I don’t know how I got thinking about this, but the other day I found myself clicking through the blog looking for some of the weirder things I’ve written over the years. I don’t often indulge my strange sense of humor, but every now and again I just can’t resist. From vampires to theo-doping, from Dungeons & Dragons to Joel Osteen, here are some of the more bizarre things I’ve posted to the blog over the years.
The Ultimate Christian Novel – This was my idea for a guaranteed bestselling Christian novel. And once I shared my vision for it, I actually got serious publication offers. “This novel seamlessly blends today’s most popular genres into one beautiful, compelling, cohesive whole. I thought you would want to know all about it. So I give to you, Cassidy: Amish Vampiress of the Tribulation. That’s right. It’s an Amish novel; it’s a vampire novel; it’s an end-times novel. It’s the best of all worlds.” I suppose I should have added in zombies since they are all the rage today. Ah well. I had a surprisingly good time thinking about this one. But I decided to turn down the publication offers. Somehow I didn’t think that would advance my writing career in a healthy direction.
A Theo-Doping Scandal – I don’t quite know what I was thinking here, but I guess I got in my head the idea of a Preaching Illustrated magazine, the pastoral equivalent of Sports Illustrated. And things went downhill from there. “Mark Driscoll is a bestselling and highly-regarded author. He is pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, a popular speaker at conferences, and is founder of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. But is there more to this man than meets the eye? According to a shocking new article in Preaching Illustrated, there may be. In a bizarre turn of events, Mark Driscoll has become embroiled in a theological doping scandal. Random testing, conducted immediately following the sermon he delivered in his church on Sunday August 20, revealed the presence of unusual and inconsistent teachings. While no official statement has been released, investigators have hinted they suspect Driscoll has been using theobolic steroids. Like the sport of professional cycling, those under investigation are considered guilty until proven innocent. This could prove to be a serious blight on an otherwise surefire hall of fame career.” Too bad I lost the magazine cover. This one was probably funnier back in the day when the Reformed and Emergent folk were fighting a turf war over Driscoll and we were all starting to realize that this guy was teaching some really good theology.
Reformed Eye for the Arminian Guy – This one was hilarious in my mind when I thought it up. But I never could quite get it out in a way that made a lot of sense. Nevertheless, eventually I put it out there. I framed it as a letter in which I pitched a new show to the television network TLC. “I offer you Reformed Eye for the Arminian Guy, a new production currently filming pilot episodes in New York City. This exciting new program will offer theological assistance to those men who need it most. In each episode a fabulous team of Reformed men will track down an Arminian guy and offer him the makeover of a lifetime. Each of the five team members is an expert in a different field. Each will assist the subject of the program in a unique way.”
The Silence at the T4G Blog – Of all the weird things I’ve written, this is probably one of my favorites. Someone wrote me to ask why there hadn’t been any new content posted to the Together for the Gospel blog for quite some time, and suddenly I got it in my mind that the guys must have had a major falling out. And then I thought of the obvious reason: they had a big falling out about a Dungeons & Dragons game. “Mohler, playing a level 4 halfling bard, turned on Duncan’s elf rogue even though they had earlier decided to work together (and had even completed the Caverns of Shaagh quest together, and you know how long a quest that is!). So suddenly you’ve got Mohler’s halfling ditching Duncan in favor of Mahaney. Piper was dungeon master and ended up ruling in favor of Mahaney and Mohler! Well, you can imagine how well that went over. Dever said something about ‘not as well as I deserve’ and threw a handful of 20-sided dice at Mahaney. C.J. told Dever to preach this to himself, and smacked him upside the head with the rule book (The 4th Edition one from Wizards of the Coast, which, as I’m sure you know, is like a six-pound hardcover). Mohler tossed a glass of water at Duncan and told him something about “now you’re baptized too” while Duncan rolled up his sleeves and yelled ‘Time to bring on the hurt!’. And things just went downhill from there. MacArthur and Anyabwile waded in and did their best to break it up while Sproul sat back and watched the show, a single tear falling slowly from his eye.”
A Blockbuster Deal – It was trade deadline day in the major leagues and that got my mind stirring. “My team, the Bluejays, are expected to be “buyers” this year, indicating a desire to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees to win their division. With less than two hours to go, they have not made a move. As I hunted around, looking for clues as to their inactivity, I began to wonder what the church would look like if it ran on a market similar to major league sports.” What I came up with was, well, kind of strange. “Hot off the wires, the Associated Press reports a blockbuster trade. With the annual ecclesiastical trade deadline only hours away, Bethlehem Baptist Church and Grace Community Church have agreed to a four pastor deal. While early rumors indicated this might be a three-church trade involving Capitol Hill Baptist Church, the final deal is as follows: Grace will send Pastor-Teacher John MacArthur, Minister of Music Clayton Erb and Associate Pastor, High School Ministry Eric Bancroft to Bethlehem in return for Pastor for Preaching and Vision John Piper, Lead Pastor for Operations Jon Grano and future considerations. MacArthur, widely regarded as the nation’s leading expositor, agreed to waive his no-trade clause in return for an expanded book allowance. Piper, world-class author and highly-regarded preacher, will assume MacArthur’s pulpit and radio duties.” The funny thing is that I heard later on that some people had actually believed this and expressed their concern to at least one of the ministries.
Fantasy Church – A friend and I had long discussed this idea of a fantasy church league that would be set up like fantasy football. I think it’s another one that was way funnier in my head. “Each league will be overseen by a Presbyter who will act as commissioner and will form a league of between 8 and 14 players. At the beginning of the season each league will hold a draft. The Presbyter will provide to the players a list of churches which will serve as the pool of available churches. Players will choose churches from the available pool, taking into account a wide range of factors. Each team will draft a denomination of 8 churches. Each player must draft a denomination consisting of at least 2 Baptist churches, 2 Presbyterian churches, 2 Charismatic churches, 1 non-denominational church and 1 flex church (any denomination).”
Joel Osteen or Fortune Cookie – This is a fairly recent one and came in a flash of inspiration while walking home from an all-you-can-eat Thai restaurant. I cracked open my fortune cookie and read some meaningless little proverb. And here’s what I wrote: “I wish it had said ‘Brisk uphill walk after all-you-can-eat Thai is a bad idea.’ Never mind. As I waddled my way home, regretting that last bowl of curry (so delicious…), I thought ‘This fortune sounds like something Joel Osteen would say.’ And then it struck me—there is very little difference between Joel and those fortune cookies (except that the cookies are delicious, of course). And now, to prove it, I will give you these twelve quotes. You tell me which are from the fortune cookies and which are from Joel Osteen.” Todd Friel ended up doing this on his show which, admittedly, is a much more natural environment for it.