A Sunday sermon at your local house of worship, or a horrid alarm clock? Surely, the congregation sitting before Pastor Jim Standridge at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Skiatook, Oklahoma, felt they were experiencing one and the same. During this particular service, Pastor Standridge decided to take his preaching in a personal and arguably erratic direction, targeting various members present in the pews.
After warning one mother that her children would turn against her due to her heinous ways as well as certain youth members of the congregation remodeling a room in the church into their own "kingdom," Standridge then assured his audience that if they did not want to listen to his messages, he would gladly leave town.
Needless to say, the congregation was highly put off by the pastor's rant. His megolamaniacal behavior even went as far as to claim that one member was "not worth 15 cents" simply because the latter had missed a few services recently.
Perhaps what is most disturbing about this tantrum of a sermon was that Pastor Standridge would even have moments of benevolence amidst the madness. His behavior seemed sporadic and completely ungrounded. For some reason, the pastor felt the need to confirm that his sermons were the best out there — that he was the best preacher his congregation would find. Still, he failed to mention exactly why he felt his knowledge to be superior, but simply sought to awe his viewers with pieces about eternal life and stated that he was not sorry to have gone off on his listeners and that if they truly "loved" him, they would submit to him. This expectation that his congregation should actually submit to him implies some serious arrogance, possibly to a dangerous extent. One would almost assume that Pastor Standridge believes himself to be divine in some sense.
Although we fortunately do not hear often anymore about these self-righteous characters getting too out of hand, it is important to recognize a megalomaniac when one turns up. Especially in the case of a man who claims to deliver the word of God, we'd best take deep care to remember how far he will go to obtain and keep his followers.