I branched out of my safety zone on a recent Friday, entering a skateboard contest put on by a Christian church. I paid my entry fee, skated for about 10 minutes and won my money back (and then some) in the form of the first-place prize purse.
Afterward, I mingled with a few Christians and learned more about their rites and beliefs. They took me in as one of their own and, after a little while, I actually began felling like one of them.
It got me thinking a lot about how the church adjusts to “sell” to different markets. These younger, hipper, ministers were casting their net at the youth market, luring people in by offering big prize money in their “extreme sports” contest. I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Churches are growing and adapting, desperately engaged in closing the generation gap created by staunch, stuffy preachers and outdated practices.
This successful marketing craze got me thinking. Maybe I should invest in my own new church, er company. I have come up with an idea on how to appeal to the youth market and the “fast-food” American culture. Enter Priest International.
The first item that Priest International will offer is pre-paid sin cards. They will work much in the way that pre-paid phone cards work, in that you pay ahead of time for services you will need. In the bible, it clearly states, “for your sins, you will pay.” With that, we will allow you to pay ahead of time for sins you expect to commit.
This not only cuts time praying, confessing and asking forgiveness but also gives a little piece of mind, knowing you’re ahead of the game.
I tried to sell this idea to one of the kids at the contest, but he was resistant. “That’s not how it works,” he stated before explaining that by “pay,” the bible does not mean literal currency.
“So, you mean like having to say a lot of ‘Hail Mary’s’ and ‘Our Father’ prayers?” “Well, if you’re Catholic, I guess that works.” The second thing we’ll offer is an Afterlife Savings Bond. The bible describes Heaven as a brilliant “kingdom.”
As with all kingdoms, I assume, there will be towers, where some people will have splendid views. Others, it would seem, will be left with closets. If we are all free of sin upon arriving in Heaven and we are all “equal in God’s eyes,” as the good book states, then who is to decide who gets the penthouse, princess suite and who gets the view of the moat? Afterlife Savings Bonds are redeemable upon one’s death in exchange for the better rooms in the Kingdom of Heaven. We cannot guarantee that they will work, of course, but isn’t your grandmother worth the thought?
There are other ideas floating around my head, such as phone-in confession hotline and maybe drive-thru confessionals. I’m still in the early stages, so I’m open to suggestion. Maybe I’ll actually open up and read the bible for some more ideas. I’m confident that I will be able to find a loophole in there somewhere and manage to find my way to Heaven. We’ll see.
And yes, this is all tongue-in-cheek, and perhaps even a little outlandish. But couldn’t the same be said for trying to lure youth religion by getting them on a skateboard?