Sunday, October 10, 2010

HOW TO BE A FANTABULOUS MODERN CHRISTIAN, A PIECE OF FICTION WITH A BIG POINT

NOTE: Please understand that this piece of fiction God gave me is a serious indictment of modern American Christianity—the kind we are seeing all around us right now.  The kind that is being exported to many other countries of the world, and is taking hold in places like Africa and other poor continents and countries.  This is a spoof, but has a point.  And it is God’s point:  read Jeremiah Chapters 8 and 9 for God’s viewpoint.

A. Brother
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

How to Be a
FANTABULOUS MODERN CHRISTIAN
THE HANDBOOK

 A Proposal for Publication

June 12, 2012

Bruno Sweeney, President
Good Word Publishing
19 Deep Knee Bend Road
Village of Bounty, NY  00613

My Dear Bruno:
          From Dudley, on sabbatical in St. Moritz, Switzerland, greetings and hearty hugs from me, your good Christian friend and most successful author.
          As a glad participant in the simply ‘fantabulous’ world of modern American Christianity, I must put down on paper, well, actually in a document on my laptop (!), the fabulous saga of the modern churches.  I haven’t floated it out there yet, but I’m thinking there would be several publishers, (maybe you as first choice!), just dying for material this fresh, and so very marketable!  Text me your response, or maybe, if you have concerns or comments, give me an email.  I simply think the world of your opinion, and respect deeply the fact you’ve made me lots of money on my previous books!
          Speaking of my previous books, I realize they were Christian fiction, but it is actually this experience writing about fantasies created within my own mind that qualifies me to write about these spiritual matters.  People in the churches need encouragement, and dreams to follow.  In this day of terror, along with economic and political turmoil, Christians need hope!
          Oh, my brother Bruno, how far we have come!  Tears come to my eyes when I read in the Bible, that good old book, how people had to live, and what they had to endure in those days.  I’m so glad we didn’t live back then.  What a different life that would have been.  They actually crucified people for being Christians.  They got beaten, and whipped and all kinds of terrible things, like we see in R-rated action movies today.  I can’t believe the faith even survived this long with that kind of treatment going on!
          I thought I’d put down my thoughts on the great and wonderful state of the Christian churches now, because we certainly have advanced a lot, haven’t we?  Those poor people had no idea how to walk their Christian walk, or they wouldn’t have put up for one minute with all that mistreatment!  No, they just didn’t get it. 
          (Just a quick thought on the marketing--perhaps, my dear brother Bruno and sister Sissy, you could read this account to the people in your church, and give them a survey to measure their approval.  This could be like a first focus group to gauge probable public buying habits!) 
          We modern, fantabulous Christians have so much more to look forward to than those tragic characters in the New Testament, and we don’t want them to start thinking that this Christian life is something difficult and ugly, or they might jump ship to the Scientologists, or maybe one of the New Age groups, or even (shudder!) maybe the Mormons.  There are so many cults and false religions out there today!
          We must defend our Christian ways with all the energy we can muster.  And that energy shouldn’t be hard to muster, as we have such great physical fitness options now (how’s that new personal trainer working out by the way?), and this new diet I’m on has given me more oomph than I’ve had in….forever!

          Well, to start with, we need to emphasize that fantabulous modern Christians don’t need to worry about this thing called persecution.
          We live in a free society, and we can worship as we please.  That’s because our forefathers here in America were very smart, and full of faith, and put in laws that made sure we got to build our churches and give our money and create any Christian organization in any way we wanted to.  And get tax exemption, too!  See what I mean about how righteous these men were?  Christians had to put up with so much unpleasant government interference over the centuries, until finally we got smart and got our own nation so we could have real freedom from all that!
          So let’s get this straight, being a Christian means never having to say you’re sorry.  I mean, wasn’t that old movie with Ryan O’Neal great?  Tears, tears, and more tears.  Buckets!  But anyway, you know what I mean.  We shouldn’t be the kind of people that make big waves.  We are in the world but not of it, and I just think that means if we’re in this world we need to blend in, not stick out.  No animal hair suits, puhhlease! 
          That Baptist fellow could have used some lessons from our leaders today.  Our modern preachers not only get respect from the masses who watch or listen to them, but even get appointed to sit on boards of corporations, and Senate panels to investigate this or that.  They even advise Presidents when they’re about to be impeached!  Now that’s progress! 
          Let me think…head on platter, or platter of appetizers, which would be more preferable?  That question was too easy, so we’ll have to think of some harder ones for the kids, but you get the idea of the tremendous educational opportunity this is.

          As an illustration of how we want to recast the gospel in the light of today’s realities, I’ve written a little revision of that horribly graphic section in Hebrews 11 that I wouldn’t let my sons or daughters read until they were at least…well, maybe never!  Just too much!  It talks about those poor martyr people in the old days, who, granted, were really brave and had lots of faith, but were not quite as smart as they might have been.  (I’m going to emphasize education in this book a great deal).  Now just you read this more up-to-date description and see how much more attractive the gospel will be when this gets out:

DUDLEY’S VERSION OF HEBREWS 11:

          “The Modern Christians went about in luxury vehicles and wore the latest in designer clothing-- affluent, influential, fully admired and respected, and treated like royalty by the world—because the world thought them worthy of honor due to their success. 
          They lived in large and spacious custom homes in the finest neighborhoods, or in nice tract homes in acceptable developments, or in downtown classy walkup condos, wandering the best shopping venues, eating in the restaurants they liked, and attending church in their state-of-the-art entertainment complex complete with recreational facilities.  They were commended by one another for their Christian lifestyles, and for their faithful tithing that enabled the church to build more and better facilities for those who chose to worship there.  They especially commended each other because out of their excess and abundance they managed to give a small amount once each month toward missions and the poor, though it didn’t affect their hearts or their standards of living, and though they personally didn’t take any responsibility for the brethren around them, because of course there were very smart government programs that did all that.
          They could live these lifestyles because they obeyed God and built their lives on the rock, and especially were very wise in their choices of financial advisors.  Also they lived by the biblical principles that say hard work is important, and that cleanliness is next to godliness.  They knew that their prosperity meant they were doing the right things for God, because of course that’s why God set up free enterprise in this country.  They knew that God liked them because they had lifted themselves up by their own bootstraps, and had succeeded in their jobs, and their kids weren’t into drugs big time, at least not yet, cross their fingers. 
          Some of them were movie producers, or actors, and made sure they put in lines like, “God works in mysterious ways” and other Christian phrases, so that many would be brought to the truth.  And in the hotel rooms where clandestine love affairs were taking place, there were even shots of Gideon Bibles laying on the nightstand when the Christian prop guy could get one in.  These are the risks one takes to be a Christian these days, but somebody’s got to do it. 
          They accepted the accolades of other men, because to them this confirmed that they were obeying God.  To them, faith meant church attendance, and Bible study, and tithing.  To them faith meant they listened to Christian music instead of worldly music.  To them faith meant upholding those great traditions  of doing church that had been handed down to them by their very wise forefathers, and after all, could millions of Christians in this country get it wrong?  No way.  Statistically impossible.
          To them, being a Christian was a “belief-system” and a “set of biblical principles” that really worked in life, and not a Narrow Gate which few would find.  If few would find it, then what use was it?  They realized that a true religion needs to attract the large crowds, and that Christianity was falling behind with all that stuff about poverty and sacrifice.
          They especially made sure they didn’t talk much about the Bible’s more unseemly passages—you know, those that talk about “dying to self” and “giving up everything to follow Christ,” and how you didn’t love God unless you shared with anyone in need.   Especially that communistic fluff in Acts about the early Christians sharing their wealth, and giving freely to one another.  Dangerous, subversive, and of course, very out of date.  After all, those people had to share, they were poor, didn’t live in a land of opportunity, and their government was pretty backward and didn’t even have food stamps or anything.  They thanked God for the enlightened teachers in their churches who knew that stuff was just overstatement used by Jesus and the apostles to make sure we all knew how lucky we were not to have to live the kind of rough lives they did!
          And most of all, to these strong, capable, entitled Fantabulous Modern Christians, faith meant a guarantee of Heaven after death, which was certainly worth all the trouble and tribulation they were experiencing as followers of Jesus in this life.”

          Well, that’s just for starters.  I’ll be working on subsequent sections of my book between spa treatments and afternoon skiing.  Oh, and by the way, when you and Sissy come over to join us in the Swiss Alps next month, we’ll hit this new, incredibly great restaurant called “Chez Apostle” we’ve been frequenting.  It’s got the most adventurous New Christian cuisine, inspired by the books of the Old Testament.  Many are being influenced for the truth, as each section of the menu has a biblical reference to foods of that era.

          To your best, most ‘fantabulous’ Christian life now,
          Dudley

© 2010 Narrowgate Publishing, A. Brother. http://narrowgatepub.blogspot.com
                 
                                                                                       

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