Slam Dunk


Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

Always, always read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. Why didn’t anybody tell me this when I cut the salvation deal? All I heard was the spiritual stain remover part. All I heard about was the eternal summer of love. All I heard about was my heavenly mansion on Easy Street. All I heard about was life, liberty, and no more late fees. Nobody told me about the death thing. In fact, the clincher for me was the promise that I could avoid the death thing altogether. So now I find out that the hallelujah contract has a death clause?

When I took the plunge I thought the only downside was the ice cold water I had to dunk in. It was no picnic, let me tell you. There I was, the ink on my salvation document not even dry yet, and I’m stepping into a tank of Arctic ice. I don’t mind telling you that I had serious second thoughts about the salvation road when the water reached my groin. In shock I squeaked something unintelligible—which the officiating pastor immediately took as a sign of the Holy Ghost. When he pushed me under that frozen torture tub I sprang up like a bat out of hell, whooping out of sheer trauma. This brought cheers from the congregation who interpreted it as joy unspeakable and full of glory. It took me three days to stop shivering, but I figured the hazing was worth it if I was now a full-fledged clubber. I figured I could start cashing in on all the membership benefits.

So now I find out that the freezing tub of death was a freaking freezing tub of death? Holy stiff! No wonder it’s not part of the advertising campaign. Who’s going to buy into something like that?  Come to the Church of the Living Dead or We kill ’em, then fill ’em! or Repent and be Graved. Not likely to fill the pews with sensitive seekers.

What we’ve got here is a classic bait and switch scheme: Lure them in with padded pews, high-tech multi-screen presentations, wall of sound worship bands, smiling pastors, and simple to follow instructions for eternal social security. Then, once they’ve signed on, casually inform them of the termination requirement: “You mean you didn’t know?”

The trick, then, is how to interpret the death clause so it’s not so—well, not so deathy. For example, maybe I’m only theoretically dead, along the lines of Einstein’s theory of relativity. It’s a nifty concept—and may even be true at some inconceivable level—but it doesn’t actually mess with my plans for the weekend. Or maybe it means I’m just supposed to feel sorry for Jesus every so often, like on Good Friday, which is why we have it in the first place.

My personal practice is to ignore the death thing altogether. I find the topic rather morbid. Besides, with all the image problems Christianity has already, it probably wouldn’t hurt to keep this one permanently under wraps.


2 Responses

  1. But, don’t leave out the “resurrected” part; you did come back out of the water. (This is the good news, after all.)

  2. Yeah, but death is funnier.

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