Sunday, October 22, 2006


So yesterday I finally settled down to write a monologue for the Christmas show that my theatre company is doing in December. In all honesty, I wasn’t thrilled to do it. I’m not much of a holiday sentiment gal. Thanksgiving is usually a holiday where I can write for four days straight, and Christmas with the family is, well, Christmas with the family. There were several years when there were arguments about whether we should bother to put up a tree or not, because Dad the Great Stoic Wonder thought it was too much of a hassle. I can be plenty sentimental about a lot of things – Twilight Singers songs, classic Muppet Show sketches, sunsets on the Santa Monica pier – but Christmas isn’t on the list.

Nevertheless, I had to write something, my actor is patiently waiting for material to rehearse with, and I decided to do the thing that you’re supposed to do as a Christian Living For God – which is to take every opportunity you have to utilize your gifts (i.e. writing) and give it back to God. This is awesome if you’re a lazy person disinclined to write a Christmas monologue.

So I start by praying So, um, God. I’m supposed to write, and I don’t really want to, and I don’t know what I’m going to write, so if You’d like to smack me with some sort of inspiration that I can turn into an opportunity to glorify You, feel free to commence with the smacking. And then promptly flop on the bed to nap-I-mean-brainstorming.

But lo and behold if it didn’t work in the way that all the pastors bellow from the pulpit that it would. I got the inspiration to double check the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke to see what role the Angel Of The Lord plays. And as it turns out, that Angel (who Luke names as Gabriel) does a lot of talking to the major players in the story.

Boom, I’m off and running. Sketching out a monologue for Gabriel, showing up to break the news to Mary that’s she’s pregnant with God’s kid. And then having to take a few sidebars with God, since Mary’s not reacting well to the news. And Gabriel likes to tell really bad Bible jokes. And whines and pleads for God to do the rest of the talking, since Gabriel’s botching the whole thing, especially when he lets slip that Mary’s son is going to be crucified when he’s 33. Ooops.

I realize that it’s been quite some time since I’ve written anything. Like, actual writing. I’ve been outlining plenty of ideas, but writing dialogue? Running gags? Haven’t done that since Emily and Donovan did their cancer tango back in July. It felt good. Real good. Like, yeah dumbass. You’re a writer. This is what you’re supposed to do.

And when I’m nearing the end of the monologue, I hit a small snag. Gabriel’s trying to explain to Mary how the birth, life, and death of her son and God’s kid is going to redeem the whole world. Except that’s frustratingly vague, and no audience is gonna buy it. I wouldn’t buy it if an angel was telling it to me, I’d be all pissed off and querulous and saying “What the hell does that mean! Redeem the world? Wha-huh?”

And it’s here that I realize that I actually can’t put into words why Jesus had to die for the world. I know it’s got something to do with taking the sins of the world unto himself, how someone without sin had to pay the price for us all and there goes that frustratingly vague button again. I’m not writing for a Christian audience, I’m writing for an audience, and as such, frustratingly vague Christian-ese answers aint gonna cut it.

So I hit Google, a writer’s best friend and constant companion. I type the phrase “Why did Jesus have to die?”

And this beauty of a website pops up.

If you’ve ever done a cursory tour of Christian websites on the web, a large majority of them are Coo Coo for CocoPuffs. They don’t get it, they don’t understand that spouting various Bible verses to make their point isn’t going to connect with a potential audience. Run the ropes all you want to, I’m a Christian, and sentences like “Friend, Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross to pay the penalty for YOUR sin!” don’t connect with me.

So I’m doing a second and a half scroll down, and then I hit the bottom of the page. And they’re asking you three sentences, and you’re supposed to check the box that applies to you.

I reject Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior
I want to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior
I have already received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

Ooooooh boy.

Ooooh, I SO wanna check the reject box. I WANNA CHECK THE REJECT BOX! You can’t put up a reject box like that and not have people check it! You’re just BEGGING people to check it! That’s like putting on a sandwich board that blares YOU ALL ARE GOING TO HELL YOU SODOMITES and walking down Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood! People are gonna smack you, and you deserve to be smacked if you do that.

Seriously, what’s the point of checking the “I have already received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior” box? If I’m already saved, I’m not checking yer little box, Sparky. Why would I? So we can dance in the light and delight of the already saved? WHOO HOO! I need my spiritual validation from a scary fundamentalist language web page!

Nope, nope, I’m checking the reject box. But wait! What am I doing! Doesn’t this fall under the Denying My Lord? Matthew 10 verse 32-33 (I had to Google this one too) “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before men. But whoever disowns me before men. I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”

Ruh-roh. If you check that box, you are officially denying to the Scary Fundamentalist Language Web Page and the Universe In General that you reject Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. And you’ll go straight to hell. You’re not gonna be able to stand in front of God and explain that you really DID believe, you just had to check the box to see what would happen, because there’s no point in putting a box up there and not checking it. You will take the express train to the Lake O’ Fire, you will.

No I won’t. Yes, you will. No, I won’t. Yes, you will. No, I WON’T!

Dear God, quick sidebar here. I have to check this box, okay? I have to. Who’s the idiot who puts a box up like that on their webpage? What does it accomplish? I have to find out. I HAVE TO FIND OUT. Do you know that me checking this box does not in any way shape or form mean that I deny Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, and I will proclaim it loudly on my blog so everyone’s absolutely clear that AMY THE WRITER BELIEVES IN JESUS CHRIST BUT SHE’S CHECKING THE BOX BECAUSE SHE HAS TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CHECK THE BOX! You know this, don’t you? Are we cool? I love Jesus, Jesus is cool. I’m checking the box so nobody else has to. I’ll take this one for the team, I will. Please understand. Please laugh with me about this later. Thank you, thank you, thank you, amen.

I check the box. Here, you can click this God approved link and it’ll take you to the same page without you checking a nasty little DENY JESUS box.

Big red headline I REJECT JESUS CHRIST. Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

And I do another second and a half scroll down. Oh, the reasons they’re giving for why you SHOULDN’T reject Jesus, oh they have no meaning. “The Bible says over and over how much God loves you — but you still refuse His love?” What does it mean? What does it MEAN? Give me a concrete example of what it means for God to love me?

Ah, a slew of Bible verses. And back we go to hitting the frustratingly vague button.

Hey! The bottom of the page has MORE BOXES TO CHECK!

Would you like to change your mind and receive the Lord Jesus Christ?

I reject Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior
I want to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior


Now we go to this page. THE TRUTH ABOUT HELL. Yipppeeeeeeeeeeee!

Talks all about what hell is like, with a bunch of circumstantial evidence, in red and yellow text because red and yellow equals SATAN, don’tcha know.

YOU CHOOSE HELL! Boogity boogity boogity BOO! Have I scared you enough to choose Jesus yet? DON’T BE CAUGHT DEAD WITHOUT JESUS! BLAAAAAAAAAH! BLEGHITY BLEGHITY BLEGHITY!

But alas, my fun little game has come to an end, because the bottom of this page doesn’t have anymore boxes to check, it has places where you can tell your friends about this webpage. Rats. I thought for sure there’d be another box to check, and if you act now, you’d get a free set of Ginzu knives that you can stick into your heart if you continue to reject Jesus Christ!


My God, I haven’t laughed so much in weeks.


Danielle said...

oh, you make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing. 3/4 of the way down the "hell" page the author cites an article from a "well respected Finland newspaper" entitled "researchers record the screams of the damned."

Which is actually an article taken for the Weekly World News. You know, that fine publication at the supermarket checkout line that chronicled the adventures of BatBoy in the early 90s?

I just know the author of this webpage has a deep freeze in his garage that contains dismembered bodies.

Carlen said...

Thank you for taking one for the team and fully checking this out for us. I would NOT have had the guts to check the box. Nope. Couldn't have done it.

Allison said...

Ha! Who says Christians bring on our own bad reputation? :)

Sounds like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books I read in jr. high, except somehow more high stakes but less exciting.

RichardT said...

Oh, Amy. You make the world a happier (read: saner) place to live. I wonder what a Jewish version of this site would be like?

"Click here if you keep kosher". "Don't you want to keep kosher?" "Oy, you don't keep kosher?? God is going to punish you something good! An upset stomach you should have! And a goiter like a matzoh ball! Look what this is doing to your mother!!"

Tracy said...

Oh my! Clickety click click. You made my day.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! Again Amy the Writer, you crack me up and make the point I often try to make, but it's less funny when I do it.