Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Both Carl and I have been receiving emails from those who have seen Carl's evangelistic efforts at the California Institute of AbnormalArts (CIA), as well as some of those who he has personally impacted through his focus on the Gospel. You may have issues with some of the content at the CIA, and that's fine and may even agree with you in certain instances. That said, Carl has chosen to reach this community of people who almost always have no contact with any Christians whatsoever. I've seen it with my own eyes. God has used this man to reach those in the darkness of Hollywood. I wanted to share some of these stories. Some are from those in ministry who have seen him in action, while others are from those who have been on the receiving end of his evangelistic efforts. Do with it what you will. It's easy to judge from afar... However, I just thought it would be fair to Carl to share with you these accounts from those who have actually seen him in action.
As a business professional, I do not normally discuss my spiritual life in a public forum. That does not mean I do not have a healthy discourse and prayer life with close friends and associates. This brings me to writing about Carl Crew. So often in Christianity I have seen people walk in their faith insulating themselves from real discussions with anyone who thinks differently. Unfortunately, we often see judgment and foreseeable punishment projected upon them without any concern of sharing real medicine from the “Great Physician” to help them find healing. In fact, many Christians are so conditioned to protect their faith by insulating from other religions or points of view, they deny others from having an honest and healthy conversation with a true follower of Christ. My friend Carl has built a business and a lifestyle to counteract this unfortunate trend. Carl in my opinion has modeled his life after Christ meeting with the woman at the well. Simply sharing the Gospel to those most in need of living water. I have watched as Satanists, self professed witches, and atheists walk through Carl’s club thinking that everyone thinks as they do. They find comfort that Carl does not conform to what a church going individual may look like. That said, they find themselves having serious heart to hearts with a man with a love of Jesus and find themselves encountering the Gospel in the most comfortable and simplest of ways. In fact, those the most far out seem to be the hungriest for truth. In the case of occultists, they know the spirit realm is real…Carl can meet them there. Then the tribulations and fears they have with the life they are leading are met with love and concern. Carl breaks down that the bondage they are in has only one remedy. Not religion, not church…..but rather, Jesus.
This is truly a ministry. A ministry that the devil would love to stop and has been concerned with for some time. In fact, a story I keep very close to my chest but reminds me of the war going on, is that before I found a committed walk with Christ, a psychic warned me 25 years ago to beware of a place in California with the image of a clown. Sound familiar? This is the very place that God used in my life to pray and see miracles happen. The devil would have loved to have robbed me of these experiences and tried to stop it. The devil wanted to stop Carl, but it seems God has a very different plan.
Carl Crew is the most dedicated impassioned Christian I have yet to know. My concept of Heaven & Christ our sweet Lord was first described to me 20 years ago by Carl & I hold fast to the promises Carl & my pastor convey regarding Christ's passion, sacrifice & desires for me and his almighty power to do so. Twenty years ago my family entrusted Carl & I with my nieces & nephews in a cabin in Westcliff Colorado & as the adults attended a ski event Carl created the most spectacular campfire bedtime stories with the names of these story heroes being ours! What a delight for me as I was included in this experience & was momentarily able to capture a bit of childhood of my own. To this day our family recalls our times with Carl & retails the stories to their 4 children. I struggled with severe depression & what I consider spiritual attack & haunting so to speak due to early childhood trauma at the hands of corrupt Master Masons and I confided in Carl who carefully & diligently researched the best spiritual solutions for my nightmarish, horrific anguish. I am thankful to Carl Crew for inspiring me to turn to Jesus Christ & to embrace the FACT that he wants healing freedom and all things best for me & I deserve it. Bless you Carl Crew for enhancing my life & my family's as well.
Rev. Richard Carl Crew is one of the most anointed and creative evangelists I know. He reaches people others would never reach, as the impresario of one of L.A.'s most talked about gathering spots in North Hollywood. Carl follows Jesus example, as it can be said of him "he is a friend of sinners." Though his C.I.A. club hosts edgy artists and musicians, and has carnival elements of the macabre, Carl strongly sets boundaries to not allow anything that is dark or demonic. Carl has exhibited the fruits of Jesus mandate in Luke 4:18 to set the captives free and to use the unique artifacts and visuals of his club as talking points to spread the Good News. He has graciously allowed us to film at C.I.A. for a film evangelism project of our church.
About 4 years ago, I ran across one of Carl Crew's films while doing a bit of research for a project I'd been working on at the time. Somehow, I was immediately drawn to him and, uncharacteristically of me, looked him up and decided to drop him a line in praise of his work. I didn't expect a response, but he not only responded, we struck up a conversation. I was surprised to find that he wasn't a typical Hollywood type of person. He wasn't full of himself like many actors I've come across. We begun a friendship almost immediately and from very early on, God and his faith came up in most of our conversations even about the most seemingly mundane things. At that time, I considered myself to be Agnostic. I grew up Christian, but had what I thought to be a jaded view of religion in general. While I was drawn to Carl as a fan and admirer of someone I truly knew nothing about, he quickly became a sort of mentor to me. I wanted to get to know him. He wanted me to get to know God.
For months he sent me scripture from the bible and I challenged him on almost everything he sent me. I came from a Christian family and had always felt forced into attending church, singing on the church choir, going to bible study and trying to be the person my Grandparents wanted me to be. Yet, I saw so much hypocrisy amongst most of the people at that church in Batavia, Ohio the year I was sent to live with them, that I rebelled against the faith and really turned to the darker side of life to fill the growing void inside of me. That void, I know now, is what one ultimately has as a result of not having a relationship with God. I certainly wasn't seeking God when I first reached out to Carl. He was mysterious and I was a bit awestruck that the handsome man from the film was talking to me. While we often spoke about his many projects, his club, his films and shared photos and stories with each other, his focus almost always led back to talking about God. I guess it's fair to say our meeting was divine intervention. Early on into our friendship, he told me he felt that God sent me to him so that he could lead me to God and that became the core of our relationship.
No matter how busy he was, Carl always found time to offer words of wisdom, pray for me and direct me to scripture that always seemed apropos. Unlike any other man who'd come into my life, he wasn't showering me with compliments or trying to win my affections. I've never known anyone quite like Carl and someone like him comes around only once in a lifetime. I'll admit, at first I thought he was a little over the top "bible thumper," but somehow he always managed to shed light into my dark world. Eventually, I made my way up to his club in North Hollywood, the California Institute of Abnormal Arts (CIA Club.) Meeting Carl in person for the first time was oddly surreal. We'd had months of conversation and suddenly I was there and had no idea what to say to him. Strangely enough, on our first meeting, I brought him a kitten. He was warm and friendly, but seemingly guarded and reserved. The first thing I noticed about him, aside from his brilliant blue eyes, was his large chunky silver cross necklace, which I've come to know as his signature look.
It wasn't until I returned later that night for a tour of the club that I first truly experienced Carl Crew the showman. I was mesmerized as he gave me a tour of the club and the oddities museum. He put on quite an act with his eccentric voices and funny comments about some of the most bizarre relics I'd ever seen. Even during the tour of his club, he still wore that chunky cross necklace and spoke about God. While he was a uniquely and exceptionally entertaining showman, he remained firm in his faith to the point of not touching some of the bizarre relics on display in his museum. He spoke of having the club blessed to rid of any bad energy or "juju" as it's sometimes referred to and often added a Christian perspective on things. I learned very quickly that not only does he believe every word of the Bible, he practices the faith and incorporates it into everything he does and that never changes. He was still wearing that heavy cross necklace and preaching about God to anyone who took the time to listen on my second and third visit to his club. He wore the necklace at a film screening of his that I was blessed to attend. Even at his cult horror comedy movie screening, Carl wore his love for God proudly for all to see.
There's quite an eclectic mix of performers that come through the CIA Club. Most of them, much like myself, appear caught up in the inertia of confusion as they try to make a name for themselves under the cold neon lights of Hollywood. The majority of artists lean towards the darker side of life. I'm a writer, photographer, producer and musician myself. God isn't a popular subject amongst most of the people I interact with, as I'm sure is the case for many of the performers who come through Carl's club. Little did I know that I was seeking God through art for most of my life, yet getting closer to the Devil with every step. When I think of Carl, I picture a tower of light in a very dark world. He's a sort of lighthouse planted deep in the muddy roots of Hollywood and every single person he comes into contact with doesn't just hear him talk about God, he ministers to people and will pray with them right there at the club.
Some of the most unusual, eccentric and bizarre artists have performed on the CIA stages and Carl makes it his personal mission to get through to as many people as possible to spread the word of God. He once asked someone in a gothic metal band to remove his pentagram before performing on the club's main stage. People like most of the cliché "good Christians" wouldn't give someone in a gothic metal band the time of day. Much like Jesus himself did, Carl interacts with all walks of life and ministers over them at every opportunity. He's the definition of a true Christian and the impact he's had on my life spiritually is insurmountable. Carl Crew is not just the most interesting and unique of showmen I've ever met, he's my friend and a man of faith, first and foremost.
Carl Crew is the perfect example of “don’t judge a book by the cover”. With his bleached blonde hair and his Hollywood style you would probably never guess he is a warrior for Christ and his kingdom. He owns a club called CIA California Institute ofAbnormal Arts and it is a very weird place with a lot of weird exhibits. Be cause of its type of entertainment it draws a lot of people from the dark side that most Christians in their bubble of hanging out only with the redeemed would be terrified of. However this is Carl’s ministry and he gets to witness to these lost souls that Jesus loves and does not want to perish. Carl is on the front lines and is often attacked by the enemy and even Christians who don’t understand his calling. God bless him for saving souls on their way to hell.