Normally, I wouldn’t lower myself to the level where I address a mere “dot-org” domain in my Website Review. I’m making an exception because in this particular case, I almost had to lower myself out of my crushed vehicle and into a “Jaws of Life” following a barely avoided collision with a large, colorfully decorated motor home at an intersection near my house.
The RV that nearly sent me to be with Jesus was, appropriately, owned by “bobgriffin.org” and presumably driven by that self-same Bob. Drawn to its huge decals of the burning World Trade Center towers and a Bob-penned book that purported to tell the “real story” of Sept. 11, I hurried home to go online and learn more about this RV of Death.
The website, which also operates under the name “7flames.org,” is a pretty minimalist affair, mostly spent promoting Griffin, his book called “Standing in the Shadows of 9/11: The Vision” and the hare-brained concept that Bob is a genuine Christian prophet. Anybody can predict The Rapture, but Bob takes his gift a step farther and can predict all types of future events, though apparently not the fact I was running a yellow light while he was making a right turn without first coming to a full stop.
Griffin’s story, described in the “About Bob Griffin” pulldown, is best told by the Living Bob himself.
He grew up in a rough neighborhood of Chicago and faced “many challenges” during his childhood (probably code for bullying and/or polio). “After a series of dramatic supernatural encounters, Bob surrendered his life to Jesus Christ … and discovered he had been given a keen prophetic gifting.” This allowed him to “give thousands of accurate words” during his 15-year ministry, words that apparently did not include “look,” “out,” “we’re” and “crashing” on a recent Tuesday afternoon.
Bob’s “gifting” has taken him to 25 nations where he claims to have met with presidents, prime ministers, senators and, most importantly, celebrities to spread his vision of what lies ahead for their various constituencies. Bob also consults with U.S. and international agencies on matters of national security, and “using his prophetic gifting he has located Al Qaeda terrorist cells.” My own guess is that such consultation takes place mostly in airport interrogation rooms after he’s been detained by TSA officers for fitting the profile of an unbalanced lunatic.
The biography concludes with a line that I bet is a real show-stopper on his resume: “Bob is sent with an apostic and prophetic anointing to break the yoke of bondage over individuals, regions and nation.” And he’s available for parties.
The rest of the website is not much to look at. The home page encourages viewers to join in a Thanksgiving conference being held on Nov. 25, 2009 and an assembling of the “armies of God” at a Yonkers, N.Y., church for a special New Year’s Eve service. (While Bob’s busy knocking around in the future, I guess his followers instead live in the past.) There’s an “Events” section, where “currently no events are available.”
The “Media” area is mostly links to YouTube videos of Bob and his wife Jayne and their five lovely but extremely embarrassed teenage daughters, featured in clips from his popular weekly internet television show. The video I sampled involved the Griffin family riding around New York City in their RV, talking earnestly to the camera while the wicked streets of Manhattan whiz by behind them.
Filmed the day of that brutal windstorm that took down hundreds of trees in Central Park last summer, the Griffin girls gleefully recount how Dad is interpreting the event as a preview of God’s plan to harvest enough wood to “build an ark in the park.” Other segments show the teens describing how a homeless man tried to break into the van but decided otherwise when divine intervention reared its head; how “demonic spirits” were driving the recipients of free copies of Bob’s book to toss it in the trash can; and how the youngest daughter encountered a Muslim who grilled her about her father’s ideas.
“Soon he will be a witness to scales being removed from his eyelids,” the tween-aged girl says uneasily, knowing how dead she will be when her middle-school friends get the chance to ridicule her on Facebook, while still delighting in the bright future that probably awaits her in the field of ophthamology.
But the whole reason for the website seems to be selling copies of the 9/11 book, the first chapter of which I was able to download for free. It tells, a bit cryptically, the story of how Bob got started in prophecy back in the mid-1990s. One day he was confronted by a “very large face” who told him that “landscapes are changing!” Most of us might simply think a close-talking itinerant gardener was offering to rake our yard. Bob, however, knew this was different.
“It was piercing the night just like traffic lights below were stabbing at the night with their melancholy rhythms, cars sailing through the night traversing the arteries that bring evidence of life to the darkness,” Bob writes. “And why so fast?”
(Again, I might point out the light was yellow.)
Next, Bob was pulled through time to witness the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, then back to Sept. 10, 2001, in what he acknowledges was “a confusing moment for me.” In 2001, he sees the Statue of Liberty crying a single tear, “liquid light sliding down her face,” while twin towers standing next to her go up in flames.
It’s hard to tell if Bob was actually in Lower Manhattan on that fateful day. He talks about a “giant cloud of dust roaring toward me,” then turning to run toward a fire escape which he climbs with “supernatural strength.” A giant ball of choking grit engulfs his vision, then he hears a voice saying “I’ll be with you in a minute” (McDonald’s drive-thru?), then he’s flooded in the bright lights of a television studio and greeted by a producer who says “He is going to do for you what He did for us.”
Bob replied, “What was that?” The producer responded, “Worldwide web, worldwide radio, worldwide television. TELL-A-VISION!”
This is Bob’s cue that he needs to tell people about his visions because the “FUTURE is the place where FEW TOUR,” and now it seems this whole ministry of prophetic giving thing is descending into a play on words.
There’s one last scene from the first chapter that may give us a little more insight into Bob’s rare powers. He’s going out with the rest of the office to a staff lunch at a quaint restaurant near a lake. He’s preoccupied during the lunch with ducks and geese walking on the backs of carp, “the bubble-blowers and the water-walkers” he calls them. He asks the group “has anyone ever cried real tears in your dreams before? I have! I did last night!”
“Pass the rolls,” I heard them say. I felt the stabbing pain of rejection again, along with the anger which always tries to rise up. I heard one of their thoughts. “Oh boy, here we go again with another dream.”
And you thought your co-workers were weird.
Reading over the website and the book excerpt again, I think I may have figured out the source behind the Griffin magic. The main heading across the home page reads “Let My Love Open the Door to Your Heart.” The book, again, is entitled “Standing in the Shadows of 9/11.” Another line in the book reads “Here comes that tear again.”
I think Bob may have hit his head while the RV was making a sharp turn one evening, then fell into semi-consciousness while Z-93, playing ALL hits from the sixties and seventies ALL the time, blared from his radio. Fragments of song lyrics from the Who, the Four Tops and Jackson Browne coalesced in his concussed brain and he awoke to believe the future is past, the past is future, and that a fat carp was being lifted from the water and then was no more.
Do I remember a song by Neil Young called “The Fat Carp Was Lifted”? I think I do.