Recently I wrote a skit for a dinner theater collaboration with two other churches in the Indianapolis area. At some point in the writing process I found myself focusing on all the negative stereotypes around churches this season and found it therapeutic to exaggerate some traits (some are more exaggerated than others) that I find particularly interesting.
Here is the draft of "A Church Radio Christmas"
A Church Radio Christmas
Welcome back to WJCL radio where we move into our Power Hour for this Christmas season. All of us here at WJCL radio wish you and your family the happiest, merriest of Christmas seasons this year. Remember WJCL, Where Jesus Christ is Lord, for all your festive Christmas music and entertainment. Right now we have several invitations to extend to you, our loyal listeners from churches around this area that would like to share with you the Spirit of this season. Please note that these invitations were written, produced, and paid for by these sponsoring churches and do not reflect the opinions, values, or tenets of the faith of WJCL radio, its staff, or its other subsidiaries.
The Walt Disney Church
It’s a small church after all! We would like to invite all of you out there listening to come and join us this Sunday for our very special Christmas celebration! It promises to be one of most spectacular ever! Live on stage all of our Disney Princesses will share a wonderful rendition of a Very Mickey Christmas as Mickey and Minnie Mouse discover the magic and wonder of giving during this special season. Children under 4 are welcome free of charge, please call in your reservations as space is limited. We hope you will be able to join us on Christmas Eve for the Donald and Goofy Shepherds and Angels Fireworks Extravaganza! The fee for this event can be added into any Walt Disney Church package. And remember that the more Sundays you visit with us, the lower the price per visit will be, with your maximum savings beginning with your 5th visit.
Host 1: You know, I’ve been to that church before and their service is just magical!
Host 2: Yes it is, I know our family is saving up for another visit soon too! But we have another church reaching out to our listeners, this one is from St Comfy Seat Cathedral:
St Comfy Seats Cathedral
We’d like to invite all our friends and neighbors to join us for a day of worship at St. Comfy Seats Cathedral. A recent renovation has given us what the readers of Worship Monthly Indianapolis call the most comfortable seats in the city! Our state of the art pew chairs feature memory foam cushions and adjustable air supported back rests. Chances are you’ll find the seats in our cathedral more comfortable than the bed in your own home. The baby Jesus was rested himself in a manger but you don’t have to! What better way to welcome our Savior in 2011 than from your own self adjusted high end pew chair? Our services will run on Christmas morning at 9:00, 10:30, and 11:45. Please be courteous to those following you in the service and return the reclining option to its full upright position before exiting the service.
Host 2: Those seats really are fantastic!
Host 1: There is a place for the non-traditional would be church- goer as well. If you consider yourself one of these, then the Butterfly Community has these words for you:
(Hippie) Butterfly Community
Hi and welcome. My name is Starshine and I am here to share with you about the Butterfly Community. It’s an exploration of communal living based upon hope, peace, and love here in the city and we welcome all who would share these ideas with us. We don’t really have regular meeting times or services as we’ve found the American views on time too restrictive, so we invite anyone who’d like to stop by and join us for some communion. We’re always making fresh whole wheat organic bread to share….
We respect the tradition that some people celebrate this time of year, but at the Butterfly Community we embrace all beliefs at all times. We believe that everyone has their own personal Savior, Redeemer, Buddha, or Light Guide if that is helpful to them and want to be a place where we can all explore this desire for meaning and salvation in a nurturing, loving environment.
Host 2: That’s such a free and enjoyable group of people. I love it when I get to visit at the Butterfly Community.
Host 1: Yes it is wonderful, but I understand that you have a non-traditional church invitation as well, don’t you? Isn’t this the church that is taking Hollywood by storm?
Host 2: Yes it is, we’d like to share with you now an invitation from the Scien-terrific Church of Indianapolis
Your past lives weigh heavily upon you. The accumulated scars from these past lives make it difficult for you to find the hidden power and glory of your own soul. That’s why we at the First Scien-terrific Church of Jesus Christ want to invite you to our special service this Sunday afternoon where you’ll hear the real and true story about Jesus Christ. We’ll share how Jesus boarded the 747 jet plane with rocket engines bringing along his cosmic net of salvation whereby he was able to rescue and restore millions of lost souls floating in the cosmos. Through the use of meditation and clearing your soul of these scars, you’ll find the hidden power inside yourself to become another Jesus in the world. So come and join us this Sunday to hear the truth about yourself, about Jesus, and about the Christmas season aboard our luxury cruise liner, The Sonorran Wanderer.
Host 1: Cosmic net of salvation. Wow! We also have a special word from the:
Jesus Christ Church
We appreciate all of the other communities that are here this evening doing their best and we refuse to judge them for their misguided understanding of Scripture, but they are just wrong. If you REALLY want to come to church for a Christmas celebration then it is important for you to come to the only church that meets in Indianapolis. We are the only true community of believers that are founded by Jesus, led by Jesus, and focused on Jesus. We’re not here to judge these other misguided attempts at church, we’re just here to tell you the truth about Jesus as revealed by Jesus himself in the only Bible there is: Our Bible! If you really want to know what this Bible says then you have to come to our service to hear what we think, because everyone is wrong, though we refuse to judge them. God will do that soon enough!
Host 2: Here’s an exciting offer from a church that is having a Sonrise service on Christmas day!
Hunters Hollow Gun Club and Christian Community
We’d like to invite the public out to our very special Christmas Day service at 4:30 a.m. We’re going to meet out in the meadow of Old Man Johnson’s farm for a special prayer time before we celebrate Christmas the Hunters Hollow Community Way—by shooting, gutting, and eating a real animal. None of this namby pamby turkey raised in some inhumane turkey farm…we eat real meat that we catch and kill ourselves. After all, what says Merry Christmas better than blowing a hole in a wild animal, throwing it into the back of your pick up, then driving down the road as its head lolls out the tailgate?
Host 1: And here is an invitation to turn your Christmas a little greener. We have an invitation from the Dr. Rev Right Bishop of the Living Nativity Online Fellowship
Recently, the Lord told me we needed 1000 visitors in our sanctuary this Christmas eve, and to help you get here we are going to give away $1000 to one of those visitors! That’s right we are a church that has been blessed and we want to pass that blessing along to you, our loyal visitors, by gifting one special visitor with $1000. You know, the Lord laid on my heart that I was responsible for the people living in this city. I have been appointed the caretaker of this town and this Divine appointment is important to me and to our church members. So come on out and join me, Dr. Rev Right Bishop of the Living Nativity Online Fellowship. There’s a prize waiting here for you!
Host 2: Who would have ever thought you could get paid to go to church?
Host 1: Well not me before this…
Host 2: Here is a more traditional church service for those of you who might be interested:
King James Church
We’d like to invite thee to Christmas services at the King James Church of Indianapolis. Here at the King James church we actively teach and promote King James English. Thou willst learn how modern scholarship shows that Jesus and the Apostles spoke ONLY King James English! These words were recorded in King James English which were then translated by well meaning but deluded believers into Greek and Hebrew. Thou canst learnst the proper recitations for addressing our Holy Lord in the appropriate manner. Of course, Thy Lord hearest all thine prayers…but if thou prayest with King James English, then thou willst utilize a direct line to Thy Lord’s ear!
Host 2: You know, this is still one of the most accurate English translations of the Bible available.
Host 1: I agree with you! Finally, and they paid extra to make sure they were the last invitation you would hear, is an invitation from one of the fastest growing churches in the city!
The Contemporvant Church
We’re contemporary. We’re relevant. It’s why we call our worship contemporvant! Our worship only uses songs you’ve heard on local Christian radio stations within the last 2 months! Our pastor is young, hip, and cool. And he has all the answers for your family this Christmas season. We hope you will join us this Christmas for our special combined worship service at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Why Lucas Oil? Because it was the largest indoor space we could find that was still cool! So come and join us for the Contemporvant Worship service…all your friends are probably already planning on coming, why not join us too? People love being winners and here at the Contemporvant Church we, along with Jesus, make a winning team!
Host 1: Thanks to all of our sponsoring churches for these invitations. Who knew we had so many options for worship this Christmas season.
Host 2: We’re going to bring you back to some Christmas cheer right now folks, but we want to leave you with this thought. If you don’t invite people to come hear the Christmas message at your church, these people will!