Do you remember when we were really humming?

I found this on an old CD, from an era long ago–Episcopalians and The Decade of Evangelism.

Since this has been declared the decade of evangelism, it seems only right to parody some of the ways not to do evangelism in the Episcopal Church.  The revivalist tradition that has evolved on American soil is rich in overripe material for harvest.  So, in the tradition of great revivalists that includes George Whitefield, Charles G. Finney, Dwight L. Moody, and Billy Sunday, let’s join the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner Crusade in progress at St. Mark’s Cathedral.

We’re just in time for a testimonial by Knute Emory, linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, as requested by Bishop Warner.

“Yeah, Vince, we always celebrate Rite I or Morning Prayer in the locker room before Sunday football games.  Some of the guys give me a hard time about it, but I don’t mind suiting up as an acolyte. It’s a tough assignment, but, hey, somebody has to light the candles.

“I like to think about a football game in terms of the Sermon on the Mount:
`As men would do unto you, do so to them, harder!’  Turn them on their cheeks.  It can get pretty rough out there, but when you start the game with prayer, you know the best way to make a Christian out of a Dallas Cowboy or a Minnesota Viking is to knock the wind out of him.”

Thanks, Knute, for that dynamic message.  We know you practice while you
preach.  Now it’s time for a song from our transvestite tenor, Beverly George Faye.  Bev will be appearing in drag for her song.  We Episcopalians are a tolerant people.

“Why do the nations so furiously rage to gether?  Why do the people imagine a
vain thing?…”

Bev that was just great.  Your voice has been coming along swell since you started taking steroids.

My text for this evening is from the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel according to Luke: `If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’  We are on the verge of an important era in the church.  But, sure as I’m standing here, many of our great cathedrals are empty, or not filled to capacity on Sunday mornings.  The very stones are crying out… but nobody, or, at least, not many are there to hear them.

I’ve discussed this problem wherever I’ve traveled with this great traveling salvation show.  Just last week, I was talking with George Bush…  No, not the president, the other Busch, the one who makes beer.  He comes to church more often.  Anyway, George was explaining to me how their advertising has had to change over the past twenty years or so.  If you want to reach the average American, nowadays, you can’t be subtle.  It’s going to take a little different approach than the methods familiar to most Episcopalians.  Brother Busch is willing to put on a bash like you see on his television beer commercials–you know what I mean, Knute.  He supplys the beer, we supply our cathedral.  A kegger at the cathedral.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  Do I a hear a second from any of the members of the Vestry here present?

When our celebrants have gotten in the spirit a little, we’ll have Peter Hallock hit them with something rousing from the organ loft–This Little Light of Mine with guitar accompaniment, or something like that.

“The theological presentation of the evening will be a brief analysis of Julius Wellhausen’s source-strata theory of the Pentateuch.  The strong Hegelian influence in Wellhausen’s work is apparent to most post-Wittgenstein scholars.  Still, we do have to deal with the multifarious strands of a tapestry which has become our scripture.  For simplicity these traditions will be refered to as J, E, P, & D…

“But I think some of you are dozing off out there.  We certainly don’t want every head bowed and every eye closed all around this great auditorium.  It must be time for an offering.

“Dr. Wolff, could you give us a rendition of All to Jesus I Surrender?  I’ll be
singing rather loudly and obnoxiously into the microphone.  If you can’t stand it, just pay as you leave, and we can all go home.

The ushers accept MasterCard and Visa, if you can’t spare the green stuff this week.  Then we’ll have a selection from the choir:  Take It to the Limit, One More Time.  Another of George’s suggestions.  Episcopalians are just too staid.  Let it all hang out, Baby.

“All to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all.”

Get those checkbooks ready.  Pencils in the pew rack.  We’ll fill in the amount.  Also available from the ushers, souvenir program booklets, four dollars.  Pictures of the choir in gold lamais jumpsuits–yeah–and the cathedral as it would have looked, if everyone had kept up their pledges.  “I surrender, I surrender all.”

Keep those cards and letters coming.  Also in our souvenir booklet you’ll find a
full-page autographed picture of yours truly–with a new perm.  Just call me Vince.

Now for another of our special guests, the first feminist bishop in five thousand years of the Christian Church.  Let’s have a big hand for our theologian in residence and the Bishop of Enumclaw Diocese, K-K-K-Katie Harrisimer.

“I just have one thing to say:  I’m going to make it rough on you guys.”

Thanks so much, Katie, for being brief.  Give me back that microphone, dammit.

Get the altar call music going, Doc.  I don’t care how awful it is.

“Just as I am without one plea…”

They’re coming in folks, from all around this great auditorium.  The cathedral is full for the first time since the last anti-war demonstration.  The stones are crying out.  The phones are ringing.  The cash registers are ringing.  The alarms are ringing.  It’s the police, this is a raid.  Get away from my microphone cord.  Give me that…  The sirens are…  Cut that out.  Now wait a minute.
Hallalulia.  What a time we’re having…  Let go of that.  What the?…

  1. #1 by shrinkingthecamel on July 11, 2011 - 3:22 AM

    Funny. The football player testimonial is classic. Takes me back to my Baptist Evangelical days, in high school when we got suckered into to doing a telemarketing evangelical campaign. Can you imagine? Calling people with a script and telemarketing Jesus to them? And then ringing up the results? That would have made a good parody, too.

  2. #2 by shrinkingthecamel on July 11, 2011 - 3:22 AM

    PS I really like your new blog design. Yay WordPress!

  3. #3 by morfarrickard on August 4, 2014 - 11:00 AM

    Thus says the Lord about the prophets who lead my people astray: They promise peace and happiness as long as they have something to chew; but they declare war against everyone who does not stuff something their gaping traps. (Micah 3:5-6)

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