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Christ Goes Independent

[While my wife was watching TV back when Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist was trying to decide whether to run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican or an independent, a headline appeared on the TV screen declaring, “Christ Goes Independent.” What follows is a fanciful news story based on that headline.]
HEAVENLY CITY––Speculation ended today concerning continuation of the long-term public-relations agreement Jesus Christ has had with a group of volunteers who operate under the generic name “Christians.” He officially declared that he’s severing all formal ties and “going independent.”
“Back when Christ started the movement that today is called Christianity,” said a highly placed heavenly source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “he thought it seemed a good idea to employ human volunteers as his ambassadors. It hasn’t worked out as envisioned. The commitment and the quality just haven’t been there.”
The unnamed source noted that a few pointed comments from high-profile humans had contributed to Christ’s decision to rethink His good-news marketing strategy.
“That famous statement from Mahatma Gandhi––‘I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians; your Christians are so unlike your Christ’––really rocked Jesus,” the source said. “It’s more or less a parallel of that old saying ‘With friends like you, who needs enemies?’ And one Mark Twain comment was equally jolting: ‘If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be––a Christian.’”
According to another highly placed heavenly source, Christ’s decision to go independent hasn’t come about suddenly: “During the Dark Ages it was becoming clear that the Roman Catholic Church was no longer effectively marketing the gospel. But with a Reformation looming on the horizon, it seemed prudent to take a wait-and-see stance. Unfortunately, ‘Protestants,’ as the reformed group have called themselves, have been a great disappointment, too. And smaller sects who’ve made great claims about their spiritual purity haven’t delivered the goods, either. So Christ has decided to go back to the drawing board and develop a new marketing strategy that’s befitting the quality of the ‘product.’”
Another source close to Jesus said several options are being considered. One possibility––proposed originally during Christ’s 33-year in-person effort to introduce true spirituality to the world––is to have the rocks cry out. However, he is purported to have said that his preference is for “personal testimony.”
That’s why he implemented his original plan, the source said. And it seems that the most effective personal testimony is actions, not words. “The rocks might be able to ‘cry out,’ but they’re incapable of effectively ‘acting out.’ And that’s what’s really needed.”
The source added: “Saint Francis of Assisi got it right when he said to ‘preach the gospel always––and, if necessary, use words.’” It seems that Christians are a lot better at mouthing words than giving live demonstrations through their actions.
The full implications of Christ’s decision to go independent are still unclear. However, cynical observers have suggested that, granted the limited communication between some Christians and heaven, it may be years before they finally figure out that for a long time Christ has been far from happy about many of the things that have been done in his name.

James Coffin is senior pastor of the Markham Woods Church of Seventh-day Adventists.

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