You don’t happen to have a monkey wrench, do you? You do?! Fabulous!
Here, follow me down to the boiler room. I can’t find the sexton anywhere. He’s probably down at the Cubic Zirconia Cathedral Noah’s Ark Petting Zoo. We had an incident last night with some lions and a wildebeest. How did Noah manage all those carnivores and herbivores?
Anyway, I don’t know what happened, but our HVAC unit is fried. The sanctuary’s practically a Bangladesh sweat factory, and the worship band is threatening to walk out. Speaking of Bangladesh: if only those third-world slave laborers had a wee bit more Prosperity Gospel faith, then perhaps God would lift them out of their squalor.
Meanwhile, I’m stuck with a squabbling flautist and bongo player. I know, first world spiritual problems. But still!
Here, just follow me down these stairs. You know, we used our third offering a few weeks back to negotiate the purchase of the Masada cistern steps from the Israeli government. So watch yourself; some of the stones aren’t particularly level.
Here, hold this oil lamp, too, if you don’t mind. Sixth Century B.C. Jerusalem. From the post-Exile Period. Bonus from the cistern steps deal.
Now which one of these two doors is the boiler room? It’s been a while since I’ve been down here.
The only reason I hesitate is that one of these doors leads to the “Eight Minutes in Hell” Reparative Therapy Room. [DO NOT LET A CHILD CLICK THAT LINK.] It’s something our youth group pastor core came up with a while back.
Any time we catch—or even suspect—one of the youths in our congregation of “going gay” or having premarital righteous straight sex or drinking beer, we tie them to a chair, hold their eyes open with toothpicks—I mean, hold an Exposure Therapy intervention session supervised by a licensed counselor who has had a laying on of hands by Dr. James Dobson—and, well, you get the picture.
Yes, nothing quite like a little taste of Hell to straighten out the little ones. Oh, and it works equally well on adult parishioners—especially wealthy fornicators.
Why, I had Chad from accounting run a study last week, and it was incredible to see just how much offerings rose after adulterers spent a few sessions tied down—I mean, willingly seated—in the Hell Therapy Room.
Do we have a Heaven Room too? Funny you should mention that. Mrs. Pillow and I are having a new horse ranch mansion built several counties over, and we were thinking of letting folks tour the premises for a mere $450 a pop. Should help offset the costs of the chrysolite and sardonyx pebble driveway. What do you think?
Anyway, I’m going to go ahead and let you choose which door.
I mean, I personal can’t afford to choose the wrong one. I’ve got a sermon to deliver in about 10 minutes and an angry mob of perspiring parishioners waiting upstairs. Not to mention a choir director threatening to open the service with “To Hell with the Devil” if I don’t fix the AC.
So go ahead and choose. Um, you don’t mind if I have that monkey wrench first, do you?
Oh, the doorknob is hot to the touch? No, it’s probably nothing.
By the way, is it true you were caught in flagrante delicto last week with Pat Stoker’s spouse? Yeah, I thought that was the case. So sorry. Hope you don’t get stuck with all the attorney fees in the divorce.
Just go ahead and open the door. There you go. Oh, hey, it’s Vlad and Brodus! Our Cubic Zirconia Cathedral Reparative Therapy goons–I mean, technicians. They’ll escort you to your chair.
Don’t worry; it’s for your own good. Clearly you haven’t shown enough panic lately for eternal damnation. Time to strike up a little infernal fear!
See you on the other side. And here’s a 10% off pass to the Pastor Pillow Heavenly Horse Mansion Tour.
Well, hope that parishioner learns a lesson. Now time to fix that A/C unit! I have high hopes of raising enough in Offering Three today to send the entire fam on an all-expense paid trip to Brazil. Ah, spreading the Gospel from a World Cup luxury box. I love missionary work.
Please turn in your hymnals to No. 666. Hit it, Godfather!
It’s Hell down here
and we’ve got to make a change
5. Let’s Get Ecumenical, Ecumenical!, according to Christian Post: “Pastor Joel Osteen, Mormon Senator, Other US Leaders Meet With Pope Francis in Rome”
Everybody put on their Olivia Newton John magenta spandex!
I know I shouldn’t judge. Jesus invited tax collectors to dine with him. Pope Francis invites megachurch millionaires. And if anyone can knock some sense into the core leaders of American fundamentalism, it just might be Super Pope:
“The ecumenical meeting was a part of Pope Francis’ on-going efforts to bring unity among Christians, previously stating in public remarks, ‘Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided? We must try to bring about unity.’”
Somebody please tell me, though—for nothing other than S&Gs—that there was some kind of “how big is your cupula” moment during the meeting:
Pope Francis: So I understand that you are the pastor of a large church in Texas.
Joel Osteen: Yes, your papalness. But, actually, it’s so big we call it a megachurch.
Pope Francis: I see. And how big is a megachurch. Millions?
Joel Osteen: Oh, good Lord, no! Then I really would finally be a billionaire. But surely 52,000 is nothing to sneeze at. How big are you guys?
Pope Francis: [kerchew!] 1.2 billion.
Seriously, though, dialogue has to start somewhere. Call me a sucker, but as a former fundamentalist, I am not ready to write off anyone with breath. There is always hope for reform, to see the light on the way to Damascus and for the scales to fall off.
Such things, whenever they happen, begin with conversation. (Invite them back soon, Francis.)
4. Decline in Dunking Cause for Conservative Alarm, via Baptist Press: “Baptism, Worship Declines Prompt Southern Baptist Leaders’ Prayers for ‘Renewed Passion’”
The Southern Baptist Convention recently released its “2013 Annual Church Statistical Summary.” Because, you know, this is in keeping with the traditions of the Early Church. In fact, wasn’t it just after Pentecost that St. Peter commissioned Jeff the Sandal Maker to start keeping annual statistics on baptisms and weekly worship attendance?
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