4:45 p.m. Jimmy from the mailroom approaches my desk with a big smile. “Hey, I have a little ol’ question for you: Have you found Jesus?” Reply, “I don’t have him.” Jimmy smiles even wider. “What I mean is, have you let the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart?” Look at chest.
4:47 p.m. After describing the wonder of witnessing the power and glory of the Lord Our Savior, Jimmy suggests accompanying him to church meeting after work. Enthusiastically agree after learning that there will be singing and juice.
5:02 p.m. Wave bye-bye to Cheryl at front desk, saying, “I’m going to meet Jesus!” Consider whether it’s better to ask Jesus for a race car or a pony.
5:23 p.m. Sit beside Jimmy on bus as he talks loudly about how in the midst of deep despair a great Light shone on him and the Blood of Christ washed away his Sins. Notice fellow passengers nervously moving to farther seats. Spot woman with big bum. Tell Jimmy about the big bum.
5:31 p.m. Get off bus and walk toward plain commercial prefab down the block. Cell phone rings. Answer phone and listen to supervisor demanding to know why the 88K4 reports weren’t turned in as promised. Say, “I can’t talk now. I have to find Jesus. He’s got bloody.”
5:33 p.m. Enter stark hall filled with plastic park benches acting as pews and about two dozen people solemnly listening to preacher talk loudly about the wages of sin. Ask Jimmy quietly, “Have they been bad?”
5:38 p.m. Preacher gets increasingly heated as he catalogs the abominations of homosexuality, pornography, and unclean interracial couplings that are ripping this country apart. Feel inexplicably uncomfortable. Look for something to play with. Find pamphlet entitled “Are You Ready for HEAVEN?” Pretend pamphlet’s a magic space carpet.
5:42 p.m. Preacher reaches climax of sermon, shouting, “And the Beast shall be unleashed upon the sodomites and fornicators, and they shall be cast into the eternal flames of Hell!” Whisper to Jimmy, “He said ‘hell.’”
5:46 p.m. Congregation rises to sing “How Great Thou Art.” Find song boring. Change lyrics to “How Great Thou Fart.” Get the giggles.
5:50 p.m. Preacher calls upon those who are ready to accept Christ as their Savior to come forward. Decide to join others at the front in the vague hope that there may be candy.
5:52 p.m. Preacher leans in close and, with wild eye, demands, “Do you accept in your heart that Jesus died for your sins?” Step back, appalled. Cry out, “JESUS DEAD?!”
5:53 p.m. Flee service in tears. Determine that religion is just too sad.