Saturday, March 18, 2006

Okay, so last night was interesting. Really, all day yesterday was interesting, but I'll just describe last night here.

See, Jingping is of course a foreigner, and on top of that an asian foreigner; on top of that, a Chinese asian foreigner, which means that she is a prime target of Evangelical Christians. So, when she arrived here, she went on social getting-to-know America functions, etc., and joined up with a Contact Family who would invite her to family dinners and church functions, etc. So, she had asked me to go along with her to the next one. I agreed; she just knew it was some sort of Easter performance. I thought, okay, I haven't been to church in almost 10 years, this could be interesting. Gosh, was it interesting!

You see, this wasn't just a church. This was one of those Megachurches I've read about. The building is as big as Neyland stadium. The congregation is something like 20,000 people. I think this is the place (Southeast Christian Church) which broadcast Bill Frist's big creepy christian network message last spring when there was the whole stupid political filibuster judgey thing. So, it was not what I was expecting. I was expecting a church service.

No! This was the life of Jesus, performed over 2 hours with professional lighting, an orchestra, a cast of dozens of costumed actors, maybe a thousand extras, special effects, angels lowered from the 200 foot vaulted ceiling, and, of course, the five 20 foot television screens positioned above the stage so that all the thousands of people in the audience could get a good cinematic look at the faces of the actors.

Needless to say, I was scared to death. Jingping was genuinely entertained by the whole thing, and was absolutely confused by my terror, though I did derive a sort of enjoyment from the experience; she, being a geniune Chinese communist, seems completely immune to it all, and takes it as a sort of cultural tourism, while I'm sitting there thinking about what a hive of weirdness and complete unreality surrounds me, and how did I get here, and how can there be so many of these people, and do they all really think that in the end Jesus flew up into the sky with everyone singing songs out of a Simpson's parody?

I mean, he flew up into the upper tier at the end, on wires, and everyone is cheering and singing. My mouth was hanging open. I had heard of these things, seen satire of it, but I never thought I would see one. These people are serious! These people are crazy. It was entertaining, though, and Jingping and I got to have a long and confusing argument about religion and communism and democracy and single-party systems and truth-being-relative, while eating dumplings and having a headache, and man, my brain was tired! Fun fun fun! You can try and guess who took each side, and what was agreed on and disagreed on, and what she thought I disagreed with but didn't, and what I expected her to disagree with but didn't.


And that was only the end of yesterday! Yesterday, a nice day.


  1. True Story: Last night I found myself at a party with beer, whiskey, pot, and cocaine and I watched a drunk dude stick his penis into the bulb socket of a pluged in lamp and there was a giant *POP* and a big spark and he flew to the ground holding his crotch in agony.

    I swear this happened. Ask me about it sometime.

  2. True story: Last night I ate some tomato soup. I made it with milk instead of water and sprinkled a pinch of basil into it. It was creamy and good. I couldn't taste the basil.

    Not a true story: I single handedly stormed the Kremlin last night with a kitana clenched between my teeth and double barrelled shotguns slung over my back. Ammo belts like Pancho Villa. The guards were like "woah" as I put bullets into the limbs I hacked off. Then Damyo Ichitoya and his gang of red ninjas summersaulted through the windows and destroyed all the dinosaur skeletons. Man, a broken tyranosaurus tibia is a sad thing.

  3. True Story: Last night me and Maggie drank vodka and tonics and ate a big bowl of edamame. The edamame was good and fun to pop out of the pods. We watched some anime on her laptop, which sits nicely on the coffee table while we sit on the floor.

  4. True Statement: None of these comments have anything to do with this week's post!

  5. i think everyone is avoiding a sensitive topic and just telling interesting stories instead