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Linda C. Shearrill

Who: Bishop Linda C. Shearrill, Presiding Prelate.

Where: Chicago.

Organization: International Deliverance Outreach Ministries.

Objective: "I'm telling you how to meet me in heaven."

The Set: A freestyle jazz organist vamps beside the dimly lit stage. Behind Shearrill are men and women sitting against the back wall like bodyguards on a Jerry Springer show ready to break up a brawl between a husband and his seven wives. In front of the stage are a half-dozen rows of half-empty pews.

The Persona: Shearrill carries the presence of an NFL linebacker - pads and all. Her inflection varies between that of a lame stand-up comedian and a sex hotline operator, as she continuously pats her brow with a handkerchief while working the congregation for laughs. Then without warning, she throws her head back in orgasmic prayer, walking up and down the aisle seizing people by the arms and shouting, "Yes! Yes!"

Prayer Quote: "I want you to shake me up Lord. I want you to rock me. I want you to roll me."

The Message: The power of prayer and the need to spend "time on your knees" in submission to God. However, her sermon is less about humility than the paranoia of losing God's favor.

Scary Warning:"One thing can make you miss heaven."

Shearrill's Solution: Pray until God delivers you from everything you've ever done wrong and don't stop until you're entirely blameless.

Prayer Request Available? Yes.

Creepy Quote: "When you're down there, He's going to impregnate you with a gift. You're carrying it now. Don't abort that baby."

Online Prophecy: "If the Internet is making you lose your soul, you need to take your computer and donate it to the garbage."

Online Commerce: "Maintaining Your Relationship with God", $30, Visa and MasterCard accepted. Messsages designed "to enhance your faith to go to another level."

Altar Call: Not so great. In a recent episode I watched, only four people come forward. One woman who was struck over the head by Shearill collapsed into the arms of a man who just happened to be perfectly positioned to catch her. The show ended abruptly before he could fully lay her on the ground.

Spiritual Lesson: If you ever TKO a member of your congregation in front of a televised audience, it's wise to end the service before anyone notices.

Hallelujahs: 3.0

- Steve Yaccino



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Posted on March 26, 2007


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