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Jet Man

December 9, 2009

“Hi Jay.  It’s Brother Bill.”
“Hello Brother Bill.  What’s up?”
“We’ve got a problem.”
“What’s that?”
“Well, ya know how we were goin’ta have jet man this Sunday?”
“Yeah.”
“Well, jet man tore his ACL makin’ a practice run this afternoon, so he can’t make the jump on Sunday.”
“Wow. How did he do that?”
“We parked three buses right in a row and he tried to get over’em, but overshot the landing ramp about ten feet and bent his knee at a very nasty, very odd angle. He couldn’t even stand up or walk afterwards. So it looks like he’s a no go for a long while.”
“Wow. He oughta be glad that all he tore up was his knee and that he didn’t break his neck or sumpthin.”
“That’s for sure.”
“Well, I hope he’s OK, Brother Bill. It’s prolly good for everybody anyway. It’s craziness, some guy doin’ a stunt like that. I’d been already thinkin’, who is this guy? And where do you get these types of people for these big pushes? I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
“A friend uh mine from my days at Bodine-Pyle used him for one of their big days and they had a gazillion visitors come and see him. He swears by the guy.”
“Wow. That’s a bummer. Anyways, my kids were kinda lookin’ forward to seein’ that. But they’ll get over it.”
“I know what you mean. All the kids were excited about it and I think we may’uv set a record attendance, and now we’ve got this big promotion we’ve told everyone in town about and now we’ve got nothin’.”
“Yep. Serious disappointment. Lot’s of sad kids on Sunday.”
“Uh-huh, but Jay, but here’s the thing. We can’t very well tell everybody we’ve got jet man lined up and then when everyone gets here, they find out that we’ve got the inside of a donut, can we? Is that what we wanna do, Jay?”
“Ha. That’s funny.”
“Not really, Jay. Maybe what I’m sayin’ isn’t gettin’ through. I’m sayin’ that we’ve got to have someone jump. We can’t just say we’d got jet man comin’, have people get there, and find out he’d canceled. That’ud ruin our credibility in the community.”
“Brother Bill, I thought just havin’ the guy was hurtin’ our credibility already, so maybe this is kind of a blessing in disguise. He’s like a circus act. I know people are curious to come out to see him, but it makes our church look like it’s kinda desperate, don’t it?”
“Jay!”
“Yes.”
“Yer not listenin’!”
“I am. I am. The kids will understand, Brother Bill. They’ll get over it.”
“I don’t think so, Jay.”
“Brother Bill, these special deals that we do, you know, that help us get more kids to show up on Sunday. Something here seems kinda off that this is so important to people, ya know, as far as them comin’ to church and all.”
“Jay, Jesus said to go out into the highways and hedges to compel them to come in. And this is how we compel ’em to come in.”
“So does anything go, ya know, in compelin’ them to come and everything?”
“Not anything Jay, but anything that idn’t disobedient to Scripture. We only do the things the Bible dudn’t say are wrong or anything. It’s not like we’re havin’ a Christian grunge rock concert or sumpthin’.”
“Shouldn’t the Bible or Jesus be a good enough reason to come to church?”
“Sure, Jay. But these little kids aren’t all goina come just because the Bible or Jesus. Not until they’re saved. And some of ’em just aint dedicated to God as yet. That might come later on.”
“You say we don’t have rock concerts, but when I’ve been in helpin’ with super church with the kids on Sunday mornings, some of that looks pretty entertaining, nothing too reverent as far as I can see. Some of it’s pretty wild. I don’t think those kids are in there because they love the Bible.”
“It’s a television generation, Jay. It’s harder to get kids tuh listen tuhday. They’ve got real short attention spans.”
“So you think they’ll keep comin’ after their saved, whether we offer them candy or pop or toys or jet man or stuff like that?”
“I don’t know Jay. What I do know is that we get a lot of people to come usin’ this stuff and then a lot of ’em get saved once they get here. Some of ’em ‘ud be burnin’ up in hell right now if it wudn’t for us. So if they don’t stay with us, at least they got saved. You gotta problem with that?”
“OK. So Brother Bill, what exactly does this all have to do with me? I’m not even in charge of any of this stuff.”
“I’m glad you asked that Jay, because here’s the thing—we want you, we want you to make the jump. To take Jet Man’s place.”
“Me?!?!”
“That’s right. We want you. You duh man, Jay.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Sure you can.”
“No. I can’t. I don’t even know how to ride a motorcycle.”
“Now that’s not what I’ve heard Jay. Weren’t you a biker or sumpthin’ before you got saved?”
“Where did you hear that?”
“It’s just sumpthin’ I’d heard.”
“Well, yeah, Brother Bill, but that a long time ago. I haven’t been on a bike in years and for good reason. I’ve not even been lookin’ to get back into motorcycles again. I’ve been tryin’ to stay away from that old crowd and the motorcycles and stuff.”
“But isn’t that why they say, ‘it’s just like ridin’ a bike,’ Jay?”
“Ha. That’s funny. No. This isn’t just like ridin’ a bike. It’s more like somebody gettin’ killed. Like me.”
“But from what I’ve been told, makin’ one of these jumps really idn’t that hard, Jay. Jet man, his name’s Fred, Fred says it’s easy, anybody can do it if he can ride a motorcyle.”
“So how did Fred crash and wreck his knee up if it was so easy?”
“Jay, can you do it or not? If you don’t, we’re gointa have a big bunch of sad kids on our hands. And you could keep that from happenin’ if you’d just come through here, Jay.
“I’ll think about it.”
“You’ll think about it?”
“Yeah, I’ll think about it. I’ll pray about it.”
“That’s great, Jay! I’ll tell preacher and he’s goina be really happy to hear that. Really happy. I was just talkin’ to him and he was just tellin’ me how happy he was that you were here and everything. This is gointa make his day, Jay.”
“OK. But I’m not sayin’ I’m going to jump. I’ll just pray about it and get back to you.”
“Jay, the kids are gointa flip when they find out who jet man is. That you’re jet man. We’re plannin on lettin’ kids get their pictures taken with him, you, afterwards. And you can sign’em later and everything. Jet Man Jay and everything.”
“I don’t think they’d like gettin’ their picture taken next to my casket.”
“Oh come-on Jay, that aint goina happen. You’ll do fine. You and Fred’s about the same size, so you could wear his jet man suit too.”
“Is there blood on it?”
“Nothing one good run through the washer can’t take care of.”
“So who’s goinna preach then, Brother Bill? Wasn’t jet man, Fred, goinna be preaching on Sunday morning too?”
“No, he’s just jumpin’, just was jumpin,’ Jay. Preacher’s got Brother Clifford Lee to do the preachin’. He’s done a ton of these kinda days and he knows exactly how to gettem down the aisles. If we can gettem there, he’ll gettem to come forward. No one’s better for big days than Clifford Lee.”
“I’ve never heard him.”
“He’s good. He can really preach. Nobody’s better at keepin’ people’s attention and gettin’em down the aisle like Clifford Lee. We had’im for M and M Sunday a few years ago, and there was more people in the aisles than there was in the pews.”
“M and M Sunday?”
“Yeah, magician and musicians. We had a guy do magic and then the Cloud Indian Family. We handed out M & Ms to everyone who came. Get it, M and M?”
“Yeah, I get it. That must have been before my time.”
“Well, how bout this, Jay? How bout I come over to your house in, let’s say, twenty minutes. I’ll bring the uniform and the paperwork and everything.”
“Paperwork?”
“Yeah. It’s nothin’ really, just a release form, guaranteein’ that if anything might happen to you when you make the jump, that the church wouldn’t be liable or anything.”
“Liable?”
“Yeah. So’s you couldn’t sue us or anything.”
“Sue you?”
“Yeah.”
“I thought you said you thought I could make the jump. So why would I need to sign a liability release form, Brother Bill?”
“Oh you can. You can, Jay. Easily. But this is something we have everyone do. We did it with the flaming sword swallower in the Spring, too. Remember? And it was a good thing too. The skin grafts and everything.”
“I wouldn’t sue the church if I crashed in a motorcycle jump.”
“So you’ve decided to make the jump, then.”
“No! I haven’t decided!”
“But you said and we need you, Jay.”
“Brother Bill, why can’t we just pray for kids to come to church? We believe in prayer, don’t we? Preacher’s always talking about havin’ the power of God. I mean, if you’ve got the power of God, why do you need a measely motorcycle jumper?!?!”
“Hey, be careful, Jay. We don’t want to mock the power of God now.”
“Brother Bill, who’s mocking God’s power? Wouldn’t the power of God, I mean if we had it, have more sway on kids comin’ to church than the lure of a thousand jet men? And if kids can’t be impressed with God, it seems kinda demeaning to Him to bring in a jet man to win a competition for kid’s attention.”
“That’s deep, Jay. Deep. Real deep. I think you need to understand that you’re the answer to our prayers and start polishin’ up your cycle skills. Jay, I don’t have time to keep talkin’ to you about this, so I’m comin’ over with the jet man suit and the liability release, and then we talk about when we can work on some practice runs. Your participation would be much appreciated. By me, by preacher, and by dozens of snotty nosed bus kids.”

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Categories: Fundamentalism
  1. December 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Then said I, Here am I; send me

  2. December 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Let’s see if I can still remember the lingo….

    If Jay really “loved the bus kids” he would “get the job done”!

  3. December 10, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Ouch.

    Only, I stuck the landing.

  4. December 10, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    If JetMan doesn’t come, how are we gonna get people in? I mean, c’mon, hymns? PREACHING? Are ya kiddin’ me? Nobody’ll go for that, and besides, that’s not what Rick Warren does. We’ll never have enough money to add on that second wing to the gymnasium if we have to rely on PREACHING.

    Look, run down to Drinker’s Alley and see if you can grab one of the bands. Give ’em a couple of our Christian Rock songs to start out with. If they want to close up with their own material, that’s fine, nobody’ll be able to tell the difference ahywise.

    Just do it, look, we’re talking about NUMBERS here, got it?

  5. December 11, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Am I being naivë? Does this really occur in churches here in America?

    Using the current vernacular “that’s whack”!!!?!

    I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised the Church I had my family into pre-ifb was a non denom. One Sunday he preached in a superman outfit. I kid ya not long hair red undies and all.

    R/S

    Br Steve

    Gal. 2:20

  6. Anvil
    December 11, 2009 at 10:14 am

    The problem with this whole approach is that churches are for believers, which is why the Great Commission says “Go ye into all the *world* and preach the Gospel to every creature …”. For believers, worship, hymns, and preaching are enough of a draw to church. Why should we expect the world to desire our church services? Those are spiritual things and foolishness unto those who know not Christ.

    Paul did make mention of the unsaved coming into a church service (of their own volition), which is why preaching was a “better” gift than tongues. But trying anything to drag those who do have any interest in worshiping the true God, is not only a waste of time, it simply lowers worship to what the world wants, whether it be “Jet Man,” or a promise of candy before Sunday School. If an invitation to come and hear the Word of God is not enough than so be it. Our main Gospel witness will always be to those outside the church.

  7. December 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Woa — Is that the long-absent Anvil I see commenting above?

    Nice to see you once again, Anvil, and even agreeing with something said here!

  8. Anvil
    December 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I actually agree fairly often, which is why I lurk most of the time. I’m not really into “atta boy” posts, which is why a good number of my posts express some measure of disagreement. Other times I have nothing to add, pro or con. However, this topic is interesting to me in spite of my agreement because the philosophy displayed above is one that still infects a good number of churches today, even ones that are miles from either the “Bodine-Pyle” way of attracting people and counting conversions, or the more modern “church-growth,” or “emergent” churches. I see that thinking even in myself more often than I would like, whenever I start wondering how I can make our church seem attractive so someone I’m inviting will want to come. I struggle all the time wondering how to be a good witness and let the Gospel be offensive without me being offensive, but trying not to cross the line into “what will it take to get this person to listen to the Gospel or come to my church,” or “what do *I* need to say to make the gospel attractive?”

  9. Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus
    December 11, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Atta boy, Anvil!

  10. December 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    This is the 5,000th comment on JackHammer. And that’s not fiction!

  11. December 15, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I sent a link to this post to a missionary we support, and here is his response to me…

    I’m not making this up- In Bible college (college name deleted) I was going to jump my bicycle over the church van for the bus kids but they couldn’t come up with the money for ramps-about $200. Funny thing is I’ve matured past all that gimmicky nonsence (I was 18) but I am pretty sure those same grown men would want me to do it again now 12 years later if I was willing. Steep learning curve.

  12. Joel Porozynski
    December 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    So, did rocket man jump? Did he survive it???

  13. December 15, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Simply awesome

  14. lisa
    December 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    This silly jesting mentality of the man made church gimmicks isn’t a good thing, and the way it is being sarcastically described isn’t a good thing either.

  15. December 27, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I guess the holiday cheer is over! 😉

  16. January 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    How Many of you have bus or van ministries? (I know Fairhaven does.) Why? or Why not?Do any you consider bus ministies to pragmatic because you alaways have to give them stuff or candy to keep them and thus your church becomes known as a “candy” or “stuff” church. Can a bus ministry be done in a non-pragmatic way and still have an impact on the kids lives?

  17. January 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

    We have a bus ministry. We don’t always have to give them stuff and candy to keep them. We feed the kids a snack, as it is a long day, and we have some fun events for them at a few different times during the year. We try to be careful not to be a “candy” or “stuff” church. Most of our kids are very faithful — 70% never miss. Most of them have been coming for two or three years. When we add new families, we always begin to work with the parents, and our people are very involved with preaching the gospel in those homes. We are delighted with the fruit that we are seeing.

  18. Cathy McNabb
    January 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Mr. Phil I am very thankful for the bus ministry gadgets and all

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