Sunday, July 09, 2006
Jesus Is A Bodysurfer
San Francisco prides itself on its oddness and idiosyncracy but for sheer freakishness, the city can't hold a candle to Los Angeles.
This is a place that has specialized in Christian Apocalypse Cults since the modern city began, with Aimee Semple MacPherson leading the way for a colorful lineage of fervent believers and hucksters.
In Redondo Beach, at a small strip mall containing one of the original Trader Joe's outlets in the world...
...an evangelist in a white suit and gold glitter tie hovers around his Jesus-mobile everyday...
...ready to spread the good news.
Earlier in the week in Santa Barbara, we stumbled across a large boat in the marina with WATERMANACADEMY.COM stenciled on its side and the name "Rapture" painted on its back. (Click here to get there, if you dare. The photos below are taken from the site.)
According to a "Counselor" in his 20's who we talked to, the boat was originally a research vessel that had been turned into an "adventure" vessel that could sleep 110 people in bunk beds. It was based out of San Diego and took frequent trips to Catalina Island, usually with 13-to-19-year-old boys.
They claim to take alienated teenage boys in hand, and at $6,000 for a three-week boot camp, they turn the boys into "men."
"I'll bet you it's a Christian Cult with a pinch of the paramilitary," I guessed to my friends and the website proved me correct.
Though I'm not interested in sex with teenagers and never have been (even when I was a teenager), the operation also reeked of NAMBLA-style homoeroticism.
To add to the general creepiness, Santa Barbara's own Hate Radio Celebrity, Dr. Laura herself, had just impressed the young men with her "courageous" rapelling down the side of the boat.
I must confess that much of Christian dogma strikes me as superfluous since it's so easy to see God where the ocean meets land.
Some people see God in the mountains...
...and others in the desert.
I tend to feel him/her/it while gliding through a warm wave.
Beaches are also wonderful places for children to play...
...which does much to stave off that $6,000 alienation down the road.