Religious email spam.

Somebody needs to double check who they’re spamming. I got a spam offer today titled: Increase the Welcome of your Church! Train Your Ushers.

Apparently it’s an ad for something called the “Usher Training System 101.” The ad copy is pretty funny:

A well-trained usher is your churchs GREATEST ASSET!

ҷ  They promote church growth by making visitors feel welcome.

  They protect the anointing by minimizing distractions.

׷  They provide good role models during the offering.

  They help members find seats quickly.

Rev. Buddy Bellגs Usher Training System is the most complete course for ushers available.

Damn, and here I thought it was an effective ministry that would bring people in. All along all I needed to do was train my ushers better. I’m very amused by this bit of email.

Speaking of churches, I was actually in one today. Managed to keep from bursting into flames the moment I walked across the threshold and everything. It was for my sister-in-law’s wedding. The Reverend was a nice lady, but had the presentation style of Mr. Rogers on Valium. I did a good job at playing it cool, though. I even managed to avoid giggling when she lectured about love and God that made it sound like God was really Barney the Dinosaur in disguise. Apparently God hugs a lot. He hugged the world and he hugged Adam and Eve just like he hugs each and everyone of us.

Or something along those lines. I can’t remember it too well. I was too busy trying not to bust a gut. It wasn’t a bad service or anything, it just had some amusing moments. Like when the bride and groom couldn’t get the rings untied from the ring bearer’s pillow. And when they did, they dropped one. Oops.

But otherwise it went off without a hitch and a good time was had by all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go whip my ushers into shape for tomorrow’s service.

31 thoughts on “Religious email spam.

  1. I feel the same way sometimes at religious ceremonies (I often wonder what the hell my family’s going to do when I get married without a religous ceremony).  Here’s one of my favorite exerpts from George Carlin’s book Napalm & Silly Putty:

    But folks, I have to tell you, in the bullshit department a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman.  Because when it comes to bullshit.  Big-time, major-league bullshit.  You have to stand in awe - in awe! - of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion.  No contest.
    Religion- easily - has the Greatest Bullshit Story Ever Told!  Think about it: religion has actually convinced people - many of them adults - that there’s an invisible man who lives in the sky and watches everything you do, every minute of every day.  And who has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.
    And if you do ANY of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to remain and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry, forever and ever, till the end of time.  But he loves you!
    He loves you, and he needs money!  He always needs money.  He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, but somehow… he just can’t handle money.  Religion takes in billions of dollars, pays no taxes, and somehow always needs a little more.  now, you talk about a good bullshit story.  Holy shit!

  2. Stupid Evil Usher!  THAT’S my new career path!

    “Welcome to the Stupid Evil Tabernacle A Go-Go, sir, ma’am.  I’m sorry, you can’t bring that in here; no irrational beliefs are allowed in the sanctuary.  But you can check them here at the door and reclaim them when you leave, assuming you even want them by then.  Please put on this Thinking Cap.  Here are copies of today’s reading by Richard Dawkins.  Enjoy your Freethinker Experience!”

  3. Sir,

    As a recent graduate of the Rev. Buddy Bell system I must take umbrage at your obvious blow off of this fine man’s training. I for one, always had trouble finding my own ass with both hands (as most in the congregation do), but thanks to “Rev Bud” (that’s what WE Alumni call him) I can now, not only find my ass but I can now find YOUR ass a seat with nary a mis-step! Now I know you could argue that the Catholics have this finding an ass (any ass) thing readily built into their ecumenical curriculum, but as almost any evening newscast can show, without Rev Bud’s highly refined situational qualification system this can break down i.e. finding the ass then forgetting about the seat part. This sort of thing never occurs in our congregation anymore!

    The whole tone of your diatribe shows that you, for one, have never had your anointing distracted or as the good rev calls it anointus interuptus. As one who has witnessed what can happen when any type of oil gets into the wrong hands, let me tell you it isn’t pretty.

    One last point if I may be so bold, God has been much happier since he has been receiving all the money that goes into the basket without some untrained money grabbing usher emptying the big bills into his pocket.

    Thank You,

    P.S. Please don’t make the mistake of picking up the new Usher DVD at your local retailer, it is NOT a quick reference guide put out by Reverend Buddy and tends to cause confusion on Sunday mornings what with all the crotch grabbing in the aisles.

  4. I know how you feel, Les.
    I was at my cousin’s verrrrrrry Catholic wedding a year ago.
    My brothers and I cracked up at the statue of Jesus in a gold lam

  5. P.S. Please don’t make the mistake of picking up the new Usher DVD at your local retailer

    I just snorfled hot espresso through my nose.  That hurt.

  6. GeekMom, Goodlooking Evil Bastard and Les are cracking me up. Clever stuff there guys.

    This thread has nothing but humor potential and rightly so.

  7. First ironing and now church?!?!  Poor Stupid Evil Brain Cells.  What a month. Here’s an excerpt from one usher training session that was especially humorous. 
    [Quote]Also consider the possibility of asking each of your ushers and greeters to visit another church on a Sunday morning to observe and personally feel the impact of their welcoming ministry. This should be a church where they know no one, and probably one of a different denomination. Provide an evaluation sheet on which the can “grade” the churches that they visit.[/Quote]

    Wouldn’t want one of those other churches having a better God plan than we do.  Sneaky little bastards.

  8. Hey, notBow, does this mean you could incorporate de-gayification therapy into usher training?  ‘Cause that would be really cool… “Train effective ushers AND fix their homo tendencies all in our special DVD package!”

    Yeah, I remember when I made the choice to be hetero.  There I was, about 12 years old, thinking, “Hmm, girls?  Or boys?  Could go either way!  Let’s see, now, eenie, meenie, minie, moe…” 

    (Note to literal-minded god-shouter: that did not really happen.  I never made a “choice” because it is not a choice.  My attractions were just natural to me, as are, I imagine, the attractions of gays.)

    Anyway, being an usher is lots of fun.  After you know the congregation well enough, you could make sure and not seat people together who might get into fights, or start making out, or otherwise disrupt the service.  Which is so common that an usher manual I once saw mentioned it.

  9. I find it somewhat amusing when anyone claims that they’ve found the ‘answer’ to sexual orientation, pointing wildly to the mistakes that others have made, and then saying “see, they were wrong, so I—must—be right.”

      Not that long ago, it was the—left—who was claiming that sexual orientation was not genetic.  And YES they had a political goal behind that claim.  David Reimer’s case [As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl] is—still—being argued over.  And this case is back in the news due to Reimer’s recent suicide.

      Anne Fausto Sterling still believes that Reimer’s case doesn’t “prove” anything, and that individual sexual orientation/gender identification can still be socially constructed.  As much as I might sympathize with Sterling’s desire to promote the idea of nurture before nature, I think Reimer’s case pretty much lances that preconception.  Unfortunate, because it just provides more ammunition for those who would point to certain types of people and say ‘see, they’re—born—bad.’  It opens up to door to all sorts of essentialist positions that are racist/sexist/etc.  Not surprising that the left would want to resist that.

      Of course, the fact that gender identification/sexual orientation may—not—be socially constructed does not necessarily mean that it is a—choice—.  There are all sorts of non-biologically determined aspects of a person’s character that are NOT subject to being changed.  There are aspects of individual character that, if you try to “deprogram” them out of someone, will—break—that person.  Or the deprogramming efforts will simply fail.  I’ve read a LOT on both sides of this argument, and I still can’t come to a personal determination.  I tend to suspect that, as with many things, the truth is a combination; it’s probably a combination of nature, nurture, and early childhood processes of identification and individuation [cum Lacan/Freud].

      I would—like—to believe that homosexuality is NOT a genetically determined factor.  I don’t have any problem at all with it being socially determined.  But gay penguins and the case of David Reimer have rather challenged my lefty-inspired wishes about what I would—like—to be true.

    So, again, I think it’s kind of funny that J. Ankerberg, of the Ankerberg Theological Research Center

    thinks that because some researchers have been—wrong—that he somehow “knows” something.

      (Oh, if you’d like to read other fascinating works by Ankerberg, or contribute to his ministry, just go to http://www.ankerberg.com)

    By the way, IWillNotBow, unless you’re actually Ankerberg, it’s considered polite to give some sort of attribution.  Maybe even a link

    Of course, that might call into question the potential biases of good sir Ankenberg.  No penguins in his document, I notice.  Oh well, maybe he’s anti-penguin.

    Stop the hate!  Love your penguin brothers!

  10. And if anyone wanted to look at some of the less—dated—studies in the potentially genetic component of homosexuality, I’ve provided a link.  Looks like it’s not only possible that homosexuality may have a genetic component, but that there may be several different (as many as six?) expressions of these genetic factors.

    It’s interesting that one of the theories posits homosexuality as a recessive trait that actually increases the “fitness” and thus the “desirablity” (to women) of heterosexual men, when it remains recessive.
    study discussing the possible biological origins of homosexuality

    Is this guy right?  Hell, I doubt it.  But if he’s not right, maybe he’ll contribute to the next guy’s work, and the next’s, until someone—does—nail it down. Science before soapbox, as it should be.

  11. I can only speak for myself, but I was recruited by heterosexuals who indoctrinated me into their deeply conservative world of sleeping with women for sexual pleasure. We aren’t born with any sexual preferences at all so this whole being “born straight” is just a load of crap cooked up by self serving god hating Republicans. I was young and impressionable and they took advantage of that, now I am an avowed hetero and live in fear that the government might begin passing constitutional amendments targeting my way of life. Since it is within my power to choose to go against my conditioning and become the gay man I was always meant to be I suppose I should just go ahead and do that.

    From here it is only a matter of time until I am attending church and working on the Bush campaign (heterosexuality is like a gateway drug), but that’s a story for another day.

  12. Guess I was wrong when I said this thread has nothing but humor potential but I reserve the right to laugh, still, at some of the stuff that’s been posted after my statement.

    Looks like I was born correctly folks, but I took a perfectly good sexuality and fucked it up. I’ve been falling ever since. Don’t feel sorry for me though - I must have known what I was doing.

  13. Had I seen IWillNotBow’s email before the first couple of responses to it I would’ve deleted it for the simple reason that it’s attached to an entry that has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality. Why the fuck do these idiots have to keep writing replies that have nothing to do with the subject being talked about?

  14. I always wonder about these posts that are off topic and odes not make a mention about it either being off topic a mention about the site. And the fact that the poster never comes back makes me wonder is this a spam bot. Maybe there is a program that search for certain key words and then print out a comment?

  15. If that’s the case, let’s try to guess which keywords in Les’s original post triggered the spam!

    I vote for:
    usher
    wedding
    well-trained
    models
    Barney
    hugs

  16. I vote for:

    religious spam

    I probably shouldn’t have even responded to the damn post, but it irritated me in a way that only sanctimonious pseudo-science can.

  17. Well if it was a bot then I feel pretty damn silly responding to it.  (I was a Christian for 20+ years, so I know all about responding to someone who isn’t there…)

  18. Hmm… I like the sound of well-trained models and Barney hugs. 

    more ammunition for those who would point to certain types of people and say ‘see, they’re—born—bad.’ It opens up to door to all sorts of essentialist positions that are racist/sexist/etc.  Off the top of my head - humans do have hormones of both sexes present, and maybe their presence plays a part in sexual predisposition.  I can see this playing a part in being born with hetero or homo tendencies.  As far as being “born bad”, I think that environment has a more significant part in that. 

    Or maybe it’s just my caffinated brain driving down the wrong side of the road.

  19. I’m not sure the essentialist position provides much ammunition to anyone.  For instance, when I say my attractions were natural to me, I’m not making a distinction between biological and sociocultural influences.  However they mix, the bottom line was “here’s how I am.” 

    The real issue is, why do some people feel the need to control what is natural for someone else when consenting adults are involved?  What’s so important about making sure no one else comes to a different bottom line?

  20. What an extremely funny bit until the “sexual” thing popped up.  I was laughing my ass off up to then.  I expected it to be deleted but I can see Les’ point on leaving it stand.  But I was so enjoying myself and felt the wit could have continued on if the non-entity would have gone someplace else..  An “Old broad” pushing 70 don’t care if you like boys or girls because I’ve learned it is only important that you love one another.  So go away and let me laugh a couple of more years ‘cause time flys when you are having fun.

  21. You know what?  I just realized something…

    GeekMom, Goodlooking Evil Bastard and Les are cracking me up. Clever stuff there guys.

    This thread has nothing but humor potential and rightly so.

    DAMN IT BROCK!  You just HAD to JINX it, DIDN’T YA?  DIDN’T YA?!

    You know, it always seems that when there’s a group of people sitting around, joking, and having a good time, some asshole has to throw his politics in there to fuck it all up. 

    IWillNotBow?  You are a fucking moron.  You may not be bowing, but you certainly are taken in to all this homophobic bullshit pretty easily.

  22. You’re right!  Damn the interloper!  It wasn’t Brock’s fault, it was those of us who took the bait. And I was the first gullible idiot!

    The next time some dipstick drops in a totally tangential tirade I will ignore their opportunistic asses!  I WILL NOT RESPOND!  WHO’S WITH ME?!

    (Clenches knife in teeth and jumps over railing.  Cue in splash, footage of circling sharks…  rest of crew stands looking into water shaking heads)

  23. Hmm, maybe the poster made a typo and had intended to write “IWillNotBLOW” …

    In which case it was a poor misguided gay person trying to talk himself out of his own genetic predisposition.  How sad.

    DOF, watch out for the Shrieking Eels, dude …

  24. Maybe they should get some Hooter’s girls to be ushers…  collection plates would be a lot more full.   Wings & beer, lunch and dinner, and don’t forget to tithe your waitress!

  25. No, no not “Hooters” waitresses, Ragman. Make it “Beavers” waitresses. The ushers wouldn’t even need to carry collection plates - they could hold the money kangaroo style.

    Here’s a video to use, with selling points. There are lots of satisfied customers visible. Just replace hungry patrons with horny church goers who never get laid enough and you’ve got winning tithing inspiration. If males serve as ushers, simply have them turn around to accept the money.

    Beaver’s Restaurant

    http://www.thedierks.com/allowe/video/TheManShow,BeaversRestaurant.avi

  26. Hey don’t knock being an usher.  I hear they can take home up to $200 [B]Tax Free[/B] in ‘tips’ after a sleepy sermon.  With the church generating almost $30 billion in revenue now I believe that squarely places them towards the top of the fortune 500. So many sheep to be fleeced.  I wonder if they’d let me be a ‘guest’ usher?  Of course that would then involve the dreaded iron thing.  Bastards!

  27. watch out for the Shrieking Eels, dude …

    Have fun storming the castle!

  28. It’s all your fault Les! I would never have found the site if you hadn’t linked to “Fifteen Minutes” Without your original link I wouldn’t have found a link to his friend’s site - “Scattered Words”

    Now I’m so mad I could chew rocks! All I can say is; I don’t know how David does it. How does he come here and fight us and not turn around and kick puppies in frustration.

    This “linking” to stuff is a bad idea. A very bad idea!

    Anyway, if you want to see what I’m mad about, visit Scattered Words.

    Sorry to speak off subject but this thread was abused already.

    http://scattered-words.blogspot.com/

  29. Man, I feel for that guy. There were several entries I wanted to speak up on, but wasn’t sure it was the thing to do. In particular I felt that the answer to his post about how if being gay is supposed to be OK then how come he doesn’t feel fulfilled by the guys he’s been with. The answer is simple enough: Gay, straight or otherwise there will never be any sense of fulfillment from a relationship that isn’t based on friendship and love. Sex for sex’s sake can be fun enough, but the sort of fulfillment this guy sounds like he’s looking for is the sort that comes from a loving and comitted relationship.

  30. Well said Les! Why can’t he see that it isn’t who he’s coupling with that causes his distress, but how he’s approaching his inclinations. It IS human nature to love and to long for devotion in return, and sex is an essential demonstrable method of affection, proving desire to connect with someone you care deeply for. But if you dispense it indiscriminately, chances are you won’t be evincing love, just lust.

    His religion tells him it is wrong to express, sexually, love for another of his gender. It isn’t surprising, that once he is accepting of, and especially if he is a promoter of his religion’s stances, he would be loath to unabashedly love another man. Any inclinations he might allow himself to express would be antithetic to his causes.

    This guy is a suicide waiting to happen and he has “friends” who are encouraging his self- loathing and ultimate demise. Any way you look at it; a part of him is likely to die.

    (My apologies: the above represents, exactly, how you bring down the lightheartedness of a thread)

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