SATIRE

SATIRE | Scott Morrison stole my thunder at Horizon Church

Only once in my sad life have I reigned supreme in a particular activity, or at least in my mind I did. And losing that status plunged me into a crisis of faith I never recovered from.

PROFOUND: With his eyes shut and his hands raised and concert lights flashing, Morrison moved at speed - bumping off people like a dodgem car. Photo: AAP

PROFOUND: With his eyes shut and his hands raised and concert lights flashing, Morrison moved at speed - bumping off people like a dodgem car. Photo: AAP

It was at the Horizon Church, in Sydney's Sutherland Shire, that I had been, as the wording on my favourite T-shirt stated, Jesus' No.1 disciple.

No one at the Pentecostal church followed the Holy Spirit's lead quite like me: I worshiped in silence with such purity that my connection to God meant everything else was shut out - before I would spring to my feet, as if yanked by the Lord himself, and praise him with my hands held high and my mouth stretched.

I believed that the Holy Spirit resided in me with such intensity that the other worshipers were drawn to me, and, one after another, I would place my hands on them and pray. The church had pastors and thousands of members, but I was the true harbinger of God.

My life began unravelling when Scott Morrison joined the Horizon Church in 2005. At the time, he was the boss of Tourism Australia.

I quickly identified him as a threat to my reign when, at a Sunday evening service, he spontaneously began "dancing in the Spirit" with a level of fervour I had not seen before. With his eyes shut and his hands raised and concert lights flashing, he moved at speed - bumping off people like a dodgem car.

My life began unravelling when Scott Morrison joined the Horizon Church in 2005.

The following week, he sparked an unprecedented three Jericho marches at the one service. As a five-piece band and a troupe of five singers performed contemporary Christian songs on a smoke-filled stage, enraptured worshipers barked praise and jubilation.

What made the Morrison-led marches different from all others was the idiosyncratic flavour he infused in them - moves that were obviously inspired by dance crazes from the 60s and 70s: the Twist, the Shake, the Running Man ...

My attempts at usurping him ended in dismal failure and mass consternation: the Bump inexplicably descended into its lewder variation (the devil was subsequently blamed), while a whole "life group" was devoted to exorcising the evil in me after I, unfathomably, started twerking.

At the conclusion of that life-group session, Morrison approached me and, unemotionally, said: "You know, you're living proof the devil remains powerful."

"I don't think that's true," I replied, sternly.

"Oh, I think it is."

"No, no, I'm special! I'm filled with God's love like few are!"

He placed a hand on my upper arm, gently squeezing it. "I have to tell you something: the end times are upon us."

"Are you serious?! Any Pentecostal worth a damn knows that!"

"I'm just saying ..." He then casually walked away. I demanded he turn around and explain himself, as the other church members viewed me with palpable concern.

Two weeks later at a revival meeting, Morrison did something that initially seemed so outrageous I was sure a stern rebuke, possibly expulsion from the church, would follow.

As Bruce, 30-something, morbidly obese and wheelchair-bound, was wheeled into the meeting by his parents, Morrison began laughing uncontrollably.

But instead of condemnation, the other worshipers, including Bruce's parents, joined Morrison in laughter.

At a subsequent service, the senior pastor, a middle-aged man wearing torn jeans, sneakers and tattoo sleeves, described the incident as "holy laughter that originated in God's blessed belly".

I was then manhandled by jealously when, as the band and the singers performed, the spotlight illuminated Morrison in the crowd as he swayed like a palm tree in a strong breeze and then gyrated like Joe Cocker, before falling backwards. I shoulder-charged the designated catcher and Morrison crashed to the ground.

After the service, Morrison cornered me and, in a calm voice, said: "People who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour will be tormented for eternity."

"Why are you telling me that?!"

"I'm just saying ..." He turned his back on me and walked away. I chased after him, and, with a finger in his face, demanded he explain himself, as stunned worshipers looked on.

I then raised my hands to the heavens and bellowed: "Where the bloody hell are you, Christ?!"

That was the last service I attended. And several months later, Morrison oversaw the launch of the "So where the bloody hell are you?" tourism campaign.

Mark Bode is an ACM journalist.

The events depicted in his writings are not meant to be taken literally. He uses satire and fiction in commentary.