Dear Church Staff,

God is watching us. From a distance.In this new century, Christianity faces what may be its darkest days yet. We stand at a crossroads, and no amount of tightly choreographed liturgical dance is going to bring in the young people for Sunday services. Yes, we tried to meet the kids on their level -- let's not forget the weekly visits from Pastor Rufio and his "Gospel on Wheels." But the skateboard damage done to our parking lot was catastrophic, as was the smell coming from Rufio's unkempt dreadlocks -- which would not improve despite multiple prayers and shampoo coupons.

There's a way to get young people into Church without making the whole place smell like musty feet, though I must say I would take an entire choir of Rufios belching Satan's "fight song" in lieu of our most recent failure of an idea. We have parents far more upset than they were over the shattered femurs and bruised vertebrae caused by Pastor Rufio's improper skateboard instruction.

I admit at least partial responsibility, though we as an institution really should have known better. If God granted me a single wish -- which our cancer charity shows He is not one to do -- I would go back and unsee that infernal DVD case which got us into this sorry state. Who would have thought that the fine people at Family Video would misplace such an inappropriate title in the inspirational section amid the Andy Griffith sing-alongs and DVD boxed sets of Seventh Heaven?

These knowing nods and smiles DO NOT indicate God's love."Friends With Benefits." And those two attractive young people looked so happy together! Of course I did not rent the film in question -- the idea struck me so thoroughly that I had to run home and commit the idea to paper immediately. Of course, at that point I had assumed the "with benefits" part implied the relationship two teens shared with God. That Sunday, our sign read "WELCOME YOUNG PEOPLE GOD LOVES FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS." Had I known the truth, the sign would have been changed significantly.

As expected, the amount of churchgoers under 20 increased immensely that Sunday, and many of the teens paired off afterwards to pray silently in as many empty rooms as they could fine -- I even allowed Brad Paulsen and Amy Cuomo access to the hatchback of my hatchback! In retrospect, I should not have let these young people go unattended, but their enthusiasm was infectious. And now we as a congregation are left with a steam cleaning bill that won't fit into this quarter's budget and a hatchback that, frankly, I don't feel comfortable putting my groceries in anymore.

If you think this is intimidating, in real life you would be bowled over by the inexplicable and overpowering smell of butane.On the brighter side of things, we have a surplus of holy water -- as you know, we've really been getting reamed by our holy supplier. The price of that stuff really jumped through the roof after 9/11.

But this alone will not solve our fiduciary woes. Many of you have suggested a bake sale, but, judging from the sheer size of our congregation, they are all bake saled out -- and I will not let another heart attack interrupt my service before I can pass around the collection plate. A celebrity speaker would do wonders for attendance, but we cannot go with Kirk Cameron again. There is a reason his asking price is well within our means. You folks only had to spend an hour in his presence, whereas I had to put him up for the weekend. I swear, that boy does nothing but talk about The Bible and explain bananas for hours on end. And before you think I'm neglecting our list of professional wrestlers who retired and joined the faith, we are down to Lex Luger and Lex Luger alone. And I will marry the Dark Prince Satan himself before I let that man return to my church and make light jabs at my golf technique.

In closing, I ask that each of you encourage others to bring canned goods next Sunday, so that we might take them to a store with lax customer service and return them for full cash value.

May God Bless and Keep You,
Pastor Dave

– Pastor Dave

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