Monday, July 27, 2009

the american (evangelical) dream

I had a dream last night. Jesus (the Jesus of the book of Revelation) stood in front of me and addressed me in like manner as he addressed the seven churches of Asia Minor long ago. He said:

“I am pleased with the state of the church in America. But there are some things you lack:

“For starters: bigger buildings, finer buildings. What America needs are church buildings that can hold more people. These buildings should be equipped with comfortable, yet still fashionable seats. Strive to fit out your church with its own coffee shop, book store, and self-flushing toilets. The restrooms should also have paper towel dispensers that are equipped with motion sensors.

“The sanctuaries should have large screens—at least two for every 500 seats so that everyone can see clearly. Use the MediaShout program so that the projection backgrounds move while worship singing is taking place. I know the MediaShout program is expensive but it is worth the money. This will keep people entertained should praise time get boring. If you don’t know how to use MediaShout, at least try to use Powerpoint.

“On the note of screens and video projection, you should try to project the words from a room behind the screen. I know this will require you to spend extra money on a fancier screen and the construction of a special projection room, but that should be okay because I will later give you instructions regarding Capital Fundraising Campaigns.

“Regarding the responsibilities of the individuals that attend these churches, I have this to say: Keep up with the times. The spread of the gospel depends on it. If you don’t have a large plasma screen TV yet, try to purchase one in the next year. If you have one car, try to purchase another in the next year (or trade in your old car for a newer, better one—preferably one that’s about the size of Rhode Island). If you have a small house, set yourself a five-year plan to purchase a bigger house in a nicer area of town. Spend most of your time fixing up your house. Keep it as nice as you can. Keep your life as calm and hassle-free as possible.

“You will also need many personal gadgets to spread the gospel. The list includes but is not limited to the following: a Blackberry, an iPhone (or mobile phone but preferably an iPhone), an iPod (or mp3 player but preferably an iPod), a Wii console (or Playstation), an air hockey table, a ping pong table, a pool table, a foosball table, a dart board with electronic score-keeper, and a gas grill (if you cannot afford one, use a charcoal grill but every house is to have its own grill). I do grant you permission to borrow power tools from your neighbor, but I might change my mind about this in a few years. I’m still thinking about it.

“There is one other gadget every household must have and I have purposely set this gadget apart from the others to stress the importance of having one so that all of you can spread the gospel more effectively. The gadget in question is a gun. Every household must have its own gun. It doesn’t need to be a double-barreled shot gun (though this would be fine); it could just be a small pistol. Basically, you want a way to kill intruders—or magpies—more easily. Purchase a license to carry the gun with you in a concealed fashion. This will keep you safer.

“Guns are important to American Christianity because America is a country with Christian origins and the American Constitution grants the right to bear arms. In defending the Constitution you are therefore defending the Christian faith. Because of this, American Christians should spend much of their time opposing gun-control laws (when you are not working on your houses). Doing this will help the spread of the gospel. In general: defend the American Constitution whenever you have the chance. Whatever you do, do not let the American Constitution collapse because as the Constitution falls so does the Christian faith.

“Guns are also important because America has become a scary place in which to live. More guns will help stabilize America, making it a less scary place.

“On that note, American Christians should be afraid of what is going to happen to the country now that President Obama holds office. Fear has great value for your spiritual growth; hence, the more you can cultivate fear about President Obama, the better.

“Therefore, let each Christian resolve to spend much of their time talking about Obama and opposing him. They should NOT pray for him because he is beyond helping. Further, if you find any among you that agree with some of the things Obama does, you should associate with that brother or sister no longer.

“In any case, remember: strive to acquire bigger and better church buildings, bigger and better houses, more gadgets and, above all, guns. In fact, to foster the proliferation of firearms in America, I advise the leaders of American churches (but do not command them) to host a Bring-Your-Gun-To-Church Day each year. This is why you will need bigger and better facilities because, should you choose to observe this special annual festival (on or near July 4), you will need plenty of space to have a shooting range and space to conduct gun safety classes so people can learn the saying: ‘Own A Gun, But Please Be Safe About It’.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

“Oh, one other thing: ignore the poor. They got themselves in that spot through their own irresponsibility, so they can just rot there for all I care. If they got that way because of sin, do not (I repeat DO NOT) help them. They’ve just got to learn their lesson the hard way.

“Love, Jesus.”

I awoke from my dream, smiling and strangely comforted because I sensed we were already doing a pretty good job fulfilling Jesus’ words. So, I breathed a prayer: “Thank you, Lord, for this reassuring vision. Thank you.”

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