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Dear Pastor ______________,
I checked my ministry's post office box yesterday and was delighted to receive from your fellowship a postcard offering the following:
__________ Church presents
Eride Skateboard Demonstration
A Collision of Extreme Skateboarding and Eternal Truth
Featuring the Untitled Skateboard Pro Team
Join us for an evening of extreme fun featuring our guest, the Untitled Skateboards Pro Demo Team
See Amazing Stunts and hear about the extreme love of God
Plenty of food and fun for all ages
Pastor, please let me explain the reason this moved me so much. You see, some months ago I offered my services, free of charge, to your fellowship as a teacher of apologetics. I did this being impressed that many Christians lack a serious foundation for what they believe, and that the continuing decline of church membership numbers might have some connection to this. (As you may have heard, every year tens of thousands of Christian college students leave Christianity and church, usually never to return.) However, I never heard from you at that time; not so much as a phone call or a polite postcard. For some time I despaired as to why this was so.
However, having received your advertisement, I now realize the error of my ways. Clearly I am missing out on the true vision for aiding our young people in keeping their faith. I understand now that I have been conducting my ministry wrongly. Therefore, in order to make amends, I am reconstructing my ministry profile and will henceforth be offering a course in Extreme Apologetics that I pray will honor Jesus and make disciples just as effectively as the Eride skateboard ministry can.
I will be titling my new presentation series, Extreme Apologetics: A Mashing Together of Physical Gymnastics and Extreme Defense of the Faith. Please consider my new course outline, and tell me what you think:
- Can We Trust the Bible? My lesson on the textual transmission of the New Testament. Instead of rebutting critics like Bart Ehrman, author of the best-seller Misquoting Jesus, I will be piling 5,000,000 New Testaments into a large heap and bodily catapulting into them, showing that the New Testament is indeed reliable.
- Postmodernism and the Christian. My rebuttal to this fast-growing ideological movement which has fostered rampant subjectivism. I will show that "true for you, but not for me" is wrong by first bungee jumping from a height of 1000 feet into a pool of hot coals. Youth will then be invited to do the same, and we will compare injuries and show that what was true for me was also true for them, proving that objective truth exists.
- Who Wrote the Gospels? A brick wall is erected and I invite the audience to paint graffiti all over it. We then use apologetics to demonstrate who wrote what on the wall. Then I rocket-skate into the wall.
- Proving the Resurrection. Your church members will be permitted to bury me in the parking lot and then try to act out all of the Skeptical theories about what happened to the body of Jesus: The theft theory, the wrong tomb (parking lot) theory, etc.
- Mormonism I will offer a report on the errors of Mormonism by trying to balance on one foot on a statue of Moroni set on your steeple, and repeatedly falling off. Afterwards we'll have an "extreme knockdown contest" in which your members can knock over a statue of Moroni with rubber balls and win cool prizes.
- The Q Hypothesis. We'll learn all about literary theory and how it is used by certain critics like Burton Mack to undermine faith. Specifically, I'll let myself be run over by a "Mack truck".
- The Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas. I'll show what is wrong with these gospels by riding a unicycle and juggling 500 flaming cans of gasoline.
- The Da Vinci Code. The first ever apologetics lesson to be taught by wing-walking an SR-71 "Blackbird". Please make sure there is ample space in your parking lot for takeoff and landing before I do this one.
- The Problem of Evil. Alvin Plantinga? Feh! We'll go wild with an all-out paintball competition followed by a discussion on how nature is tooth and claw.
- Miracles. Forget Earman and C.S. Lewis -- those are passe for our apologists today! Instead, I'll be skydiving over fields without parachutes attempting to land in various haystacks scattered around to show the possibility that unlikely events can occur.
- Can Randomness Produce Intelligence? No more looking at irreducible complexity! I'll go to a chem lab and just mix together anything I can find and do whatever I want to it. After all of the explosions are finished, I'll take your congregation on a tour of the debris and we'll see if any of the explosions produced intelligence.
- Objective Morality I'll show the ridiculousness of what society says about morality by hooking up computers in your sanctuary so that the congregation can stay up late at night playing Warcraftwith each other.
It's just the thing for the postmodern TV generation, don't you think?
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
J. P. Holding
In case you're wondering, yes -- this was a real advertisement I got from a nearby church, and I really did offer to teach there once and got no response. I found out later the likely reason why....it was an emergent church.