When I was in college, majoring in youth ministry, I ventured to a church in Texas for an internship. We all know it's not officially summer in Christendom without several sweaty, chlorine laced weeks of church camp. This week of camp was for 4th and 5th graders. The theme of the week was "God". Well, actually, I don't remember the theme but I'm sure it had something to do with God, so let's call it even. What I do remember was one bright and shining example of why the 90s is a decade The Trinity would just as soon forget.
I probably shouldn't be telling you this, so keep it on the downlow. At every church camp there's a secret Armageddon shelter roughly 200 feet below the chapel. It's filled with everything you'll ever need to convert campers: tracts with cartoon characters set ablaze, pictures of strung out addicts, lots of Michael W. Smith and David Meece tapes, 5 gallon buckets of sulfur & napalm, Joan Rivers without make up...you know, death and hell stuff. You must know that this is just too much power for some well intentioned folks. When you put all these things in the wrong hands you get what I'm about to describe.
Jump into the story with me. It's Wednesday and the dean at camp decides not enough kids have accepted Christ throughout the week. So, he's going to pull out all the stops and make a "Hell Walk". This is what he envisions: Let's take some little kids on a shrieking, pitch-black, middle of the night walk through The Bowels of the Earth. Tell the kids they can't make a sound. Have the adults quote Scripture about hell while we walk. Dress some other adults in "demon" attire and have them run around moaning. Then at the end, let's bring in a big dude with a stone cold grey face and bulging eyes pretending to be Satan. Cue strobe lights and creepy music. AND! Let's have him tell the kids how much he loves them and wants their souls. Then have him lunge at them while demons start wailing.
Somehow I missed all the planning but when the event took place I tried to behave and go with the flow. That is, until a little girl in my cabin starts crying because her mom had died less than 6 months before. That ended it for my compliance. Right there when Satan was about to start frothing at the mouth, I decide I can't take it anymore. I stand right up, loudly and adamantly declare, "This is ridiculous. My cabin, UP!! We're outta here." We went back the cabin, tried to calm down, thanked God for heaven, and fell asleep.
While Hell is a real place I think the church gets it wrong when we use it as a means of evangelism. Say what you will, but the love of Christ will not only compel people to come to Him, it will make them stay with Him, too. So, when it comes to Hell Houses, I'm not so much a fan.
But what if we reworked the idea just a bit? If Hell Houses are such a Halloween tradition I think we should have our own, don't you? But it would have to contain the scariest, most horrific rooms imaginable if I'm going to put the SFL stamp on it. Right?
Without further delay, I'd like to walk you through the Stacy From Louisville Hell House. Warning: Not for the faint of heart or weak of bladder!
Scene 1: Bible College
Speaking of holidays, Bible College is a whole holiday in itself. It's a 4 year (or 5 or 6 or 7 year) vacation from reality and common sense. So right at the main entrance to this room you will need a steel wool brush and a big ol' bucket filled with sudsy baptismal water. How else will you brain wash people? Moving on...
Scene 2: Elder's Meeting
This is the only room in the Hell House where the comb over isn't part of a costume. And if you're a girl I'm not sure you're allowed to come in, but just this onec... Remember Pleasure Island in Disney's Pinocchio? Where all the naughty boys with buck teeth start smoking cigars and turn into donkeys? I think this happens at some elder's meetings. Fire the youth pastor because he's got some crazy ideas about preaching salvation? All in favor say, "HEE-hhhaw!" (Okay, that's supposed to be a donkey noise but I've never been schooled in phonetic donkey so get a new cause.)
Scene 3: The Coat Closet
Not necessarily a scary room, just a place for coats. And making out. Which is why I saw fit to include it. Which reminds me, this last week alone I saw three couples grabbing each other's butts during worship service. One man, bless his heart, must not have known how to clap hands. But he seemed to keep time to the music pretty well from the way he slapped his wife's rear in time to "We Will Dance". It was a song about heaven but I was pretty sure I was in hell...
Scene 4: Women's Ministry
This room has pastel sequin Easter sweaters, floral centerpieces, and PMS. Apply too much eyeliner, hide SSRIs in your fake Coach purse, and make a straw hat craft. Be sure to turn up the Twila Paris. As people enter the room repeatedly hug them and offer them cheese cubes and brownies. Repeat, until everyone goes completely insane. Then do it AGAIN! AND AGAIN! (infer devilishly high pitched laughter and charm bracelets)
Scene 5: Church Nursery
Take an 8x8 room. Install 3 cribs, 2 rockers and a baby swing that doesn't work. Cover any remaining floor space with mismatched Fisher Price farm sets and teething rings. Hose everything down with high fructose corn syrup and sprinkle with Cheerios. Turn up the heat and put a poopy diaper in front of each vent. Now you are ready for 13 overstimulated 10 month olds. This could also double as the pro-abstinence room.
Well, there you have it. But surely 5 rooms isn't enough. Don't you think I've missed some things? How much should we charge to get in? How do you get out? What scenes did I overlook? Come on SFL readers. You asked for a Hell House. Now let's scare the hell out of each other...
- Bible College - Be Afraid (7)
- Bible Study/Women's Ministry (2)
- cats (2)
- children (3)
- Contests and Give Aways (15)
- cooties (1)
- crazy people (1)
- DC Talk (1)
- Easter (2)
- Good God/Bad Church (3)
- Halloween (5)
- Jesus Voice Over Vintage 21 (1)
- Marriage (3)
- May I Suggest/New to SFL (1)
- My Family (8)
- Poop (1)
- Pranks (2)
- Secular Songs With Christian Lyrics - oh please (4)
- Stacy's Story (5)
- Wet Your Pants Funny Stuff (3)
- Why "Stacy From Louisville" (1)