The New Church in Town
(Based on a true story)
“You should come and try it. You might like it,” Karl said – with the same persuasive sweetness that had once convinced Michael to join the army with his high school friend.
Home now after a long deployment overseas, Michael was having a hard time adjusting to home life. Old family relationships were a bit strained – and the church he used to find solace in was feeling empty.
“I guess you’re right – it’s not like I’m getting a whole lot out of my church anymore. I sit there and just feel nothing. Sometimes I even feel worse when I’m surrounded by all those people saying how happy they are. And I’m really just not. I’m not getting a lot of help from this religion right now.”
“So it’s settled,” Karl said: “you come try out my church tomorrow. I really think you’re going to dig this…it’s nothing like anything you’re used to.”
“Can you tell me a little more about it?” Michael asked.
“You really have to experience it for yourself. But for starters- you know all that talk about Almighty God and how people need to fear him and keep in line or He’ll be after them? Well that’s definitely not the God we believe in…”
“In fact, the God we worship wants people to be happy. And I mean really happy.”
“Well that’s not that different than what people say in my church as well, Karl – so what’s the big difference?”
“Yeah – I know. I know they talk and talk about the happiness you can have one day – a pie in the sky that’s supposedly “worth waiting for.” I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about being happy now. In this very moment. Ever thought of that?”
“All right…” Michael said, “so tell me more. I’m interested. It’s true that I get tired of hearing everyone talking about being happy one day, when today really does feel so awful.”
“That’s right. So here’s the thing, Michael. One reason that people in your religion struggle to be happy is they’re always beating themselves down about the body: ‘you can’t eat this’ or ‘you can’t feel this’ or ‘you can’t experience this’ or ‘you can’t wear this.’ You know what I’m talking about…”
“That’s where our church really gets good. We throw all that out the door.” Karl continued, “For us, if God wants people to be happy, wouldn’t that be crazy to close off all the ways our bodies can feel pleasure? I mean – if you really think about it. That’s true craziness.”
“So go on. What do you mean?”
“We’re all about having a good time. Using our bodies, our emotions and other people around us – to feel good. Does that sound ‘evil’ or anything? Of course not.”
“It’s actually beautiful,” Carlos offered without skipping a beat, starting to become lost in a reverie as he painted the picture: “Imagine a church where people aren’t scared of what they do with their bodies anymore, Michael. A church where we can appreciate the body – in all its exquisite richness beauty. And where we can do it together.”
“That’s what we’re about – and why I’m excited to have you try out our services.”
“Wow. That sounds…um…different than what I’m used to.”
“What do I have to wear?”
“Nothing special. In fact – and here’s the crazy thing. You don’t even have to leave your home. The Founders have figured out a way to broadcast services right through your internet. Anywhere you’d like.”
“All you have to have is high speed internet or cable.”
“Perfect. We had our installed last week.”
“All right. Awesome. Then we’re in business.”
“One thing I didn’t tell you. It’s free at first, but if you want to continue the Founders ask for a…a contribution. It will cost you.”
“Oh, that’s no biggie. My church does the same thing. I’ll bet my family forked out a fortune in the tithing and collection dollars we gave up.”
“Good. All right.”
“So let’s go to the website. It’s time to get you going. You know all the mumbo jumbo about passion through the holy spirit?”
“Yeah – well I still kind of believe in the Spirit.”
“That’s fine. But buckle up, because you’re in for the ecstasy and spirit of your life. Type in the search engine XXX…”
Sound wacky? Out-of-this-world?
The mammoth media culture loves to poke fun at organized religion for how it invariably invites people to love something, to trust something and to become committed to something.
Supposedly, these are silly things to ask of people. And supposedly no one else but organized religion does that nowadays, right?
As explored earlier, Americans are clearly being invited on every side to love, adore and commit themselves to other things – many other things. But especially one thing.
In ancient times, pagan religion competed with the Christian faith by inviting people to come to groves. At these groves, they would uncover people who showed their bodies and had sex together.
The “lift” from these experiences was enough to become a real draw – leading many away from their own faith, to literally worship at the altar of sex.
But of course, this religion no longer exists in our day, right?
While literally no one would talk about pornography this way, think about it for a second: The rapture. The ritual. The reverence. The imagery. The time and money commitment. The heart and mind and soul required.
And the brilliance! No groves or physical gathering needed. In proxy, people can witness and experience the rush of sex as if witnessing it in person….and almost as if doing it themselves.
“Feeling pain? No need to feel it! You can get out of it anytime. Anywhere. Just tune in. Find a screen. We’ll make you feel better.
SO glad you’re here. How wonderful to have a chance to come together and celebrate our redemption. Relief. Freedom from this bondage.
We warn you: THEY are going to try and convince you to feel bad about this, to see it as ‘unnatural’ and guilt you into stopping…Some have walked away from the joy we offer – persuaded to follow a path of misery that they promise will one day ‘pay off.’
You know the truth. As you’ve found for yourself, the truth is that redemption is available NOW. Just a click away. And you can feel less. Feel more. Or nothing at all.
No more in pain. ‘All tears wiped away.’ Gone. No more.
Can you say redemption?
And it gets even better: The ecstasy of your own body and hormones – the feeling that comes over the brain. Rush. Overwhelm. Escape.
What elation. What transcendence!”
Freed from the chains of the surrounding culture, throwing off the shackles of all the should’s and ought’s. Free! To be yourself! To go and do what you want. To feel what you want. To enjoy what you want – anything you want.”
In all these ways, people are being offered in these Virtual Groves a kind of quasi salvation (see Satan’s Plan of Salvation). How about seeing this church for what it is?
And for those who are tired of the sheer emptiness and utter depletion of paying devotion to this Great and Abominable Church – maybe seeing it for what it is will help us LEAVE. And do it for GOOD.