Tulsa's weird and wacky religious madness doesn't stop with the mauve Art Deco contemplation rooms of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church. There may be no stranger haven of Televangelical megalomania than Oral Roberts University. Founded in 1963 by TV personality and world renowned preacher Oral Roberts (one-time member of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church), the university is a true marvel to behold. Trust me, these pictures don't do it justice. You have to see it to believe it. Imagine a Soviet space colony circa 1965 invaded by Pentecostal aliens from middle-America and you might come close to grasping the aesthetic wonder of the university's sprawling sci-fi inspired campus. Nearly all of the buildings have pristine gold mirrored windows. Two of the more notable landmarks include the praying hands (above) and the Prayer Tower (last pictures in the series).
Inspired by a vision of a 900 foot Jesus, Oral began fundraising to build the City of Faith Medical and Research Center in 1977. One of the largest hospitals in the entire world at the time of its opening, the complex was constructed according to a dream in which God revealed the dimensions of Noah's ark. The tallest tower of the hospital complex represents the length of the ark, the middle tower its height, the smallest tower its width.
To help raise money for the enormous project, Oral locked himself in the Prayer Tower and refused to descend until his followers would donate a million dollars to fund the project. Eager to see his ministry continue and fearful Oral might commit suicide, viewers swiftly obliged and a helicopter dropped a check into Oral's hand with the requested amount. In total, he raised 9.1 million dollars for the hospital. Accepting its first patient in 1981, the building would soon record loses of 10 million a year by 1986. Most rooms went vacant by 1987. In 1989 Roberts closed the hospital, now 25 million dollars in debt, and converted it to office space. Maybe BSD headquarters should consider a relocation?
Oral Roberts hospital, built to compete with nearby Catholic St. Josephs, was built according to a dream. God revealed to Oral the true dimensions of Noah's ark. The tallest tower is the length of the ark, the middle tower is the height and the smaller tower is the width.
The Oral Roberts Prayer Tower
6 Foot 2 Colby reflected in the Prayer Tower. I'm not 900 Ft Jesus, but who's counting.