October 26, 2004

The Jesus-Loves-Me-and-Not-You Cult

I had a dream last night that I was in Blogland. I've obviously been spending too much time in the Land of Make Believe. I dreamed I was with a bunch of other bloggers, and we were taking a picture of ourselves with one of those cameras that hooks up to your computer (I own one of those cameras, but have never figured out how to make it work). Instead of taking our picture, however, it took a picture of an incredibly sexy man. Do you think that means it's starting to sink in that I won't be having sex for at least three months?

Speaking of which, the King called me last night from overseas. He's doing better than expected. He asked me to send him toilet paper--apparently the TP in the war zone is not up to snuff. His exact words were, "You could read a newspaper through it." He wants to squeeze the Charmin, I guess. He also wants undershirts. I asked, "Can I just send some of your undershirts, or do I need to go buy new ones?" He sighed heavily and said it would probably be okay to just send some of the eight million shirts he already owns. I don't mind buying new ones, really (although it does seem wasteful), but I can't go to the mall tonight, so if he wants his package ASAP, he'll have to deal with pre-owned shirts.

So, now that I know his plane didn't crash and he hasn't been blown up or shot yet, I figured I should put some energy into thinking up a decent post, since it's been a few days since I've had enough energy to do anything but worry about him. So I'm going to write about the funky Christian cult we've got here in Northern Virginia.

It's really not a cult so much as a secret club. (Is there a difference?) Here in NOVA, we're at the northern tip of the Bible Belt. The Bible Belters here, however, are very concerned about not getting mixed up with the lower-class Christians in the more southern areas of the Christian Coalition. They want everyone to know that they're rich and white, they love God, and He loves them back.

And they aren't subtle about it. Acquiring a lot of jewelry, clothing, and other accoutrements that have God's name on them seems to be a very important part of membership in this cult. And I'm not just talking about a little gold cross on a necklace, oh no. The thing here is vanity license plates. For instance, I've seen INHSHND, or "in His hand." And ILVJSUS, "I love Jesus." There are hundreds of them all over the metro DC area.

I was raised Catholic, and my parents were very spiritual. They donate a great deal of their money to charity, and they spent most of their free time volunteering for a million different causes. I don't practice Catholicism anymore, but I do agree with them on one thing--If you're driving past the homeless and poor in the DC ghetto in a $60,000 Hummer, slapping a $150 vanity plate that says ILOVGOD on it isn't going to make you a good Christian.

They also read the Bible. That may sound admirable, but it's really just ostentatious. The thing is, they read it on the metro. And they don't just read it--they've invariably got a $200 pen that they're using to assiduously make notes and fill out workbooks like they're studying for a pop quiz from Saint Peter. We're talking about doing this on a packed train at rush hour--there are always ten or twelve people spread out with a full-size King James, an I Love Jesus pin stuck to their $400 suit, and three or four study guides to help them interpret the word of the Lord. And they highlight. Oh God, do they highlight. Yellow, pink, blue, even green highlighters fill the metro with the scent of God's love.

It's enough to make a person go Buddhist.


Kitten said...

J. For once you made me THINK instead of laugh. I drive a brandy new $45,000.00 Suburban with all the bells and whistles. I was contempating getting a vanity plate ($180.00 in CT, 3 years, I think) and I wanted it to read BELIEVE..so everyone would know what a good christian mom i am. However, after reading this, I have decided that the money could be put to better use elsewhere..so I will ask my hubby to up his donations at Christmas, instead. Thanks for the smack-up-side-the-head.

Glad to hear the King is doing well...

chris said...

Man, you are funny. How do you get away with that and be a military wife?

Queenie said...

LOL--Are you implying that we military wives have no sense of humor? Trust me, you've got to have a sense of humor to stand finding out that your upcoming move to a beautiful island in the Bahamas has just been traded for four years in Iceland. In a studio apartment.
And Kitten, I never expected anyone to do something like that because of something I said, but I appreciate it. There are so many good causes, and I'm sure they'd all love your help.

chris said...

Oh no, I wasn't implying that military wives don't have a sense of humor. I've actually been a military wife (albeit, for a short time--the ex got out soon after) and I spent almost ten in myself between ROTC, active and the reserves. In my experience, a lot of people don't feel comfortable being themselves or showing a sense of humor. I don't mean that in a bad way.

LilySea said...

heh heh heh

I once saw a very nice red sports car that said "his will"
I was thinking, "his will, really? How much did he leave you?"