I originally wrote this as a comment to this article I found about Bethel Church in Redding, California.
Ah, a post on the crazy church in Redding known as Bethel… and a detailed one at that.
First of all, let me paint a little background picture for the record:
I produced porn for 9 years. For the first 3 years of that time I was married and hid it from my now ex-wife, who was devastated when she found out. She found healing at Bethel Church in Redding. She’d tell me things that happened at that church and I’d get angry because it sounded so stupid and ridiculous.
I made fun of her all the time when she’d tell me some of the things the “School of Ministry” students did (she became a 1st year school of ministry student herself). Crazy things happened, supposedly. Like feathers falling from the sky during service…. like the time when the quadriplegic she cared for had her tooth healed (“Donny, I brushed her teeth for her this morning before taking her to church… that gold tooth wasn’t there, I swear to you!”). Like all sorts of other “healings”.
People come from all over the world to attend that church.
Last year I wanted to turn my life over to God and leave porn production. I reached out to Bethel. 4 times. They wouldn’t talk to me. I don’t know why. They wouldn’t return calls. Wendy (my ex) had her sister go directly to leadership and implore them to call me. They didn’t.
I eventually surrendered my life to God on my own. And I decided to check out Bethel.
It’s weird. That’s for sure.
But I felt God there. Very strongly. I decided to follow along on a “treasure hunt” like the one of which you spoke. I was flabbergasted at what happened. I rode along with one of the church’s pastors, in his car, as we drove around Redding. He saw a group of people standing in front of Carl’s Jr and walked up to them. I followed. The people must have thought we were really odd when he said he had “a word” for one woman in the group. He told her that God knew she hadn’t been sleeping well the last few nights and that was all going to stop as of “right now”. He told her other personal things about herself. The whole group started laughing because he was RIGHT ON about everything, including her not sleeping well the last few days.
It was really weird to witness that. I didn’t want to accept it then, and I still don’t now. But I can’t deny it happened.
One night I had a very painful ear ache. In the middle of service it was called out that someone had pain in their ear and God wanted to heal them. I took the chance and stood up. Less than 10 seconds after they started praying, my ear popped and stopped hurting.
It was really weird. But it happened.
I don’t go to that church very often anymore. This past Sunday was the first time in a few months. It weirds me out. I find some of the people odd, and one of their counselors pulled some crap I don’t appreciate at all.
They go way off into la la land on some of their teachings. They talk about things I’ve never heard in church before.
I like facts and am not as into “supernatural” stuff. It doesn’t resolve for me. But after Bethel I sometimes wonder if there’s a whole lot more “supernatural” to God than most of us realize. I wonder if he really does work in more “mysterious ways” than any of us will ever know, or allow ourselves to accept…
PHOTOS FROM BETHEL CHURCH, THIS PAST SUNDAY:
(taken with my iPhone – click any photo to enlarge it)
A “Mystery Worshipper” reviews Bethel – click here.