God in the gaps

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I was reading this CBS/Associated Press story about a missing 11-year-old girl from central Florida being found alive, four days after she disappeared in swamplands near her home. And there was religion all over the place. People were talking about miracles. The guy who found her went to the same church as her parents. But we never learn what church it is. It’s just weird.

Call me parochial if you want but the first thing I look for in stories about church members doing something . . . is a name of the church to which the members belong. It’s not in the story.

But this Orlando Sentinel story has all the goods on the rescue of Nadia Bloom, who has Asperger’s.

Police did not know that James King, 44, of Orlando, was searching the wet and wooded area until he called 911. He is a former member of Metro Church, where the Blooms worship.

“I didn’t all of a sudden see her,” King said. “I was yelling, ‘Nadia! Nadia!’ and she said, ‘What?’”

See, not that hard! And the reporters do a good job of letting the key players speak as religious people do. Here, for instance, is Jeff Bloom:

When asked how he felt, Nadia’s father said: “I can’t even describe it. Let’s give the glory to God.”

The rescue effort was getting to the point where it was about to be called off. The girl told rescuers she couldn’t believe they’d found her.

King told reporters that God led him to her and the story says that investigators aren’t suspicious about the rescue. The community is regarding the rescue as miraculous and the church members are particularly elated, according to the story. We don’t get a description of what type of church Metro Church is, but the story does do a good job of getting some intriguing details in there:

At one point, about three dozen church members broke into song in the driveway in front of the church, singing “Shout Halleluiah.”

“James said he was praying. He said he was praying in tongues, he was praying in spirits and he went right to her,” Sandra Green said. Green’s husband, Randy Green, is another pastor at the church.

Patricia Guobadia, a spokeswoman for the Blooms, said “our prayers have been answered. . . . it’s just celebration today.”

For a story that’s ostensibly about Nadia’s medical condition and the circumstances of her rescue, this story is a great example of how to weave religious components in.

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  • Nika

    I sense trouble. King IS suspicious. But yes, how wonderful that he brought her back. Far better to bring her back.

    Why did not tell the police that he was searching that morning? Why did he bring chocolate milk? And if the toilet paper was for markers, why did he not use it as such while he was searching? Why is he on the defensive, saying she said “What?”, instead of that he just found her. Why did he take her photo? Why is she not suffering from greater infection? Four days in a swamp would do more damage, she is recovering “remarkably” well because King had her somewhere else most of the time.

    Miracles may very well be real. But there is a practical explanation for this, and KIng is covering it up by talking about religion.

    I’d bet anything, King kidnapped her and then brought her back and posed that he just found her and got her scared enough to play along.

    It is indeed the only explanation that makes sense.

  • Jerry

    Nika raises a good point – it’s important to not just accept the statements of people.

    But Mollie, your point is a good one and so simple, except to some: if something is important to people in a story and is a part of that story, then report it. In this case, religion is clearly important and should be, as you said, part of the story.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Looks like the updated Orlando Sentinel story didn’t include the praying in tongues part for whatever reason. ABC has a pretty good story here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/TheLaw/nadia-bloom-rescuer-james-king-tells-gma-god/story?id=10369170

  • Stacey

    I came across your article while searching on this story. I am a member of Metro Church and have found it interesting to see how this one man’s story seems to be forming what people think of our church. I can tell you that Metro is a contemporary non-denominational, bible believing church made up of mostly middle class families in the suburbs of Orlando. I know Mr. King and he is probably one of the more charismatic attenders. We are not labled as a charismatic church and I have never seen anyone speaking in tongues in Sunday services. I’ve never heard it either promoted or discouraged, and if indeed some was speaking in tongues I’m sure they wouldn’t be stopped.

    I’ve seen a lot of nasty reader comments while reading news stories about this. From Mr. King being a pervert or lunatic, to our church being some cult that is just seeking media attention. At first it ticked me off because I know neither of those things are even remotely true. Mr. King is a devout family man who seeks God daily and makes him part of every aspect of his life. Metro is just a “normal” church – nothing kooky, nothing culty. We serve the community by feeding the homeless, offering counseling to broken families, etc… I suppose people are entitled to their opinions, but it just seems like today’s society would rather be skeptical and cynical than believe that miracles can happen. This story has definitely proved that.

    To learn more about Metro, check out their website
    http://www.metrocc.org

  • http://www.carlthomas.net Carl Thomas

    One interesting thing from your quote,

    He said…he was praying in spirits.

    To pray in THE Spirit means to pray in tongues. To pray something “IN” means to pray till something comes. “I prayed in my promotion” means my prayers caused my promotion to come.

    So to pray IN SPIRITS literally would mean to pray till demons come. I think the man said he was praying in THE SPIRIT which is what many Charismatics call praying in tongues. 1 Cor 14:15.

    Not a big deal to most but to a Charismatic/Pentecostal its a really big deal.

  • str

    Nika,

    isn’t this exactly the thing one should be very careful about putting out there – such suspicions are meant for the police, not for the media.

  • Kathryn

    I know the Metro Church well, as I’m married to a member; he is involved in the Worship groups. I also know Mr. King, and he is everything the Metro members say he is. Stacey is correct, too, in that they are not charismatic, as in they don’t speak in tongues and such, but I personally see definite spiritual gifts in this congregation.

    I’ve known this group for well over 10 years; no, I’m not a member, but what has just happened in the life of this particular church family should _not_ be casually dismissed. They’re not hogging the spotlight, nor did they seek it, but they’re giving credit to Him who they feel should get all the attention.

    PS: “Shout Halleluia” sums up what Metro and the Blooms are experiencing, now that Nadia is safe and home. I’ll add a Te Deum to that, too.

    Pax et Bonum.

  • cc

    Wow, I still cannot believe how people are twisting this story. Mr. Kings hasn’t even been suspected of anything and he has been interviewed by police detectives. I think they know what they are doing, at this point this sounds like gossip. I am a visitor from Metro Church but my first encounter with Mr. James was he open the door for me and my family told my husband and I we were blessed and continued on his way, he was very polite and gentle man. As far as praying in spirit it is on expression of a close and direct connection with God not necessarily tongues.


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