Well this has been one of the most fascinating days of my life. Remember a bit ago when I shared this story I wrote about my family and how they went to be missionaries in Central America?
Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view the evangelist travelling with them left them penniless in Florida and took all the money they had raised with him.
I had assumed that Dr Collett was a flash in the pan snake oil salesman that was not aware of my very bright Dad's excruciating problem of articulating his thoughts, and so left him behind without a penny when he saw no further use for him.
And most of that is probably true but today a friend of mine googled the guy and it turns out Percy Collett was quite famous in some circles especially in the 1980's when he claimed to have gone to heaven for five days. He wrote a book about that and his life which I skimmed tonight and it's fascinating. The whole book is right here.
The Internet sure is an amazing thing.
Paging Mark Twain?
I found the autobiography part really interesting as well as his vivid? lurid? description of jungle tribes which I took with several cement block sized grains of salt
He had many adventures in the jungle some with his misunderstood Nazi, just a mechanic, friend. There were a lot of mechanics in Brazil, that's all I'm saying.
He also emphasized greatly that he needed to go in amongst the tribes alone or he would've been killed. Hmm.
Percy Collett was taped talking about his time in heaven.
You can see it here.
I didn't make it very far into that but he sure did lose his British accent from when he came over at 17.
I gotta say that I liked when I read that he saw cats and dogs in heaven. Kind of him I think.
Also from pictures in the book it looks like he wasn't afraid to return to Florida a few years after we left.
One of my favorite stories in his book happened during a tent meeting in Washington State when the Communists were attacking his tent meetings with dynamite. One of the dynamite sticks hit the piano his wife was playing and it was lifted into the air. When it returned to its earthly bounds his wife resumed playing it. What a great mental image!
Shorter than reading the book would be to read this article which gives you a pretty good idea of what he was like.
By the 1980s the focus shifted from South America to China, and he developed a Chinese grandmother. That's real confabulating talent!
From a cynical standpoint it seems hard to believe that anyone would have trusted him. But it sounds like he was very good at what he did, he was good at name dropping some pretty high and mighty circles, and my parents were anything but cynical. When you preach that doubt is sin it can lead to real abuse of power. The person with the strongest ego is always going to win that dogma fight.
I really harbour very little ill towards him. Neither of my parents did and what's the point? I'm sure our family was in no way equipped to head into the jungle and this way they made it home safely. To some extent I believe that everything that happens shapes our lives in ways that we can learn and grow from in a positive way.
I will always be a cynic when it comes to religiosity. I will always reject guilt when it comes to religiosity - I lived that way for far far too long. But that doesn't mean I will reject God.
Back to my regular cat pictures tomorrow. RunKeeper insists that it's 2.67 km around my building and it more or less got the shape right so...
Not 100% convinced it's right but how awesome would that be if it was? Cause in nicer weather I've gone around 3 times, already exceeding my current goal!