God finally sticks it to the Rockettes.

Not every religion is doing so well in these horrifically materialist times.

We haven’t seen any Jehova’s Witnesses here in the Pond for longer than the Men’s Wearhouse has been advertising on TV.

And even the Salvation Army seems to have become mercenary, refusing to take away some of my fine clothing, deeming it not good enough for their poor.

So please raise a hosanna to the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale.

This southern Florida city is a place where so many good people go to die.

It was refreshing to hear, therefore, that God is not as interested in the Hollywood Writers strike as you might think.

The First Baptist Church has employed Broadway stage producers to deliver a Christmas pageant that makes Jesus Christ Superstar look like some 70s has-been trying to make a quick buck selling pot to high schoolers.

They have spent $1.3 million, a veritable feeding of the five thousand (well, six hundred in the cast, to be precise) to bring alive the Christmas story in a way that has Cecil B. DeMille wishing he had invested in cryogenics.

The Church’s Rev. Mike Jeffries put things in appropriate perspective:

“We are having to compete against many theatrical things around the country, whether it’s MTV or the Rockettes.”

Why is this so hard for people to understand? Two thousand years ago, there wasn’t much information about anything. People were still prepared to worship effigies, animals, wheels.

Today, churches have to fight them over here so that they don’t have to fight them over there.

If the weapons of today are music, fashion and star power, then churches have to feel like Neil Diamond’s Love At the Greek.

Or Genesis at the HP Center in San Jose.

What can possibly be wrong about spending the hard-earned collection plate coffers on an experience that will lift up the sternest facelifted Floridian head?

As the estimable Cat E. Abrams, a First Baptist churchgoer who offered her views to ABC.com, explained: “I attend the Church. I agree it is a lot of money to spend on a paegent (sic)..how many of us can say that we show 1000 people to Christ and salvation in 3 weeks? Many of the people who attend the (sic) paegent are Jewish or Catholic or non-practicing and wouldn’t fathom stepping inside a Protestant Church, but having such an elaborate production is something of interest and draws people to the Church where Jesus can touch their life.”

Wouldn’t Cat E. Abrams be an improvement on Paula Abdul?

While Paula really doesn’t have much of a clue about the role that marketing plays in modern entertainment, Cat E. is channeling the spirits of Metro, Goldwyn and Mayer.

She understands that the role of the Baptist Church is to convert those Hollywood Jews, Catholics and non-believers who are polluting our media and our society.

If more megachurches had the marketing acumen of the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale we would have more wholesome fare such as High School Reunion and less sinful entertainment such as Mean Girls and the CBS News with Katie Couric.

Cat E. understands the sheer redundancy of preaching to the converted:

“If just one person comes to Christ through this performance, it is worth it.  It is everyone’s duty to feed the hungry and help those less fortunate, but the Church also has a duty to show the lost to Christ.”

I will admit that we in the Pond feel lost on a daily basis. And we are prepared to accept Cat E’s offer of $1.3 million in order to effect (no, no, not affect, no. Be gone, Satan) our conversion to the righteous way.

I understand that there are two types of Baptists.

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Firstly, we have the General Baptists who escaped persecution in England for the Netherlands. General Baptists believe that Christ died for everyone.

Then there are the Particular Baptists, who believe that He only died for the Elect. The Chosen Few, in other words. The Chosen Few, one might assume, comprise only those who call themselves Particular Baptists.

Well, we are happy to become either.

In fact, we hereby open our hearts to the highest bidder.

Which megachurch is willing to bid for this poor PondDweller’s soul?

Please speak to my agents, Cat E. Abrams and Associates.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “God finally sticks it to the Rockettes.

  1. cat e. abrams

    I’m not sure what to say…But I feel like I should say something since you have quoted me so often….

    In regards to the pageant, no one forces anyone to watch the pageant… it’s their own choice. If you come to the pageant and decide that you want to follow Jesus, what harm is there in that? I would also like to point out that the pageant is paid for by those who attend, not those who pass around the collection plate. Everyone who buys a ticket is paying for the pageant….. so if you, Chris, choose to see the pageant (of your own free will) and buy a ticket, and by doing do, pay for a pageant that you are watching… is that Christianity gone bad?

    And to be honest, the role of the church IS, in part, to teach non-Christians about Jesus. Jesus’ last words on earth were “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20).

    The church is to feed the hungry and take care of the sick, and to teach others about Christ.

    I’m not writing to defend the church…. First Baptist is a place that I choose to go to learn and worship and fellowship. My religion is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I can do that anywhere. How can you say that I believe that Jesus is only for the elect? I believe that God wants EVERYONE! You, me, Christian, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, Baptist, etc. I believe that is He is the creator of everyone and everything. That He loves us more than anything and yearns to have a relationship with you and with me and with everyone else. Where do you come to think that I believe that God is just for Baptists? I never said that you have to attend our church to be Christian… you have to believe in Jesus Christ to be called a ‘Christian’ but that is just a title. I just want you, and everyone else, to know who Christ is, that He died because he loves you and that he wants to be a part of your life. If you choose to come to a show and in the process, hear that message, why is that wrong?

  2. thespine11

    Oh, Cat E,

    How lovely of you to write.

    But please read my words carefully.

    I did not accuse YOU of believing that Jesus is only for the elect.

    I simply wrote that this was one of the core beliefs of certain Baptists. And I’ve met some of them.

    You’re right. God, should he exist, ought to want everyone. I just don’t think that is true of all Christians, though. Some really enjoy their own exclusivity rather too much.

    I’m not too fond of your using the phrase “teaching non-Christians about Jesus.” That sounds like non-Christians are, well, dumb. That they need to be taught. As if they don’t know anything about Christianity. As if they don’t see some of the things done in its name.

    Nah, some people just don’t buy your stuff, Cat E. Which is why, perhaps, your priest figured he needed to go all Hollywood.

    Sneak in the back door, as it were.

    If Christian is just a title, then Baptist is just a title. So let’s get rid of these titles and just be nice to each other. What do you say?

    As for the Broadway money, I would love to believe that the $1.3 million is coming straight out of ticket sales.

    But I also know producers.

    They like to be paid upfront. Which means you must have had amazing advance sales. Or not.

    Maybe some of the upfront money did come out of the collection plate. Have a think about it.

    What is funny (and I really do think the Pond focuses on the funny side of life) is that you need to spend so much money to put on a show that gets your message across.

    Don’t you think that’s funny?

    I mean, Jesus was a carpenter.

    Not the Carpenters.

    Chris

    PS Please let me know how many conversions you get for your $1.3 million.

    I mean, you know, that $1.3 million might have been better spent elsewhere.

    The Marlins need some decent pitching, for example.

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