19 February 2007

The John Frumm Cargo Cult

I've always wanted to go down to the courthouse and legally change my name to John Frumm so that I can acquire a passport reflecting this new "fact." Then I would go visit the John Frumm cargo cult at Sulphur Bay on the island of Tanna in the country of Vanuatu. I could be their God. I think it would be a uniquely terrifying experience fraught with peril and risk. What if I don't reach their cargo-related expectations?

From the BBC article:

About 20% of Tanna's population of 30,000 follow the teachings of one of the world's last remaining cargo cults.

Other islanders can barely disguise their contempt for it.

A Christian youth worker told me how he thought the cult was childish. "It's like a baby playing games," he insisted. "Those people are holding on to a dream that will never come true," he said.


I put this view to Rutha, who's married to Chief Isaac's son. She was unfazed.

"I don't care what they think," she says gently without a hint of displeasure. "John is our Jesus and he will come back."

At the risk of being blasphemous, it could be said that the difference between Christians and John Frumm'ers is not that significant. John Frumm brings Ammo and Medicine, Jesus brings Judgment and Salvation.