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There's Good In Evel
April 25, 2007 8:51 AM   Subscribe

There's Good In Evel. 70's icon (and my own personal role model at the time) "Evel" Knievel spoke on Palm Sunday at the Crystal Cathedral about his miraculous conversion to Christianity during Daytona Bike Week. Immediately, between 500 and 800 people committed or rededicated their lives to God. Found via J-Walk.
posted by ba (51 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Well Knievel only jumped Snake River Canyon. Jesus would've walked.
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on April 25, 2007


I rose up in bed and, I was by myself, and I said, 'Devil, Devil, you bastard you, get away from me. I cast you out of my life.'

That does sound like something Evel Knievel would say.
posted by blucevalo at 8:58 AM on April 25, 2007


Immediately following this mass conversion, Evel jumped on his bike and jumped all 800 people, only to crash horribly on the landing ramp, breaking 22 bones. He is, however, expected to jump again.
posted by Shfishp at 8:58 AM on April 25, 2007


Make that between 501 and 801.
posted by phaedon at 8:59 AM on April 25, 2007


LOL@Shfiship :)

Is he still suing Kanye?
posted by cavalier at 9:02 AM on April 25, 2007


If you hit the Crystal Cathedral link, you can watch the telecast of his speech. Can't say I saw him smile, even once. Freaky to see Schueller still kickin it freestyle, too. Tempus fugit.
posted by cavalier at 9:06 AM on April 25, 2007


"I don't know what in the world happened. I don't know if it was the power of the prayer or God himself, but it just reached out, either while I was driving or walking down the sidewalk or sleeping, and it just—the power of God in Jesus just grabbed me. … All of a sudden, I just believed in Jesus Christ."

Wouldn't you remember whether such a sudden, powerful event happened while you were driving, walking down the sidewalk, or sleeping?
posted by Bort at 9:10 AM on April 25, 2007


direct link, 300k wmv
posted by phaedon at 9:13 AM on April 25, 2007


Wouldn't you remember whether such a sudden, powerful event happened while you were driving, walking down the sidewalk, or sleeping?

I got one word:

lotsofpainkillers
posted by ba at 9:14 AM on April 25, 2007


Woah! Evel jumped the shark!
posted by srboisvert at 9:20 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Chill, Jules, this shit happens.
posted by phaedon at 9:22 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well Knievel only jumped Snake River Canyon.

Actually he ended up in the river. But he still didn't walk across it.
posted by TedW at 9:26 AM on April 25, 2007


Immediately, between 500 and 800 people committed or rededicated their lives to God.

Oh, I see. And I suppose if Evel Knievel were to jump off a bridge, you'd all rush out to do that, too?
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:26 AM on April 25, 2007


...he couldn't walk away from the gold and the gambling and the booze and the women.

Based on the behaviour of any number of televangelists, I didn't think you had to.
posted by TedW at 9:30 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


It sounds like the symbols of Christianity were always "true" to him. He never doubted their truth or their validity, he simply chose not to conform to his understanding of the truth of Christianity.

If a certain symbol set is real to you, is conforming to the demands of those symbols really a conversion? Wasn't his protestation and refusal to conform actually attesting to the reality of those symbols for him all along?

And within the staid pews of the Crystal Cathedral the only way to express emotion or religious fervor is to do what those 500-800 people did. They can't fall out like Pentecostals or fall back on mysticism like Catholics their only recourse is to walk the aisle to "rededicate" or (re)confirm their salvation.
posted by MasonDixon at 9:33 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


If a certain symbol set is real to you, is conforming to the demands of those symbols really a conversion? Wasn't his protestation and refusal to conform actually attesting to the reality of those symbols for him all along?

good point. more like a surrender. awesome.
posted by quonsar at 9:40 AM on April 25, 2007


"Late" converters to Christianity, like Mr Knieval, get on my nerves.

"I was rich, a f***ed a thousand beautiful women, I put more snow up my nose than you'll find on the Andes... But it meant nothing. I was empty inside. And then I found God." (Note that I'm not saying this doesn't apply to Mr Knieval—just identifying a type).

Thing is, that really sucks for people who found God earlier on, or who had pretty miserable lives and then found God. Effectively, late converters have the best of both worlds. They gorge themselves on material things, and then gorge themselves in redemption afterward. You can only be forgiven of your sins if you've actually committed the damn things.

There should be an age cut-off for evangelistic episodes—maybe 35, or something.
posted by humblepigeon at 9:48 AM on April 25, 2007


He's always been a thuggish asshole and a hypocrite. I'm sure he'll fit right in.
posted by 2sheets at 9:52 AM on April 25, 2007


Forget God.

I am going to rededicate my life to the awesomeness of the seventies. Evel Knievel, CB Radio, Keep on Truckin, Burt Reynold's hair, Six Million Dollar man noises and Bionic Woman camel toe, Mesh t shirts, center parted feathered hair and pre-plastic playboy centerfolds.

Banana seat bicycles with sissy bar and chopper handle bars. Nike Waffle trainers, Conan the barbarian comic books, national geographic nudity, wood paneled basement rec rooms with shag rugs and family cars that would make a hummer look puny.

Nasa badges on schoolkid's backbacks, AC/DC panels on jean jackets, CHiPs, The original family fued, the mike douglas show, Hockey Night in Canada before Don Cherry, garage ping pong, and best of all those crazy shorts girls wore in gym class.

Good times. The future has failed to live up them.
posted by srboisvert at 10:07 AM on April 25, 2007 [10 favorites]


Money-shot:

"I read... uh, wrote, a book, called 'Evil Ways'. I said I had a better life than any king, president or prince. Hogwash. I didn't have Jesus Christ in my life.

I was talking about the Rolls-Royces I had. Five of them. The Ferraris that I had. Five of them. The Stetsas. The Lamborghinis. The jet airplanes. Two of them. I flew one along side of the other so I could read my name on the side of 'em. Yeah. Evil Knievel. My dad said, who you gonna impress at 40,000 feet, at 600 miles per hour?"

-- Evil Knievel, Crystal Cathedral
posted by phaedon at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2007


I am going to rededicate my life to the awesomeness of the seventies.

I welcome you into our flock, brother.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2007


Oh man. I was the BIGGEST Evel Knievel fan when I was, like, 7. My parents even bought me an awesome Evel Kneivel BMX-ish bicycle that was all dressed up like his stars'n'stripes motorcycle. Of course, I proceeded to jump it off all manner of ramps and stairs (jumped off 7 stairs onto flat concrete one time..), eventually breaking the frame itself.

Don't buy your kid an Evel Knievel bike.
posted by LordSludge at 10:12 AM on April 25, 2007


There's no wikipedia article about Evel Knieval?! Am I doing something wrong? I know I'm not drunk.
posted by zorro astor at 11:00 AM on April 25, 2007


Thing is, that really sucks for people who found God earlier on, or who had pretty miserable lives and then found God. Effectively, late converters have the best of both worlds

Only a nonconverted person would agree with the above statement.

I became a Christian in early adulthood. I indulged in quite a few sinful behaviors beforehand, drugs, etcetera (and no I am not going to elaborate.) If I could go back in time and eliminate those behaviors from my life I would do it in a heartbeat. Yeah, sin is fun for a season, but it rots your soul, and you feel the rotting of it way before you get around to realizing you need to repent.

TRUE Christianity is a lot of fun. Legalistic and/or dry religion, not so much.
posted by konolia at 11:03 AM on April 25, 2007


There's no wikipedia article about Evel Knieval?! Am I doing something wrong? I know I'm not drunk.

Well that's yer problem right there! (and spelling)

wiki
posted by LordSludge at 11:15 AM on April 25, 2007


What konolia said.
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:17 AM on April 25, 2007


Wouldn't you remember whether such a sudden, powerful event happened while you were driving, walking down the sidewalk, or sleeping?

He fell asleep behind the wheel and ended up driving on the sidewalk.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:29 AM on April 25, 2007


you feel I felt the rotting of it way before you get I got around to realizing you need I needed to repent.

Fixed that for ya.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:33 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


There should be an age cut-off for evangelistic episodes—maybe 35, or something.

Whether that age was chosen because it's close to Jesus' lifespan, or right at the minimum age to become President, either way it is an interesting idea.
posted by JHarris at 11:43 AM on April 25, 2007


Whether that age was chosen because it's close to Jesus' lifespan,

Shit, I am totally running out of time.
posted by phaedon at 12:03 PM on April 25, 2007


I am going to rededicate my life to the awesomeness of the seventies.

Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by grubi at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2007


Whether that age was chosen because it's close to Jesus' lifespan, or right at the minimum age to become President

Perfect. One can compromise by setting it at 34.
posted by grubi at 12:43 PM on April 25, 2007


I had the Evel Knieval doll/bike. I used to make him fight my Spock doll. Evel always won ('cause he had a cape).

I had a good time in the 70's, but I'm not sure why people are so nostalgic for it. I guess the reasons I might list to evidence its inferiority to our own time (rotary phones, no remote control anything, comically bad hair, poor special effects in movies, etc.) are the very reasons some people long for it.

But, Christ, I have the internet on my cellphone!
posted by Pecinpah at 12:54 PM on April 25, 2007


I also had the Evel Knieval doll/stunt cycle. He used to fight with (and beat) the stupid blue Evel with the stupid blue chopper (which I also, for some reason, had).
posted by ba at 1:02 PM on April 25, 2007




Okay so... could someone please explain to me why the man is even still alive? 'Cuz he really should've just died a bloody, nasty, public death a long time ago. Any way we could trade him in to Our Lord God and Savior and get the Crocodile Hunter back?
posted by miss lynnster at 1:24 PM on April 25, 2007


This reminds me of my miraculous conversion to Albanian Orthodox while attending the AMA Flat Track half-mile twins in Saluda, VA.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:32 PM on April 25, 2007


MasonDixon typed "It sounds like the symbols of Christianity were always 'true' to him. He never doubted their truth or their validity, he simply chose not to conform to his understanding of the truth of Christianity.

"If a certain symbol set is real to you, is conforming to the demands of those symbols really a conversion? Wasn't his protestation and refusal to conform actually attesting to the reality of those symbols for him all along?"


I'm not sure what you're saying here. Are you saying that, in order for a spiitual experience to be truly lifechanging, it must involve spiritual ephemera from outside of the subject's own culture?

If so, I would beg to differ. The need for otherness in religious experience has led to an awful lot of New Age materialism, among other things.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:29 PM on April 25, 2007


New Age materialism

Are you referring to my eelskin yoga mat?
posted by phaedon at 2:35 PM on April 25, 2007


Hell, I didn't know this about the guy. Takes the shine right off him:
While Knievel was healing from his latest round of injuries, the book Evel Knievel on Tour was released. Authored by Knievel's promoter for the Snake River Canyon jump, Sheldon Saltman, the book painted a less than perfect picture of Knievel's character and alleged that he abused his wife and kids and that he used drugs. Knievel, with both arms still in casts, flew to California to confront Saltman, a VP at Twentieth Century Fox. Outside the studio commissary, one of Knievel's friends grabbed Shelly and held him, while Knievel attacked him with an aluminum baseball bat, declaring, "I'm going to kill you!" According to a witness to the attack, Knievel struck repeated blows at Saltman's head, with Saltman blocking the blows with his left arm. Saltman's arm and wrist were shattered in several places before he fell to the ground unconscious. It took numerous surgeries and permanent metal plates in his arm to eventually give Saltman back the use of his arm. He had been a left-handed competitive tennis player before the attack.

When reports of the savage attack on Saltman were shown on the evening news, Saltman's elderly mother back in Boston suffered a heart attack from the shock and died soon thereafter. In addition, Sheldon Saltman's book was pulled from the shelves by the publisher after Knievel threatened to sue. Saltman later produced documents in both criminal and civil court that proved that, although Knievel claimed to have been insulted by statements in Saltman's book, he and his lawyers had actually been given editorial access to the book and had approved and signed off on every word prior to its publication. A judge in the case called Knievel's actions among the "most despicable" and "cowardly" that he had ever seen. On October 14, 1977, Knievel pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to three years probation and six months in the county jail, during which he publicly flaunted his brief incarceration for the press as just one more publicity stunt.
Maybe now that he's converted, he'll pay up the $13 million he was found to owe to Saltman?
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:35 PM on April 25, 2007


I rose up in bed

Classic hangover conversion.
posted by staggernation at 2:43 PM on April 25, 2007


The guy has never, as in EVER, had a reputation for being particularly nice or sin-free prior to his conversion. Not that I've ever heard of anyhow.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:00 PM on April 25, 2007


The 90s were my 70s, and I'll wager that they were better. If only because we had better weed and natural fibers.
posted by psmealey at 3:23 PM on April 25, 2007


The 90s were my 70s, and I'll wager that they were better. If only because we had better weed and natural fibers.

Yes, but sadly, by all reports, we got laid less, which trumps everything else.
posted by jonmc at 3:44 PM on April 25, 2007


(and no I am not going to elaborate.)

There may be something in this god thing, because I prayed for no elaboration ("oh god no no no") and there my prayers were answered, in the same sentence, even.

Evel is a schmuck. He was before he saw his death looming and "repented," and now he's even more so.
posted by maxwelton at 4:57 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Immediately, between 500 and 800 people committed or rededicated their lives to God.

Between 500 and 800 people are fucking idiots. I mean, I can just about bring myself to respect people who believe in God, but people who suddenly believe in God because some bloke who jumped over some stuff on a motorbike does... no. Idiots.
posted by jack_mo at 5:13 PM on April 25, 2007


I do not like Mr. Evel Knievel.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:06 PM on April 25, 2007




After seeing this I have rededicated myself. I pulled up Craig’s List, bought a dirt bike 87 XR 200, 87’ XR 200
, a stars and stripes helmet
, Thor boots (German Nilist type with silver buckles)
and by God I’m gonna jump something. I shit you not.
posted by MapGuy at 6:23 PM on April 25, 2007


Evel Knievel quotes from kirkaracha's link:

Heaven is a place you can go and drink a lot of draft beer and it don't make you fat. You can cheat on your wife and she don't get mad. You get a beautiful female chauffeur with nice, hard tits--real ones. There are motorcycle jumps you never miss. You don't need a tee time.

I don't believe in hell. I don't believe in gods or Jesus Christ or sacred cows. I don't believe in that big, fat-assed Buddha. Show me one piece of Noah's ark. Show me one piece of the tablets that Moses was supposed to have brought down from the mountain. People need a crutch. They need to make up stories. I don't want to do that.

We must tax the churches. Freedom of religion is bullshit when it's tax-free.


Somehow I'm thinking he didn't mention any of this stuff at the Crystal Cathedral.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2007


I have lost all, and I mean all respect, for the man, as of this instant.

Evel was a son-of-a-bitch, an asshole. And he was unrepentant.

He was someone who was, truly, unafraid. Of anything. He wasn't afraid of lawyers, or judges, or hellfire-and-brimstone preachers, or death. He, truly, was completely unafraid to die.

That was worthy of my admiration growing up. Be who you are, and if someone doesn't like it, look them in the eye, and tell them to fuck off.

But now, he's just an embarrassment. A sham, a charlatan, a COWARD, just like everyone else.

Hey Evel. Fuck off.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:07 PM on April 25, 2007


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