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Pass the Salt
by Tom Speropulos

Living in the Arizona desert, where scorching temperatures rarely motivate folks to spend time out-of-doors, I noticed one church's pastor encouraging his flock to come out despite the heat, with this message on his billboard:

"Think this is hot? Just wait, come to church, Jesus loves you.”

I’ve noted many churches today are becoming popular-culture oriented. Their goal, it appears, is to devise ways to bring their flock in increasing numbers for their weekly blessing, shearing, and fleecing.

Some have gone so far as to add Christian entertainers, singers, and rock bands to enhance their liturgy. In addition, many are using electronic bulletin boards to advertise their events, and their venues give off the appearance of a Las Vegas lounge act rather than that of a traditional church. Which begs the question, “does what happen in church, stay in church?”

One cathedral, in particular, caught my attention. As I drove by their billboard, it stated, "Christian comedian tonight!” I wondered how a Christian comedian differs from a regular pagan one, and what the opening monologue might sound like?

"Hey and hi, thank you (hold for applause) it’s great to be here. Of course, it's great to be anywhere other than you know where! (Hold for laughter). Now, you know a funny thing happened to me this morning on my way to my bible study class, two priests, a rabbi, and a blonde got into the cab with me...”

My mind swirled with the endless possibilities of oblique biblical humor in their routines. "Hey, Lot. I just saw your wife… and, oh by the way, could you pass the salt?” On and on, I imagine, all the way through to the New Testaments (King James Version).

Of course, our contemporary churches’ efforts to bring folks in to their tents, pale when compared to those heady, halcyon days of the Church of the Dark Ages. The good old days of the Dark Ages was a particularly successful time for the Borgia Popes and their pals. With money for indulgences in every collection basket, church funded wars, and concubines, the corrupt Popes used fear to keep folks in line and the unfaithful flock buying penance. The Borgias and their conscripts knew that there was nothing like the smell of a fresh burning at the stake to bring out the faithful.

Things went well enough for them, for a time, until that annoying Martin Luther began posting sticky notes to his friends on the Wittenberg door. Further, there was that darn Guttenberg press with its mind bending movable type allowing literacy to spread. Thus, Luther, the printing press, and hygiene eventually spoiled things for the Borgia’s and the fun was over. Over, if one discounts the time of the Spanish Inquisition where everyone’s best enemy became a party favor boiled in oil.

However, I would tell folks today who are concerned about our desert heat and the chance of going to you know where, to take solace and consider, much like Arizona it’s a dry heat.