Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RIP, Oral Roberts

Oral Roberts died this week.  I'll remember him for at least two reasons:  1)  The ORU basketball team and B)  all the jokes about him and his ministry.  Remember, I grew up in the sixties when Oral was in his heyday.

Why can't you play an Oral Roberts record?  The hole in the middle keeps healing up.

The ORU Men's basketball team has been a force to reckon with for years, spoilers or champions all the way.  Probably because they couldn't stay sick or hurt.

He got a lot of press, most of it bad, for claiming that God would "call me home" if he didn't get the $8 million he needed to keep the school going.  He got the money from a gambler in Florida, and folks howled.  He simply converted filthy lucre to heavenly cash.  Preachers do it every Sunday.

My daughter's not very fond of ORU.  To her, the school stole her school's president, Mark Rutland.  He turned Southeastern (Em's school) around and looks like he'll do the same for ORU.

Oral said he hated the term "faith healer".  He preferred to say he had the hands but God did the healing.  I see this statement on a chiropractor's sign near home almost every day.

Love him or hate him, Oral Roberts did a lot of good for a lot of people, all the while using someone else's money.  Kind of like the government in reverse.

What you may not know:   John Lennon wrote Oral Roberts in 1972 asking forgiveness for saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.  I have a feeling that Oral forgave him.  If only we were that gracious.  We harbor unforgiveness for generations, and beyond the grave, in the South.

My Grannie Free liked Oral up until he started, in her terms, "beggin' fer money".  Tents in those days cost a lot, I guess.

He was 91 years old when he passed away.  Reminded me of my Grandpa Berry, who used to tell me he wanted to live until he was 95, then die by being shot to death by a jealous husband.

Being shot to death by a jealous husband could probably happen to a lot of preachers.

Thank God, Oral died of pneumonia.

UPDATE:  No...he's still dead.  Just a friend of mine who felt compelled to send this along:   In my public speaking class at (school redacted), some guy whose name I don't remember was giving a speech on televangelists, during which he said, and I'm not making this up, and it's the only part of the speech that I remember:  "After about 30 minutes of Oral you'll fall asleep."  

I'm waiting for the Michael Scott response.

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