Among the ranks of shock-jock evangelists perhaps none have aspired to the verbal exploits of “Dr.” Phil Kid. Popular with many fundamentalist churches of more militant type, Phil is the master of Hair-Raising Sermon Illustration. It’s a rare event when he manages to make it through a sermon without some apocryphal tale of tragedy and gore.
And then there are his screaming rants against all manner of other ungodly things like Nintendo video games and interracial marriage…
Here he is in fine form:
Fundamentalists evangelists wear many different hats — not the least of which is the position of showman and entertainer. Most evangelists have some kind of hook, and act that is their signature. Ventriloquism, art, magic shows, karate (but the good kind not the evil eastern mysticism kind) demonstrations are par for the course. Many evangelists also sing and play instruments.
Now while some speakers will stick with guitar, piano, or trumpet others get a bit more…creative. You’ve never lived until you’ve been serenaded for 15 minutes by an accordion or heard How Great Thou Art scraped out on a muscial saw. But the prize for uniqueness goes to those few (including evangelist Hal Webb) who have mastered the art of playing the theremin.
For those of you who have never had the privilege of seeing one of these in action, the theremin is an instrument that has two antennas that adjust volume and pitch based on how far or close the players hands are to the antennas. So the evangelist literally moves his hands through the air in front of the instrument to produce the music. It’s the sort of thing that would have had you burned at the stake during the middle ages but makes for a great performance during special services. You can check out some video of one being played here