Friday, April 20, 2007

Things on My Church Walls. (pt. 1)

Folks, it doesn't take a lot to perplex me. I am easily entertained. When you grow up a poor sonofa preacher, you learn to use the crude, raw materials around you and transform them into complex and fascinating toys. A paperclip, the ones that are actually like clamps for example, can become a perfectly good enemy space ship that destroys the good guys by clamping onto the giant mother ship that just happens to be shaped like your dad's power drill.

As far as HAVING money goes, I think in my early childhood, up to age 9, I had about 1 dollar, at one time. So when I see something like this, pinned up onto the wall of the 4th grade Sunday School room, I am in awe. Hear ye, hear ye. LET ALL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MARRAIGE OF CAPITALSIM AND CHRISTIANITY IN THE AMERICAN CHURCH BE FOREVER ANSWERED NOW.

Let us examine...

For just showing up, you get a dollar. If you remember your bible, another dollar. Already, by getting their lazy arses up and remembering their Gideon, these kids have doubled my net worth at 9 years of age.

Bible Detective. 1 dollar. I have no clue what a bible detective is but it sounds fun and you get another dollar for playing. Score.

Prayer time is rightly valued at a higher rate than showing up with the Good Book and goes for 2 smackers.

Bringing a friend is valued at 2 bucks as well. So, if you are popular, you are big-time set. Lesson: More friends = more cash. Now, what I would have done is showed up with about 20 random kids and offered them all one dollar to be my friend for an hour. They each get a buck, and I would have scored 20. (Smacking my "ca-ching" and bullhorn buttons and yelling BOOYAWWW! Kramer-style.)

Knowing the names of the twelve apostles knocks you up 3 whole dollars to 5 bucks. Not too bad but trickier than you think. I mean, can YOU name them all right now? Not without a lifeline I bet.

The 10 commandments only gets you 5 bucks, same as knowing the twelve A's. I don't get that one really. I mean, is knowing that there were 2 disciples named Judas worth as much cash as knowing that killing your neighbor or screwing around on your wife is wrong? I think not. Ten Commandments... way undervalued here.

66 books of the Bible. 10 dollars. Getting in to major cash here folks. The grown-up-right-now-32-year-old-Seth is starting to want in on this action. Time to rip-off my niece’s Veggie tales tape and get to work a-memorizin'.

Lord's Prayer. 10 Dollars. Okay, okay, I think this one is a bit OVERVALUED. I mean, that's right up there with the pledge of allegiance as far as difficulty. Come on. 66 books... WAY harder. Although, that part in the prayer where Jesus says "give us this day our daily BREAD." really comes to life in this little reward system here.

23 Psalms. 10 Dollars. Now this is the most fairly priced item on the list. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..." Classic length, good rhyme, but with a butt-load of meaning. 10 smackers. I might be tempted to go 10.50 for that one. 5 bonus bucks if you can sing it.

When it’s all said and done, you are up 50 DOLLARS!!!! Man oh man.

But really... what can a boy buy these days with 50 bucks? You can't even get an iPod shuffle with 50. Maybe on eBay but you are really just sorta stuck buying a week-load of fast food. Sort of a gyp in the long run really. Kinda just gets your hopes up and wets your willie for more cashola. In fact, I think the kids should DEMAND more. 50 dollars? Pshaw. How bout 500 hundred???? Now we're talkin Sugarland-style re-wards. I could get me an 80-gig iPod and have money to flash whilst I send unlimited text messages over my V-cast Razor.

Being a young Christian in Sugarland can be SERIOUSLY profitable...


MamasBoy said...

"I mean, can YOU name them all right now? Not without a lifeline I bet."

At first, I thought, "Sure I can!" Now I think you are right and I am humbled. Here are my twelve, but I'm sure I named the other Judas already, though I don't remember what his other name was. Fiddlesticks. Now I have to go look them up and see where I screwed up.

Simon Peter
Jude Thaddeus
Judas Iscariot
Simon the Zealot
Levi/Matthew the tax collector
James the son of Alphaeus
the other Judas?

Matthias (replacement for Judas Iscariot)


MamasBoy said...

Oh, yeah. Is a "Bible Buck" the same as a regular buck? What does a Bible buck get you?

I tried the monetary motivational exercise with a particularly ignorant, unmotivated and wealthy group of middle schoolers (richest parish in the entire state of OR). I offered $50 to be split between all the kids who could name the 73 books of the Bible in order. It was a large class so I thought each kid would probably get $5 or so. I was quite surprised when only 1 kid even attempted to memorize all 73 books in 3 or so months time. I was even more surprised when after I gave the kid the entire $50, several other kids complained that I had never mentioned the contest. I had only mentioned it every week or two for the previous 3 months. I was so disgusted and astounded, I decided to never again offer a monetary reward for something like that (at lest with wealthy, unmotivated middle schoolers).

I am considering teaching religious ed for high schoolers next year, though. I think I will probably offer $100 to anybody who can find a divorced couple who followed Janet Smith's 4 rules for divorce-proofing one's marriage. 1) Don't have sex before marriage. 2) Don't contracept. 3) Get married in a church, go to church every Sunday and pray while you're there 4) Tithe to church/charity. Before I make that challenge, though, I'm going to be sure to pass the $100 bill around the class and let each person look at it. At least that way I know that I will have their attention. I think it will make a great lead in to Christ's teaching on the sacrament of marriage. Plus, I think the formula works, to boot. I've met several people who fit the above description and I've never met a one who didn't have a rock solid marriage.


kddub said...

ha ha ha... too funny. Friends=cash.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Uh... I don't think they're actually offering money, are they?

I think "Bible Bucks" are probably something you can use to buy cheesy prizes from the church store, like WWJD bracelets, Moses marbles and Jesus jacks.

Seth Ward said...

No my friends, it is real, cold, hard cash. I know 2 of the kids who took home grand prizes. One had 60 dollars in his pocket after sundayschool.

I was jealous.

euphrony said...

Why do I hear Pink Floyd singing in the background? "Money . . ."

FancyPants said...

There is something terribly wrong with that sign....

Super Churchlady said...

If Bible Bucks are REAL Bucks, then my kids are idiots. OR....they're secretly stashing away their Bible-Booty. Hey - I like that..."Bible-Booty". Maybe I could offer some Bible-Booty to the College Class. Here's possible menu:

Speak one intelligible word in class - 10 points of Bible-Booty

Speak two words - 50 points

Don't make out with your girlfriend during class - 25 points

Hammerin' Hebrew said...

Seems a shame to limit the educational possibilities associated with the acquisition of Bible knowledge. See, when I became Bar Mitzvah, I was given hundreds of dollars of useless paraphenalia (the fountain pen chief among them), which I was able to then return for refund from the place where bought (much of it in my Uncle's store), and thus monetize the value of achieving a modicum of religious education. This is a tradition of Judaism going back thousands of years--you'll get a lot of worthless presents and it's the job of the Bar Mitzvah to figure out how to turn that into video games. As it is written.

Seth Ward said...

super-churchlady, You were one of the ones that I heard the kids got REAL cash!!!! I would be glad to hear that they didn't meaning I didn't miss out on THAT action. Sheesh, cut the piano player a break! And yes, I believe that NOT making out in class should get some points. What if the boy's name is Colton and the girls name is Mer?

Hammer, Good lord. But see?... That would be educational. You start learning the power of the swap and a little savvy out of necessity. Us American Christians just want it NOW. We don't want to EARN our salvation. We just want to skip to the good stuff. Grace=Jackpot baby. You GOT to try it!

FancyPants said...

Wait, so the Bible Bucks aren't real? Just monopoly money?

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob said...

I deleted my post because it was excessively preachy and off-topic. For those who saw it, my apologies. For those who didn't, you didn't miss much.

Moral of the story... think before you publish.

Seth Ward said...


I thought your response was excellent and I was working up a good response. Oh well. Next time.

Rob said...

You're a good man Seth. I was serious in what I said over on FP's blog about words. In many ways words are one of the most powerful things we handle in this world. They can do much good, but are also one of the most effective ways we have to hurt one another.

When I try to make clever, witty remarks I'm more often guilty of doing harm than causing the chuckle I intend.