Music: D So fucking boring jesus fuck. There was a djembe guy, the kind who’s white and thinks that it’s supposed to mimic bass and snare rhythms. Also an acoustic bass, which is totally an obsolete instrument made for idiots. But Lane, who used to go to this church, was stoked to sing. Regular fare worthless modern bullcrap worship music and lyrics like “Our god is good, our god is faithful, our god is strong, our god is able”. Makes me wanna puke. The leader-singer guy, as usual looking like a award-winning douche, would (far too often) speak a word or a line before singing it, cuz i guess if your aesthetic senses are buried under 6000 tons of moron you make those types of calls.
people who will die in the next 20 years: Around 5%
pastor charisma: C- He stumbled on his words, said almost nothing of value except of negative value, looked like a tool, acted like one, etc.
décor, iconography: The roof was arched perpendicular to the way people faced, which was a little risqué à-la 1994. There was a cut-out nativity scene at the front with palm trees. joseph and mary all kneeling prayer-style next to a baby, haha, who does that. Just like a cheap so-cal suburban-sprawl style home over here, done bigger, that’s where these people go to church.
food/drink: free coffee, maybe other shit. they serve it for you in the back.
scare quotient: Not really much.
number of people: 150 maybe.
The real story:
Lane got conned into being a christian at this place when she was a kid, so she wanted to go to it. Me and Coral and her went there on a fucking cold morning, at least we were driving, cuz it’s right by the perimeter in east-st-paul, a million miles from downtown. There’s two churches next to each other there, competing for souls and cash. Maybe we should do the other one soon and let them use these reviews to trash each other lol.
Got some coffee, nobody really talked to us, which was a bit of a surprise considering how much it was similar to all the other pushy modern churches. Anyway, we grabbed us some seats and we let it begin. Some guy who dressed badly got up and welcomed everyone with his thick menno accent (Coral pointed it out, i wouldn’t have known). He told us he was excited for the new year and everything god had planned for it. Which reminded me that two days prior to this (december 27th) god had tweeted that he didn’t have a plan for any of us. Anyway, this guy then exhorts us all to get up and wish each other merry christmas if we haven’t done that yet this year. I’m sure all these asshats been slobbering that dirty phrase to everyone in sight for a whole goddam month, but whatever.
Then he tells us the touching story of someone who donated money for wells in uganda and tries to use it to make us feel inspired to do something nice. It doesn’t work, i can tell. After that he wants us to bow our heads while he goes on to god about how “there is a reason why you placed us here” and that to him we’re “not just a number”. Ugh.
Before they start hammering our ears with crappy jams, he goes out with some announcements, most noteworthy to me is that some people got engaged – “you are a very strong family”. And obviously some morons marrying each other is a testament to that, it fits so nicely with the menno-christian family values, that pressure to be straight and boring. Strong! Like a piece of lead pipe – also ugly, poisonous, obsolete lol.
So it’s time for the band to play some songs, and really i’m sorry, i know i’m getting less and less tolerant of this, i should give these types of churches a rest cuz they’re all the fuckin same and their songs are all the fuckin same and you know… but fuck this shit forever: you know how cookie-cutter nickelback is, well, they make nickelback sound like napalm death. I bet they think nickelback is edgy, i bet they fuckin do. SO ANYWAY, enough right, enough.
Then it’s time for them to tell us that giving the church money is somehow giving god money, i dunno, that’s really what it’s like. Then they show a video of absolutely nothing, it just had boring cliche’d images and was all trying to use the words “name”, “god”, “life”, and “world” a lot. Typical not-saying-anything-non-denominational-aka-nothing-at-all christianity. Ugh, it’s so bad i wanna cry. There was something about how baby jc was born not of “husband’s will” but of “god’s will”, continuing this heavy gross Mary-is-an-available-womb christmas shit that also makes me wanna cry.
We finally make it to the meat, where this boring badly-dressed guy starts talking about how he sometimes gets writer’s block but also his words are “scripted by god”, so don’t worry: if they suck, it’s cuz god sucks. And god sucks, apparently.
It’s his kid that got engaged, and he’s holding a belt from some motor in his hand, so get ready for a super-metaphor. Oh, geez, how’d i guess that, i bet everyone else there, being as dumb as a doorknob, was all “well, what’s he gonna do with that belt? teach us about small motor repair?”. I guess they’re probably not that dumb, they’re just used to predictable garbage that reaffirms their place in the world: pathetic banality.
PAUSE. I’m not usually this hateful, and i recognize that it’s more annoying to read. I sound more preachy and know-it-all. I’m actually really sorry. What am i to do? I swear next week i won’t go to a postmodern evangelical-type church because obvz i’m burned out on those.
GAME ON. So guy’s all, Our kids got engaged so like how could life get any better? and then the belt metaphor kicks in because look, his snowblower broke and some dude died and it’s not as sweet anymore to live in the suburbs and be a white dude with a snowblower and a hetero kid who loves some other hetero kid forever and ever until they die.
Another really cheap and unrelentingly reoccurring theme in all these pastors’ sermons is the cheap dichotomy. And it almost unfailingly goes like this: you’re happy – then you’re not – what’s the deal even? – god is the boss. This guy’s version of happiness included: “we got houses with gas that flows from who knows where” and assures us that “we shouldn’t feel guilty about that, we should feel grateful”. This would be awe-inspiring if it were the first time i’d been through this but now it’s just infuriating.
Then he quotes the beginning of A Tale Of Two Cities by charles dickens (It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, etc.) cuz we really need to understand what dichotomy means. He also says that the mother’s womb is the “most vital first community”. This one’s for the kids: “JC woulda been the best friend to have at school”, and to make it more relatable to grown-ups: “you would’ve been overwhelmed by how good a guy he was”. I hate that shit. I’m not really into making these types of comparisons, and i hate the whole “trying to contextualize a 2000 year old mythical figure into contemporary terms” thing, but let’s be real: how many of the people of this church are friends with people who are freaky enough to be executed by the state? Basically fuck off. But this sorta segue’s nicely to the next part of this dumb sermon.
The pastor goes off about how he’s gonna bring a dude onto the stage and how none of it is scripted and it’s all this one guy’s words. Guy goes up, he’s a tattooed native dude, one of very (very) few people of colour in this place. Pastor introduces him and asks him what’s different in his life now than last year, he’s clearly fishing for something in particular. So dude goes on about how last year he was in a dark place but now he’s accepted god and stuff is going better. But pastor is not satisfied. “But where were you last year”. “Last year I was in prison.” Oh ok that’s it, that’s what he wanted him to say, it’s crazy dumb. Fuck this shit. “What have you found?” “I found jesus” “Amen.” People clap. People are the problem.
He’s done using the new toy so this pastor talks about that dude, kinda as if he’s not even in the room but at one point he makes a joke and makes sure to say “we don’t laugh at you A___”. And then “It’s one thing to share the good news, it’s another thing to invite A___ over for supper” which is obviously what this dumbshit does to help himself feel like he’s better than most people. He even makes some comment about inviting people over that make us feel unsafe, and he again makes sure that he personally singles out A___ to assure him that he feels safe around him. It’s like a parody of stupid white people.
Back to banality though, if you do anything this year get to know jesus, more platitudes about jesus, more about the belt, “i bet the disciples were fun to be around”. He’s done, finally.
Everything else isn’t done here though, the songsters come on again, still djembe whitey, still leader guy playing an acoustic guitar, this time he’s not singing very much which gives him the opportunity to twitch his eyebrows and head around cuz he needs to show us how much he loves this crap. The people who run this show are absolutely the cheesiest people. Unlike mega-churches where there’s at least an understandable love for power, here there are barely any people, what is the appeal? Obviously they just are the cheesiest people – punks love punk music, there’s this culture of punk and whatever; these people love cheesy shit, they’ve built a culture around it. They are the worst.
They’re done singing, some guy, i forget which guy, who cares, he comes on to tell us that mary got impregnated by god when she was 13, she “had to welcome jesus into herself” LIKE SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE FOR FUCK SAKES. I’m being torn apart just thinking about the absolutely unforgivable atrociousness of this discourse. I WANT YOU TO DIE, OLD MAN.
Then they give us communion by passing around those trays like mennos do and you take a slab of shitty dough. Coral was in the bathroom and missed the wafer so i rip mine in half and offer it to her, she turns it down, laughing. Then there’s some grape juice, in those micro-shot glasses. They wish us a “very very very prosperous new year” which is fitting i guess. As we wait around to leave, no one approaches us to try and get us to come back or whatever, that’s nice, Lane didn’t want anyone to talk to her, worked out good.
I’m sorry for all the hatred, i was really not prepared to have to deal with more stories about mary’s pregnancy, i thought that shit was over. I’m actually angry right now.