COLD CALL

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 | Uncategorized

“Hello?”

“Hello.  May I speak to Christopher Johnson?”

“Sure thing.  Hang on a second.  ‘Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking.  And when she passes, each one she passes goes…’  This is Chris Johnson.”

“Mr. Johnson…may I call you Chris?”

“No.”

“Well, um, anyway, Mr. Johnson, I’m with the national office of the Episcopal Church.”

“Really?  To what do I owe this honor? Or honour if you’re from Canada or someplace else in the British Commonwealth?”

“We were just wondering, sir, if you were familiar with what we consider to be one of the most important, if not the most important, spiritual movement in a very long time.”

“Pentecostalism?  Sure.  One of the fastest-growing branches of Christianity.”

“Sir, that wasn’t what we…”

“It’s making tremendous inroads in predominently-Catholic countries all over the world.  And Lord knows it’s kicking Anglicanism’s butt up one side and down the other.”

“Mr Johnson, we didn’t mean…”

“Been looking into it myself lately.  You know, the theological implications and such.  Don’t much care for the worship style, frankly, what with all that emotionalism.  I’m more of a Quaker-type guy that way, if you know what I mean.”

“Actually, Mr. Johnson, we were referring to the Occupy movement.”

“What’s that?”

“Surely you’ve heard of the Occupy movement.  All over the world, young people and older people from all walks of life have been camping in open public spaces.  Perhaps you have some in your home town.”

“Webster Groves?  Don’t think so.  Although every time I drive through Old Orchard, I see this guy with a lapper in Gazebo Park.  Every single time.  Could he be part of this?

“I honestly don’t know, sir.”

“He could be pinching free wi-fi from Starbucks.  There’s one not more than 20 yards away.  Anyway, what are all these people camping out for?”

“To drag this nation kicking and screaming if need be to address issues of economic justice and income inequality.  You’re a Christian, aren’t you, Mr. Johnson?”

“Of course.”

“Don’t you think it’s a sin against God that 1% of the population controls the bulk of American income?”

“Not really.”

“Well, we’re glad to hear that you…wait, what?”

“I pull down 25 grand a year, give or take.  Life’s a stuggle but I get by.”

“So you understand the necessity of…”

“Not so much.  Deciding that Scrooge McDuck over there has too much money sort of implies that I deserve to have more money than I do.  And that’s kind of a sin by itself.  Exodus 20:17 and all that.”

“Exo what with the what now?”

“Never mind.  But tell me something.  How does camping out and…say, those Occupy folks don’t like to beat on drums, do they?”

“Some Occupy groups find drumming to be a richly rewarding way to…”

“Dude, the term ‘drum circle’ literally makes me homicidal.”

“Well, I, uh…”

“If you and I were standing next to each other, like, right now and you said the words ‘drum circle’ to me, I would slit your throat with about as much emotion as I would gut and filet a fish.  Are we clear?”

“Er, uh, certainly.”

“Good.  Anyway, how exactly does camping out bring about economic justice and income equality?

“Mr. Johnson, the Occupy movement is still in its infancy.  It’s still working out exactly how to…”

“Let me get this straight.  You camp out in some public space and, I suppose, mooch food off guilty liberals.  Something happens.  Then there’s economic justice, income equality and crap.”

“As I said, this movement is still a work in progress so…”

“Basically, Occupiers are the Underpants Gnomes of Christianity.”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“It’s an obscure cultural reference.  What are you calling about?”

“Mr. Johnson, as an Episcopalian of long standing…”

“I’m not an Episcopalian.”

“Sir, it says here that you are.”

“Haven’t been inside an Episcopal church since Robbie got his pointy hat.  But what do you need me for?”

“Mr. Johnson, the Occupy movement needs more Episcopal places to occupy.”

“Yeah, I see where Trinity-Wall Street ran those people.”

“Many of us think that Trinity is controlled by interests that don’t necessarily…”

“The big money boys, yeah, I know.  But why did Seattle run you guys?  Redmond?  Are we talking Microsoft jack here?”

“Sir, the situations aren’t…”

“Whatever.  What’s the purpose of this call?”

“We realize that our relations with individual churches haven’t been the best but like I said before, the Occupy movement is still working these things out.  We’re just looking for other Episcopal locations to occupy.”

“And you called me because…”

“We got your name off an Episcopal list.  Mr. Johnson, the Occupy movement would like to occupy your home.”

“How many people are we talking about?”

“About 50 to 60 people would be setting up tents.”

“Gotcha.  Dude, two things.  You know I live in a small apartment, right?”

“Well the list didn’t specify…”

“Fifty to sixty people living in here would be basically stacked up like cordwood, yo.”

“I don’t know that it’s necessary to…”

“Never mind the strain it would put on the plumbing.  And who’s going to feed all these people?”

“Well, we thought that…you would.”

“Really?  You honestly thought I’d perpetually feed a bunch of people I completely disagree with and who are working against everything I stand for at my own expense?”

“Well, yeah, since you…”

“What are you, high?”

“No, not at all.”

“Spunky?  If a bunch of impressionable young people ever decided to crash here, I’d spend my off-hours turning them on to David Virtue, Stand Firm and minor, second-tier sites like the MCJ.”

“Um, er, um, I think we…uh…have a wrong number, Mr. Johnson.  We’re very sorry to have bothered you.

“Not a problem at all.  Have a good one.”

21 Comments to COLD CALL

Fuinseoig
December 23, 2011

You might mention to the gentleman from the national office that, according to some, Africa is where it’s happening nowadays:

“On this point, the encounter with Africa’s joyful passion for faith brought great encouragement. None of the faith fatigue that is so prevalent here, none of the oft-encountered sense of having had enough of Christianity was detectable there. Amid all the problems, sufferings and trials that Africa clearly experiences, one could still sense the people’s joy in being Christian, buoyed up by inner happiness at knowing Christ and belonging to his Church. From this joy comes also the strength to serve Christ in hard-pressed situations of human suffering, the strength to put oneself at his disposal, without looking round for one’s own advantage. Encountering this faith that is so ready to sacrifice and so full of happiness is a powerful remedy against fatigue with Christianity such as we are experiencing in Europe today.”

Isn’t there an Anglican presence in Africa already? There you go!

:-)

Kelso
December 23, 2011

Wonderfully funny and well-written Mr Johnson.

You know of course we got most of the House of Bishops out of the student protestors of the 1960s – and by student protestors I mean draft dodgers. Well, what we’re really seeing in the OWS rabble is the training ground for the next generation of Episcopal Bishops.

Try this experiment yourself: Next time you see an Episcopal Bishop, sneak up behind him and shout “Free Huey!” and see if he doesn’t automatically thrust up his fist in a power salute. In 25 years time, you can then sneak up behind an Episcopal Bishop, shout “We are the 1%” and watch him hold up both hands and make “sparklies”.

Tregonsee
December 23, 2011

Reminds me of a call I got from my alma mater, Sewanee asking if I was interested in participating in an alumni forum on increasing diversity at Sewanee. I asked politely why they wanted to do that? After a stunned pause that this was not self-evident, I got a nice PC lecture on being PC. So I asked whether they were reaching out to schools who did not normally send students to Sewanee, whether they were discriminating against anyone, and whether they still had a needs blind admission policy where support would be found for accepted students. There replies were yes, a horrified NO, and a justifiably proud yes. My reply was that since they were doing everything reasonable to get qualified students, and that qualified students were able to attend, then everybody who wanted to be there was. So what was the problem? After another long pause, she said perhaps I might be more interested in another forum at some point. I agreed, and have not heard since in 5 years.

The young fogey
December 23, 2011

Pretty good.

I neither hate nor cheer Occupy. Visited it once. At its best, the same well of potential as the Tea Party and Ron Paul people like me (something’s wrong so people are mad as hell and won’t take it anymore) and also reminiscent of the Bonus Army (good men the government screwed over), but also what you say, a bunch of spoiled brats partying, showing off and simply jealous of the rich and wanting them and the working poor like you and me to pay their student loans ‘because, like, I want it, OK?’ Like the hippie trash 40-some years ago. (They want more government, which means you and I pay their allowance forever.) Then they turn on the limo-liberal mainliners who supported them and steal their property.

dwstroudmd
December 23, 2011

Entertaining. Truthful, except for the second tier recognition of the MCJ. After all, Stand Firm quotes you, Dude.

Confessor
December 23, 2011

This post would also fit quite nicely under the ENVISCERATION subject heading.

tjmcmahon
December 23, 2011

Maybe we need an Occupy 815 Second Ave. Movement.

Allen Lewis
December 23, 2011

Masterfully done, Chris! This exposes (I really should think of another word to use – the imagery invoked is beginning to sicken me) and skewers (better image! :-) ) the ineptness of what passes for Episcopal life.

Marvelous send-up :-)

Jim
December 23, 2011

Yes, we now have a semi-permanent encampment of Occupiers in one of our parks, basically stinking up the place and strewing trash all over. The community and police have adopted an attitude of totally ignoring them. So they sit and rot, as far as the rest of us are concerned.

The only good thing is that the encampment is universally referred to as “Obamaville,” hopefully reinforcing what our community thinks about the guy who is largely responsible for creating this mess.

By the way, whatever happened to the Millennium Development Goals?

vado a Roma
December 23, 2011

I would like to volunteer the Cathedral Center of St Paul, St John’s Pro-Cathedral, All Saint’s Pasadena and All Saint’s Beverly Hills for occupation. Each of them is centrally and prominently sited with adequate kitchen and washroom facilities if the rectors, canons and bishops don’t mind sharing, which of course they don’t. I will bring them some food and toilet paper myself. Besides that the bishops want to count every day care pupil and twelve stepper as a memmber so thinkwhat occupy folks could do for our numbers. Might put us back over two million.

Dale Matson
December 23, 2011

vado a Roma,
“Might put us back over two million” two million and change.

John
December 23, 2011

This Christmas, the Episcopal Church I attend, will be singing hymns and carols to celebrate the birth of Christ.
We do not have time for all this divisiveness and derision for other Christians.

Christopher Johnson
December 23, 2011

Out-freaking-STANDING job thanking God that you are not as other men are, John. I hope your Christmas rocks.

vado a Roma
December 23, 2011

John, What’s derisive about pointing out the tension into which we are living? I bet that all our seminaries will also volunteer their facilities. I think that Chelsea is a good place to set up camp. So is Alexandria (or is it Arlington? ) Too bad we can’t sponsor Occupy Evanston except via distance learning but Occupy Cambridge and Nashota are viable options for the hardy.

JM
December 23, 2011

Drum circles? Meh.

Now, drum lines are a different story:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rJWW_KqeAw

And a little Latin beat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1lgJp8JPMs

J.M. Heinrichs
December 24, 2011

Proper drum circle in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slINvuOrLRk

Cheers

John
December 24, 2011

Christopher. My Christmas will definitely ROCK. I try never to criticize or humiliate others. Pointing out that we will celebrate a traditional Christmas at our Episcopal Church and all are welcome; is surely a good thing. I thank God for many things.

The Lakeland Two
December 24, 2011

Irony

John: “I try never to criticize or humilate others.”

John: “We do not have time for all this divisiveness and derision for other Christians.”

John, glad you have a place you feel comfortable to worship. Our sadness is that this is not available to everyone, especially to some who know or grew up with a different tradition.

Daniel Muller
December 24, 2011

Now, the tents would not all have to stay in the apartment all the time. They are highly portable. Even ambulatory as it turns out. How considerate is that?

Geo. S. Southerly
December 25, 2011

‘Anonymous’ a hacker group that helped set up the Occupy ‘protests’ has broken into a security company that had US Gov, law enforcement and credit card information. They are planning a week or so of attacks on prime US targets.

“Anonymous has threatened further attacks throughout the week to come, striking during the holiday lull. Its activities could further link the Occupy Wall Street movement to the criminal underworld.”

Since some of these ‘protestors’ have admitted they are professionals hired by the Unions, this link to the mob is not surprising.

Looks like the security company and all the agencies involved will be real busy for the next month or so.

Geo. S. Southerly
December 25, 2011

And it looks like Trinity, KJS and company may now be way, way out of their league where ruthlessness is concerned.

Can you spell ‘protection racket’ anyone?

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