrect. Bentley has never been a Hell’s Angel. His autobiography says that he merely partied with them.]

Petersen may have a light touch at times, which I quite like. Todd Bentley and Lakeland have the potential to be grindingly serious topics, so if you can use a little good humor, where appropriate, that is a very good thing.

In his BDBO comment on my earlier post, Roy Petersen has been careful to note that he has been thinking about even handedness and the need to get some balance. That’s great. I have faith that he will follow through and I hope to see it in his finished product. But, as I am now sure that he realizes, some of the clips that he obtained may badly need some corrective balance, or the sort of trying for objectivity that a good documentarian—as I hope Petersen is—keeps in mind.

That said, these clips—which may or may not be used in the documentary--made me think “Hmmm…”. I’ll share why in the continuation of this post. (Please click the “more”)

I’ll quote a bit from the clips.

In the first Petersen clip, I’m guessing that his wife may be filming from the back seat as Catherine Mullins and Cara Ross, who I am guessing may have been on the Lakeland worship teams. They are talking about what it is like to be around Roy Fields, and other figures of the revival, and how the atmosphere of what is happening affects their lives.

Here is the clip:

Starting at 1:18, they say this:

(Lady who is driving—who I guess is Cara Ross): “….So many people think that prayer is ‘Oh, I’ll pray for you’ and when it—when you have the mantle has he has, that Todd [Bentley] has, that Bob Jones, that some of the people that have come into this revival, the mantles that they have and the anointing that literally oozes out of them—we don’t have to [have them] come over and say ‘Oh, I’m going to pray for you.’ They, I mean Roy [Fields] is a very touchy, feely person, so he’s constantly like that, touching you on the shoulder, patting you on the back, and when he does that, I really feel that it comes with every touch. Because you know, like with [the Apostle] Peter and his shadow, Roy and his shadow, you know Jesus is in his shadow, Jesus is in Todd’s shadow, why shouldn’t people get healed when they walk by, why shouldn’t people be blessed in their singing, in their propheticness when Roy goes by. They should be. It shouldn’t take a ‘Oh, let me stop and pray’. It should literally be from being around him and being in his presence, that he brings the presence of Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit, that he brings it wherever he goes, just like Catherine brings that wherever she goes, like I bring it everywhere I go. It’s different from different people and being in the pool that we are in right now, we’re able to dip off of everybody else to gather a little bit of their anointing…..”

Okay. I can appreciate that people can help create an atmosphere by their words and actions where good things can happen. I believe that Christians carry the Holy Spirit inside them, and He helps with this. But when you say that the “anointing” can be passed around like tray of party snacks…well it’s possible, but I would like Biblical supports for it.

What I find a bit unnerving, though, is that Todd Bentley’s shadow “has Jesus in it.”

It’s kind of a shock to have Bentley compared to the Apostle Paul.

And what of the fruit of Bentley’s “shadow”? I guess that the people who died after Bentley prayed for them just wish that his shadow had fallen on him instead, eh?

[This is why I was talking about “evenhandedness” . To get a good balanced picture, you need to know of when Todd’s “shadow” healed,…and when it didn’t. Petersen, though, seems to get this, which I am pleased to note.]

I think that another clip that may or may not be in the finished video might show Roy Petersen himself, along with two ladies that he knows.

They three of them are going through a Starbucks drive-in (at Interstate 4, exit 33) , in or near Lakeland, when the driver, who I am guessing is Roy Petersen, starts talking to the fellow at the drive in window.

Here is the clip:

When the lady in the back seat asks, shortly after 0:47, whether the cashier has heard of Todd Bentley, he offers the sort of “Heh”, which means “Yep!”

This is a neat way of seeing how people react to Bentley in the community. A great idea on Petersen’s part.

"Yep, we're having a revival", says one the ladies in the car.

The cashier mentions that he has heard good and bad things about Bentley, and then goes on to say that he is a hoping for a revival at his own church.

What leads me to go “Hmm”, however, is that at least some of the people in the car say things which you could interpret as either asking the cashier to go to the revival, or seeing what would happen if someone would have asked him to go to the revival by acting out doing so. If the latter, though, it’s a heck of a joke.

At 1:23 Both ladies say something like “You should come and check it out.”

Driver of the car (whom I think is Petersen): “Are you a believer”?

Cashier: “I am.”

Driver of car “Cool”

Cashier: “I’m praying that our own church has our own little revival.”

Driver of car: “Well, you gotta go there [to Bentley’s revival] to get it and bring it back.”

[You don’t say.]

Cashier: “I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I understand.”

Lady in the car: “What time do you work till tonight?’

Other lady in car: “Ooh!”

Cashier: “About 11”

Other lady in car: to first lady: “Wow, you’re fresh.”

Cashier: “Yes, she is fresh.” (laughs)

First lady: “Yeah, meet me out the back” (chuckles)

[Cashier looks a bit stunned. I think he might say “Okay”]

First lady, being serious: “Please. Todd’s speaking tonight.”

[Cashier starts to laugh. Turns to fill their order].

Lady in front passenger seat: “Anything to get him there.”

Driver: “Do you have a [prophetic] word for him?”

Lady in back seat: “No not yet, I’ve asked [God?].”

Driver: “You’ve had your chance.”

Cashier: “You’ve got one more drink coming” [perhaps makes an escapes, and lets a Starbucks lady come to the window.]

The people in the car didn’t ask whether the Starbucks lady was saved, or whether she was coming to the Lakeland revival.

I do like the idea of raw filming of people being asked, cold, about the revival. If Petersen and his companions are playing it straight and being sincere, and were in earnest about wanting the Starbucks cashier to the revival, that would, by “Occam’s razor” be the most logical explanation. Then, having the makers of the documentary also sell that you need to go to the revival might be a “hmmm” inducing moment.

Looking at both these clips leads me to wonder a bit.

We have Roy’s promise, via a comment, that he will try to be a bit comprehensive and also even handed in his approach, which I have faith in.

I hope so. The first video quoting the worship team members suggesting that Todd’s very shadow heals, might need commentary.

Both these clips, and some of what Petersen has said make me wonder a little about the general approach of the documentary.

What follows isn’t gospel writ—rather I’m just guessing about loud. I'm not the "documentary police", and as he has the experience, Petersen should pick what works best for him.

It could be a straight-forward, “This is Lakeland” sort of documentary, with Petersen attempting to show what was going on. If I was going to bet the mortgage money, that would be my guess at this moment, as that is what Petersen seemed to be getting at in his interview. I believe he was sincere and usually tried to answer my questions in a straightforward way. Yes, I believe that’s what I would say.

However, his joke about having a tattoo, and the fact that he is thinking of calling it “The Five Fingers of Glory” as well as the overtly funny trailer leads me to wonder if the documentary might, at least in part, be tongue in cheek. At least in part.. You could imagine Roy and his friends perhaps thinking that Lakeland was a bit over the top and, realizing that the best comedy is played straight, have travelled to Lakeland and let any silliness about Bentley and the atmosphere just display itself. So, let the viewers say to themselves, for example, “Did that lady just say that Todd Bentley’s shadow heal the sick?”

The second approach would solve a marketing issue. It would appeal to the sort of people who would look for Todd Bentley’s picture on their grilled cheese sandwiches and to those folks who saw Lakeland as a bit ridiculous, at the same time. The friends of Bentley would like it and the “hip” people in Petersen’s audience would “get it”.

Perhaps Petersen could be a Sacha Baron Cohen fan. Have you seen the movie Borat? I haven't, but I gather it features Cohen pretending to be an odd person who comes to America. Cohen, as Borat, does and says wacky things to get very serious people to react to him and thereby be funny. In this scenario, Petersen would go to Lakeland and acts "more charismatic than the charismatics" so that people say really heretical and wacky which case Petersen would be a cunning genius! [ :), Roy and my readers. But I admit that there could be signs of genius aside from his “pulling a Borat. ;) ] This would mean that Petersen and the ladies in his car would be merely acting to see what the poor cashier at the Starbucks would do when a carful of “charismatics” try the “Anything to get him there” approach.

As I mentioned, my guess would be that Petersen is being mostly serious and just wants to document Lakeland and the aftermath. I’ve posted these clips so you can see them too, mostly as some examples of things you might see in the documentary.

Yes, due to the most serious version of the trailer, at the top of the post, I'd bet two months mortgage money that it would be basically serious and straight forward.

But my curiosity about how exactly he plans to go about it is piqued. Hopefully yours is too.

I"m not entirely sure what to expect, which means that Petersen is doing nicely so far.