Wheatonia, Episode 5

I spent most of 2013 doing my level-headed best to not write. The thing that got me back was a goofy-ass writing prompt over at Slacktivist wherein Fred suggested suggested a Wheaton-centric Christian version of Portlandia. I immediately wanted that to exist and, more importantly, I wanted to write it. Wheaton, after all, is my hometown and Portlandia is one of my favorite shows. So I wrote a bunch of “episodes” and posted them in the comments. Now they’re here. For posterity.

This was the last of the original posts. The story obviously needs some sort of conclusion. That will (hopefully) be popping up next week.

SCENE
WHEATON EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH
9:00 PM WEDNESDAY

(Establishing shot of a room with several long tables.  Each one is covered in pictures of various exotic
locations.  PASTOR KYLE stands in the middle of the room looking nervous.  BRENDAN and AMANDA enter.)

PASTOR KYLE:  Hey, guys, thanks for coming.
BRENDAN:  No problem.  Was this what you wanted to show us?
PASTOR KYLE:  Yes.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what you were saying about doing service projects and I
decided that I could do something.
AMANDA:  And you did…this?
PASTOR KYLE (smiling proudly):  Yup.  It’s Wheaton Ev Free’s first annual missions conference.
BRENDAN:  This is a conference?
PASTOR KYLE:  Isn’t it great?
BRENDAN:  But…there’s no one here.
PASTOR KYLE:  Well, I scheduled it at the same time as the DuPage County Republicans meeting.  And it’s a little
late for the retirees at Windsor, so, um, there are some kinks to work out.  We’ll get it right next year,
though!
AMANDA:  So…what’s going on, anyway?
PASTOR KYLE:  It occurred to me that there are lots of people in other places that don’t come to church here, so
I should probably highlight some of those locations.  It turns out that the church supports many missionaries in
Africa and Central America and Asia.  So I thought we’d do a missions conference to highlight the culture of
those areas.
BRENDAN:  What areas?
PASTOR KYLE:  Africa, Central America, and Asia.
BRENDAN:  Um, you realize that there is no single, say, African culture, right?
PASTOR KYLE:  Sure there is.  Just look at the Africa table.
(PASTOR KYLE gestures towards a table labeled “Africa” that has pictures of the pyramids of Giza, a Zulu
warrior, a zebra, and a ring-tailed lemur.)
BRENDAN:  Um…the pyramids are in Egypt and Zulus are in South Africa.  That’s like saying that the Empire
State Building is in San Francisco and everyone in Maine wears ten gallon hats and carries six shooters around.
PASTOR KYLE (laughing): Nonsense!  We have missionaries in Africa who have seen all of those things.
BRENDAN:  But has the same one seen all of those things at the same time?
PASTOR KYLE:  I’d assume, yes.
BRENDAN (sighing heavily):  Well, at least you’re trying.
END SCENE

SCENE
LA SPIAZA COFFEE HOUSE
10:00 AM WEDNESDAY

(Establishing shot of inside of a coffee shop.  ETHAN and EMILY are drinking coffees while sitting at a table with Apple laptops, iPads, and leather-bound Bibles.)

ETHAN (clears throat):  So, um, there’s been some pretty weird stuff going on with, y’know, butt stuff, lately.
EMILY:  What’s so weird about that?  I’ve been doing it since high school.
ETHAN:  You…you have?
EMILY:  Yeah.  You think you were my first?
ETHAN:  Well…kinda.
EMILY (laughs):  Oh, Ethan.  You’re adorable.
ETHAN:  I don’t know what to say right now.
EMILY:  We seem to have gotten off track.  What did you want to talk about originally.
ETHAN:  It doesn’t matter.  I think there’s something more important going on right now.
EMILY:  Not really.  You thought you were my first.  You’re not.  It’s not like I’m your first.
ETHAN:  Actually…you are.
EMILY:  Oh…geez.
ETHAN:  I thought we had something special.
EMILY:  We do.  But I had something special with Danny, too.  And Greg.  And Lars.
ETHAN:  Wait.  You’ve done it with three other guys?
EMILY:  Five.  You didn’t let me finish.
ETHAN:  FIVE?
EMILY:  Wait, no.  Six.  But Ryan barely counted, if you catch my drift.
ETHAN:  But…but…you told me you were a virgin when you started.
EMILY:  And I still am.  That’s the whole point, isn’t it?
ETHAN:  No.  It’s not.  The point is that you’re supposed to tell those other guys that you’re not available.
EMILY:  Those other guys?  You mean the guys I met before I even knew you?
ETHAN:  Yeah.  Those guys.
EMILY:  I can’t believe you’re being such a dick.
ETHAN:  I’m being a what?
EMILY:  A dick.  And not the good kind.
ETHAN:  Oh, there’s a good kind of dick now?
EMILY:  Yeah.  It’s the kind that I like to have inside me.  Where yours will never be again.
ETHAN:  Oh, like you’re have a hard time finding another one, apparently.
EMILY:  Dick.
(EMILY gets up from the table and stomps out of the building.)

SCENE
DUPAGE COUNTY PSYCHOSOCIAL REHABILITATION SERVICES UNIT
9:00 AM FRIDAY

(Establishing shot of the inside of a hospital.  Several patients are sitting at tables in the room.  PASTOR KYLE and TANYA enter.  TANYA is carrying a clipboard.)

TANYA:  So this is our actual behavioral services ward for those who need inpatient care.
PASTOR KYLE:  I see.  So what kind of help do they need?  Prayer?  Instructions on godly living?
TANYA:  Um…no.  We provide occupational therapy, physical therapy, and counseling in both a group and individualized formats.  We also provide pharmacological intervention when necessary.
PASTOR KYLE:  So…no prayer, then.
TANYA:  We think that prayer holds therapeutic value for some of our patients, so we don’t discourage it.  But we don’t see it as our role to play to push religious services.
PASTOR KYLE:  But all you need is prayer.  It says so in the Bible.  I can’t believe you’d overlook that.
TANYA:  But…uh, not all of our patients are Christians.  Or even religious, necessarily.  And we don’t use the Bible as a manual.
PASTOR KYLE:  Well there’s your problem right there, then.
(PASTOR KYLE turns to the nearest patient.)
PASTOR KYLE:  What’s your name, son?
PATIENT:  John.
PASTOR KYLE:  Tell me, John, do you know who Jesus is?
JOHN:  Of course.  I talk to Jesus all the time.
PASTOR KYLE:  Excellent.  What do you talk to Jesus about?
JOHN:  Oh, y’know, our day.  The food.  Books we’ve read.  That sort of thing.
PASTOR KYLE:  Books you…both have read?
JOHN:  Yeah.  Jesus is a big fan of Tom Clancy.
PASTOR KYLE:  He is?  How did you find that out?
JOHN:  He told me.  You can ask him, if you want. (JOHN points to another patient) He’s right over there.
(The other patient waves.)
JESUS:  Hello, my son.
(PASTOR KYLE backs up and glances nervously between the two patients and the exit.)
TANYA:  Are you okay, sir?
PASTOR KYLE (regaining his composure):  Um, yes.  I’m fine.  So when do you want our people to come over?  We can do prayer groups, Bible studies, counseling, the works.  You obviously need a lot of that sort of thing.
TANYA:  Oh, no.  We can’t have unlicensed, untrained people doing that.  Our volunteers help with cleaning, serving food, and, you know, stuff like that.
PASTOR KYLE:  How are we supposed to do service projects if you won’t let us serve you.
TANYA (looking perplexed):  We…um…(TANYA looks at her clipboard).  You know what?  It actually looks like we don’t need any new volunteers at the moment.  We’re all full up.
PASTOR KYLE:  But when I called you said you’d be happy to have a group come in and serve.
TANYA:  Yeah, we’re, um, required to say that.  By law.
PASTOR KYLE:  Oh, I get it.  Obamacare.
TANYA:  Yeah.  That’s it.  So, um, sorry for taking your valuable time like this.
PASTOR KYLE:  No problem.  I understand.
END SCENE

—————-

[Ed. Note:  From the “true tales of Wheaton,” there was (and may still be, for all I know) a man with obvious mental health issues who would travel around the town and crash church services claiming to be Jesus.  I saw him on two occasions, once when he showed up at my church on Sunday morning and another time when he showed up at a church in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago where the junior high youth group was doing a short-term missions trip.  There are few things more fascinating than seeing a group of ushers escorting Jesus out of church on Sunday mornings.

Also, this is the only one I changed before posting it here to make Tanya more neutral on religion.  A friend pointed out that mental health professionals wouldn’t be particularly willing to let a pastor direct the conversation.]

Wheatonia, Episode 4

I spent most of 2013 doing my level-headed best to not write. The thing that got me back was a goofy-ass writing prompt over at Slacktivist wherein Fred suggested suggested a Wheaton-centric Christian version of Portlandia. I immediately wanted that to exist and, more importantly, I wanted to write it. Wheaton, after all, is my hometown and Portlandia is one of my favorite shows. So I wrote a bunch of “episodes” and posted them in the comments. Now they’re here. For posterity.

And we get to the introduction of Pastor Kyle.  Hooray!

Wheatonia, Episode 4

SCENE
WHEATON EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH
12:15 AM SUNDAY

(Establishing shot of exterior of a church.  Camera switches to BRENDAN and AMANDA walking out the doors.)

BRENDAN:  Well that wasn’t so bad.
AMANDA:  No.  Good service, nice people, not one song that sounded like a command for you to do inappropriate things with other men.  I liked it.
BRENDAN:  Yeah.  Maybe we should come back again.
(BRENDAN’S phone rings.  He pulls it out of his pocket and looks at the number, then tentatively puts the
phone to his ear.)
MALE VOICE:  Is this Brendan Doubleday?
BRENDAN:  Yes.  Can I help you?
MALE VOICE:  This is Pastor Kyle of Wheaton Evangelical Free Church.  I noticed that you were in our service today.
BRENDAN (clearly puzzled):  Yeah.  My fiancee and I are looking for a new church.
PASTOR KYLE:  And your previous church was College Church, correct?
BRENDAN:  Yes.
PASTOR KYLE:  That’s excellent news.  Hey, can I make a request?
BRENDAN:  Sure.  I guess.
PASTOR KYLE:  Can you and your lovely fiancee come in for a meeting with me?  Preferably some time this week, but whenever is good for you.  I’d love to talk.
BRENDAN:  Yeah.  I guess.  How about Thursday at 7 PM?
PASTOR KYLE:  That would be fantastic.  How about we meet at La Spiaza?  I love their lattes.
BRENDAN:  Yeah.  Great.
PASTOR KYLE:  Excellent.  I’ll be there.
(BRENDAN hangs up the phone.)
AMANDA:  What was that all about?
BRENDAN:   Pastor Kyle wants to meet with us.
AMANDA:  Pastor Kyle?  As in the Pastor Kyle of the church we just attended for the first time ever?
BRENDAN:  That’s the one.
AMANDA:  Why?
BRENDAN:  Beats me.  But I kinda want to find out.
END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
10:00 AM WEDNESDAY

(Establishing shot of PASTOR BOB’s office.  PASTOR BOB is working on something at his desk when ETHAN walks in.  [Ed. Note: PASTOR BOB is pretty much modeled off of most Bob Odenkirk characters.])

ETHAN:  You wanted to see me, Pastor Bob?
PASTOR BOB:  Yes, Ethan, come in, take a seat.
ETHAN (sits):  What can I do for you.
PASTOR BOB:  I want to talk to you about your father, Ethan.
ETHAN:  Um…really?
PASTOR BOB:  Yes.  I’m worried that he’s left us.
ETHAN:  Left…us?
PASTOR BOB:  College Church.  The church is a family, Ethan. You can’t just leave family.  That would be

like…like…leaving school or telling your favorite band, “Nope, I’m not going to listen to you guys

anymore.”  Wouldn’t that be crazy?
ETHAN:  Well…um…I guess.
PASTOR BOB:  Look, Ethan, I’m going to level with you.  You can’t let your father leave College Church and you certainly can’t let them go to Wheaton Ev Free.
ETHAN:  Why?
PASTOR BOB:  Because Pastor Kyle will suck him into his little cult of personality and you’ll lose him.  Forever.
ETHAN:  Lose him?  How.
PASTOR BOB:  Forever, Ethan.  For-EVER.
ETHAN:  You’re not making any sense.
PASTOR BOB (getting visibly angry):  Oh, I’m not making sense am I? I’m not making sense?  I’M not MAKING SENSE!?
(PASTOR BOB looks around his desk, then picks up a sheet of paper and shakes it at ETHAN.)
PASTOR BOB:  You see this sheet of paper, Ethan?  This is your father’s soul.  Now this is what Pastor Kyle will do to it.
(PASTOR BOB crumples the paper and throws it in the wastebasket.)
PASTOR BOB:  You don’t want that, do you?
ETHAN:  Uh.  No.  I guess.
PASTOR BOB:  Think about it, then.
ETHAN:  I will.  Sure.
(ETHAN leaves.  PASTOR BOB goes back to working.  A moment later he starts shuffling through papers on his desk.)
PASTOR BOB (muttering to himself):  Crap.  Why do I always throw my sermon notes out when I do that?
END SCENE

SCENE
LA SPIAZA COFFEE HOUSE
7:00 PM THURSDAY

(Establishing shot of the interior of a coffee shop.  BRENDAN and AMANDA are nervously fiddling with their drink mugs when PASTOR KYLE enters. [Ed. Note: Pastor Kyle is most definitely played by Kyle MacLachlan.])

PASTOR KYLE:  Hey, you guys.  Thanks for meeting me.
BRENDAN (looking puzzled): How do you know who we are?
PASTOR KYLE (sitting down): Have you had their gelato?  I love a good gelato.  So many flavors.  Chocolate, vanilla, pistachio.  Pistachio ice cream!  Who’d have thought that would be a good idea?  But it is.  It really is.
AMANDA:  I like strawberry gelato.
PASTOR KYLE:  Strawberry?  (PASTOR KYLE looks disappointed)  I guess that’s okay, too.
BRENDAN:  So, um…can I ask what’s going on here?
PASTOR KYLE:  Oh, of course.  This is about your visit to our little church on Sunday.
AMANDA:  We gathered as much.
PASTOR KYLE:  Look, I’m going to level with you.  Wheaton Evangelical Free Church has been growing by leaps and bounds.  We had ten new people this past Sunday alone.  Two of them were from First Baptist.  Four were from Wheaton Bible.  Two were from Glen Ellyn Bible, if you can believe it.  But you were the only two from College Church.  And I hear that you have children, so that’s fantastic.
BRENDAN:  How–
PASTOR KYLE:  Let me finish.  What I want to know is this: how do I get more people to come to my church?  Specifically, how do I get more College Church people to come to Wheaton Ev Free?
AMANDA:  I don’t understand the question.
PASTOR KYLE:  It’s simple.  I’ve been trying for years to make us the biggest non-denominational, unaffiliated protestant church in Wheaton.  I thought I’d succeeded when Wheaton Bible Church moved to West Chicago, but then Pastor Bob showed up at College Church and suddenly I was back in second place.  So now I need to know what sorts of things College Church people want to do that would get them to come to Wheaton Ev Free.
AMANDA (obviously confused):  Have you tried looking for people outside the church?
PASTOR KYLE:  What, you mean like Catholics?
AMANDA:  No, like, non-Christians.
PASTOR KYLE (chuckling):  Non-Christians?  Why would I want them to come to my church?  They’ll just show up with their biology textbooks and their heavy metal music and muck everything up.  I mean, they probably don’t even know our Statement of Doctrinal Truth or the right way to pray to Jesus if you can’t find your keys and your car won’t start.
BRENDAN:  Well, you could, you know, teach them.
PASTOR KYLE:  Who has time for that?  I’m a busy man and I have a church to run.
AMANDA:  But, still.  Have you thought about service projects?
PASTOR KYLE:  Oh, we have those.  There’s “Clean the Church with Pastor Kyle Day” the third Saturday of every month.  And the first weekend of every December we send the youth groupout to hang Christmas decorations on the houses of our older members.
BRENDAN:  But, like, do you do anything that focuses outside of your church?
PASTOR KYLE:  Well, we used to sponsor Abstinence Day at the local high schools, but then the courts told us we had to cut it out.
AMANDA:  That’s it?
PASTOR KYLE:  Hey, running a church takes a lot of time.
AMANDA:  Humor us, please.  Think about trying to find a way to grow your church from outside.
PASTOR KYLE:  But church growth is church growth.  It doesn’t matter where the people come from.
AMANDA:  But if you get ten people who came from College Church then that’s ten people who aren’t going to College Church anymore.
PASTOR KYLE:  Yes.  That’s the goal.
BRENDAN (sighing heavily):  Please.  Just humor us.
PASTOR KYLE:  Okay, I’ll look into it.  But…you guys will come back, right?
(BRENDAN and AMANDA look at each other.  AMANDA shrugs.)
AMANDA:  Yeah.  Probably.  At least you’re not telling us to do butt stuff.
PASTOR KYLE:  Oh, yeah.  I’ve heard there’s a bit of a pandemic of that going around at College Church.  Do you think it would help get people here if I started telling people to do it at my church?
END SCENE

Wheatonia, Episode 3

I spent most of 2013 doing my level-headed best to not write. The thing that got me back was a goofy-ass writing prompt over at Slacktivist wherein Fred suggested suggested a Wheaton-centric Christian version of Portlandia. I immediately wanted that to exist and, more importantly, I wanted to write it. Wheaton, after all, is my hometown and Portlandia is one of my favorite shows. So I wrote a bunch of “episodes” and posted them in the comments. Now they’re here. For posterity.

For the record, this particular entry contains actual words I heard from an actual pastor who put out an actual video on how to be a real, true, Christian man.  See if you can guess which part.  Also, it includes the introduction of PASTOR BOB, who is awesome.

EPISODE 3

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
10:00 AM TUESDAY

(Establishing shot of PASTOR BOB’S office. PASTOR BOB is working on something. CALEB and JENNIFER enter. [Ed. Note: this definitely works best if you imagine Pastor Bob played by Bob Odenkirk.])

CALEB: You wanted to talk to us, Pastor Bob?
PASTOR BOB: Yeah. It’s about that song you guys did on Sunday, “Jesus Come Into My Dirty Places.”
JENNIFER (fidgeting nervously): Uh, yeah. We wrote it last week.
PASTOR BOB (picks up sheet of paper and reads from it): “Jesus find my dirty place/Jesus it’s so dark/Jesus you I cannot face/In my dirty place you’ll park.”
CALEB: Yeah. That’s…that’s part of the song.
PASTOR BOB (continues reading): “Jesus it’s so tight in there/I don’t know if you’ll fit/Oh, Jesus, please take care/Jesus, Jesus, please don’t quit.”
JENNIFER: I was really, really in a potentially painful place when I wrote that.
PASTOR BOB (puts paper down): This…I just don’t know what to say to you two.
CALEB: We…uh…we can explain.
PASTOR BOB: What is there to explain? This is brilliant!
JENNIFER: It…it is?
PASTOR BOB: Yes. That’s why I wanted to talk to you about it. I think you should record this song.
CALEB: Well…um. That could be fun.
PASTOR BOB: Also, it really speaks to some things I was talking about with the men’s group last week. I want to use it at our next men’s breakfast on Saturday.
JENNIFER (looking relieved): Sure. That would be awesome.
PASTOR BOB: Great! And, you two, do something for me.
CALEB: What?
PASTOR BOB: Keep doing whatever you were doing when you came up with this song. Do it all day and all night if you have to.
CALEB (a smile slowly spreads across his face): You know, sir, I think we will.
JENNIFER (looking nervous): I…I don’t know. That was a pretty…special place. Going there too many times might hurt.
CALEB: If Pastor Bob says…
END SCENE

SCENE
128 HARRISON ST
7:00 PM WEDNESDAY

(Establishing shot of the outside of a house. Camera switches to the interior. BRENDAN and AMANDA are sitting on the couch.)

BRENDAN: So what are we going to do?
AMANDA: I don’t know, watch a movie?
BRENDAN: No, I mean about the wedding.
AMANDA: What can we do? Pastor Bob is being totally unreasonable.
BRENDAN: Yeah. I suppose. But…maybe he has a point.
AMANDA: How could you say that?
BRENDAN: Well, he’s a pastor. That means he’s had all kinds of education in
what the Bible says. What are we? I’m just a chemist with a Ph.D and you’re just the Vice President of New Product Development at Terodyne Systems. We don’t know anything about what god has to say.
AMANDA: Yeah. I suppose you’re right. Maybe we should think harder about what Pastor Bob said.
BRENDAN: I hear he’s got a men’s breakfast coming up on Saturday. Maybe I’ll go to that and try to talk to him afterwards.
AMANDA: That sounds like a plan.
END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
8:00 AM SATURDAY

(Establishing
shot of a group of men eating eggs in a large conference room. PASTOR
BOB steps up to a podium on one end of the room.)

PASTOR BOB: Men, if I could have your attention for a moment.
(PASTOR BOB pauses for effect while the group stops eating and talking.)
PASTOR BOB: Thanks, everyone. Now, I’m sure all of you were here for our service on Sunday. So if you were you might have heard a new song written by our very own College Church praise band, called “Jesus Come Into My Dirty Places.” They’ve been kind enough to record it for us.
(Pastor Bob queues up an iPod and plays the song. Most of the men close their eyes. Some appear to be emotionally moved. A few begin to look around uncomfortably. Two college-aged men in the back of the room start giggling but are quickly shushed. The song ends and PASTOR BOB looks around.)
PASTOR BOB: Men, I think we need to talk about the importance of getting into each other’s dirty place. It’s what Jesus would want us to do, after all. That’s right. We all have a dirty place inside ourselves, men. It’s a place we’re ashamed of, maybe. It’s a place where we don’t let anyone but us see. Not our parents, not our friends, not our wives, certainly not other men. But we’re all learning to be good, strong men of god. But we’re not men. Not yet. You know how I know we’re not men? Because real men let other men inside them.
(PASTOR BOB pauses for effect.)
PASTOR BOB: Yes. That’s right. You’re not a real man until you’ve had another man inside of you. So this week, this morning, even, I want you to find another man and show him your dirty place. Then, when you’re done, I want you to get him to show you his dirty place.
(PASTOR BOB pauses again.)
PASTOR BOB: There’s another thing, too. Some of you older men know the importance in your own life of having an older mentor. Some of you older men even know exactly what it’s like to have a mentor find you, come up to you, and tell you he’s been watching you and he wants to help you grow in the love of Jesus. So for you older men in this room, I want you to do something. I want you to pick one of the younger men in this crowd, I want you to go up to him at some point this morning, and I want you to put your arm around his shoulders and say, “I’ve been watching you.” Then I want you to help him let Jesus into his dirty place. That’s the only way we’ll all grow in Jesus. Can we do it, men? Can we truly let down our guards enough to let the other men in this room come into our dirty places?
END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
9:00 AM SATURDAY

(Establishing shot of outside of the church. BRENDAN walks out the door, dialing a number on his cell phone.)
BRENDAN: Hey, Amanda? Yeah, it’s me. I just got out. Look, I think I know what we have to do.
(BRENDAN pauses, listening.)
BRENDAN: No, no, that’s not it at all. No, I think we need to get out of this church. And we need to get Ethan and Megan and Jackie out of here, too. You will not believe what Pastor Bob just told me to do.
(BRENDAN pauses, listening.)
BRENDAN: Wow. How did you find out about that?
(BRENDAN pauses, listening.)
BRENDAN: Yeah. He said to do it, but with another man. That’s…I mean, if you wanted to I’d talk about it.

(BRENDAN pauses, a look of disappointment spreads across his face.)
BRENDAN: No. I guess that’s okay. Yeah. I’ll see you at home.
END SCENE

Wheatonia, Episode 2

I spent most of 2013 doing my level-headed best to not write. The thing that got me back was a goofy-ass writing prompt over at Slacktivist wherein Fred suggested suggested a Wheaton-centric Christian version of Portlandia. I immediately wanted that to exist and, more importantly, I wanted to write it. Wheaton, after all, is my hometown and Portlandia is one of my favorite shows. So I wrote a bunch of “episodes” and posted them in the comments. Now they’re here. For posterity.

EPISODE 2

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
11:00 AM SUNDAY

(Establishing shot of the inside of a packed church sanctuary.  PASTOR BOB takes the podium [ed. note: it’s best if you see Pastor Bob as a Bob Odenkirk character].)

PASTOR BOB:  Thanks to the praise band for their uplifting singing this morning.  It’s amazing how god speaks to us through music.  I especially liked that new one, “Jesus Come On All Our Heads.”  Now let us pray.
Jesus god we come before you today humbled.  We’re on our knees before you, like we just sang in the song.  Lord Jesus god while we’re on our knees, Jesus, we pray that you would come all over our heads, Jesus.  Rain down on our heads like manna from heaven, Jesus god lord.  We ask, Jesus lord god savior, that you take us to the promised land filled with milk and honey, savior Jesus lord god.  King Jesus savior lord god please rain your milk all over our heads while we kneel before you.
In your name we pray, Jesus lord king savior god.
Amen.
END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
3:00 PM TUESDAY

(Establishing shot of PASTOR BOB’S office.  PASTOR BOB is working on something.  BRENDAN and AMANDA enter.)

PASTOR BOB:  Ah, good to see you guys.
BRENDAN:  Good to see you, too, pastor.  Thanks for moving the appointment.
PASTOR BOB:  No problem.  It’s important to make sure you both go through your premarital counseling on time.
AMANDA:  Yeah, about that.  I was going through the workbook you gave us and I don’t think that it’s right for people in our…situation.
PASTOR BOB:  What?  You’re engaged.
BRENDAN:  Yeah…but I’m 45.  I’m divorced.  Amanda is 39 and her husband died in Iraq.  We’re not a couple of college kids who don’t know what’s going on.
PASTOR BOB:  I’m sorry.  I don’t follow.
AMANDA:  Well, there’s this bit here (opens up workbook and begins reading): “Babies are a true gift from god.  All married couples should make it their primary task to glorify god by having as many babies as quickly as possible.”
PASTOR BOB: My wife gave birth to our first son 11 months after our wedding.  We have six kids now.  I don’t see why that’s a problem.
BRENDAN:  I already have a son from my first marriage.  He’s in college.
AMANDA:  I have two daughters.  They’re both in high school.  Neither one of us wants another.
PASTOR BOB:  So you’re not virgins?
(BRENDAN and AMANDA look at each other in confusion.)
BRENDAN:  No.  You…you’ve met my son.  His name is Ethan and he plays in the praise band.
PASTOR BOB:  Oh.  Well I’m disappointed.
AMANDA:  Yeah, we are too.
PASTOR BOB:  Well that’s good.  As long as you take time to pray for your sins we can move on.
AMANDA:  No.  We’re disappointed in the book.
PASTOR BOB:  Oh, um–
AMANDA:  And there’s this part (flips pages): “God is glofied through men.  As such, if the man is eclipsed god’s power is diminished.  The role of a wife should be to support her man, primarily through raising the children to glorify his power.  She should not seek employment.  If she does have a job she should quit.”
PASTOR BOB:  Yeah.  My wife stays home to raise our children.
BRENDAN:  Amanda makes four times what I make.  I can’t support both of us on my salary, let alone our children.
AMANDA:  Yeah.  And I worked long and hard to get up to my position as Vice President of Development.  While raising two daughters.  With a husband who was gone for years at a time on deployment.
PASTOR BOB (leans forward, folds hands together):  What I’m hearing here is that you two aren’t ready or able to handle the commitment of marriage.
AMANDA:  I…um…I think you’re right.  We clearly have not thought through our decision to get married in your church.
(BRENDAN and AMANDA leave.  PASTOR BOB stares after them, then shakes his head and goes back to work.)
END SCENE

SCENE
LA SPIAZA COFFEE HOUSE
4:00 PM TUESDAY

(Establishing scene of coffee house.  CALEB, ETHAN, and EMILY are sitting around a table.  ETHAN has his arm around EMILY.)

ETHAN:  So I’m thinking of going and asking Pastor Bob for premarital counseling, but I think that might be weird.
CALEB:  Why?
ETHAN:  Well, he’s also handling my parents’ counseling.  So…y’know.
CALEB:  Yeah.  I guess.
EMILY:  We’ve been praying about it.  A lot.
CALEB:  Well, I’m going to be a pastor.  Maybe you can practice on me.
ETHAN:  Cool, man.  Thanks.
CALEB:  First of all, you guys are staying pure, right?
(ETHAN and EMILY share an uncomfortable look.)
CALEB:  Guys?
ETHAN:  Well, um, we were.  Then we got engaged and…y’know, things started to get a little hot and heavy.
CALEB:  Like what?
EMILY:  Well, last night ETHAN walked me back from our Monday Bible study and we…kissed.
ETHAN:  And we kissed after church on Sunday, too.
CALEB:  That’s not so bad.  Have you prayed about it?
EMILY:  Yeah.  I pray about it a lot.  And I all want to do when I’m praying is kiss Ethan.
ETHAN:  And she let me touch her breasts once.  Over the shirt, of course.
CALEB:  Whoa.  That’s way too far.  And it’s probably an indication that something else is happening.  Is there anything else?
ETHAN:  Well…yeah.
CALEB:  What?
EMILY:  Y’know…butt stuff.
CALEB:  Butt…stuff?
EMILY:  Yeah.  I bend over, pull down my pants, and he…y’know, butt stuff.
CALEB:  Oh.
END SCENE

SCENE
SUNRISE APARTMENTS
9:00 PM TUESDAY

(Establishing shot of the outside of an apartment building.)

CALEB:  So I was talking to ETHAN and EMILY today and I found out about something.
JENNIFER:  What?
CALEB:  Well, it turns out that if you do butt stuff it’s not technically having sex.  So, y’know, less guilt.
(JENNIFER’S eyes widen.)
END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
10:30 AM THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY

(Establishing shot of the inside of a packed church sanctuary.  JENNIFER is at the front of the praise band.)

JENNIFER:  I want to sing a song I wrote just this week.  I call it, “Jesus Come Into My Dirty Places.”
END SCENE

Wheatonia, Episode 1

I spent most of 2013 doing my level-headed best to not write. The thing that got me back was a goofy-ass writing prompt over at Slacktivist wherein Fred suggested a Wheaton-centric Christian version of Portlandia. I immediately wanted that to exist and, more importantly, I wanted to write it. Wheaton, after all, is my hometown and Portlandia is one of my favorite shows. So I wrote a bunch of “episodes” and posted them in the comments. Now they’re here. For posterity.

EPISODE 1

SCENE
LA SPIAZA COFFEE HOUSE
3:00 PM SATURDAY

(Establishing shot of interior of coffee shop. Camera focuses on CALEB and MARY, who are wearing Wheaton College sweatshirts, sitting in front of Apple laptops, and leafing through leather-bound Bibles.)

CALEB: So I was doing my daily devotionals today and god just really spoke to me.
MARY: Really?
CALEB: Yeah. I was reading this one passage that said something about how god said he’d help us in our struggles and you know how hard I’ve had things lately.
MARY: You have?
CALEB: Oh, yeah. I’ve had to take all of those tests for my Systematic Theology courses. And right in the middle of studying my IPod Touch broke so I had to switch to my Christian music station on Pandora but my wi-fi connection was really bad.
MARY: Oh. Man. That’s rough.
CALEB: Yeah. But I prayed about it and Jesus told me to just persevere and it would all get better.
MARY: Would…would you like to pray about it now? Like, with me?
CALEB: That would be great. Thanks.

END SCENE

SCENE
MARIANO’S FRESH MARKET
7:00 PM SATURDAY

(Establishing shot of produce section of grocery store. JEFF is looking at tomatoes when CALEB walks in.)

CALEB: Jeff? Jeff Peterson, is that you?
JEFF: Um…Caleb?
CALEB: Yeah! I haven’t seen you since high school! How are you doing?
JEFF: I’m great. Just back for the weekend.
CALEB: Where did you go to school again? Calvin?
JEFF: No.
CALEB: Trinity?
JEFF: No.
CALEB: Bethel?
JEFF: No.
CALEB: Gordon?
JEFF: No.
CALEB: Well it can’t be Biola, since you wouldn’t be back for the weekend from California.
JEFF: I go to the University of Illinois.
CALEB (blinks a few times): Oh. Wow. That’s great. I’ll bet that’s a fertile missions field. You must be really strong, since god called you to go there.
JEFF (looking uncomfortable): Uh…sure.
CALEB: So did you find a good church down there?
JEFF: Not really.
CALEB (looking like he’s about to be sick): Oh. Well, I’ll pray for you, man.

END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
7:00 AM SUNDAY

(Establishing shot of church sanctuary. The pews are empty. CALEB, ETHAN, JENNIFER, MARY, and DAVID are practicing for the morning’s service.)

CALEB: Okay, guys, let’s play “Jesus is the Bestest Ever.”
(Band starts playing, something sounds off.)
CALEB: Stop. Stop. (turns to JENNIFER) Jen, what are you doing?
JENNIFER: I’m playing the song.
CALEB: No, you’re playing “The Bestest Thing Ever is Jesus.” We’re doing “Jesus is the Bestest Ever.”
JENNIFER: Oh…sorry. Which one is that again?
MARY: It’s the one that goes, “Jesus/Oh Jesus/Oh oh Jesus/Oh, god, oh Jesus/Oh oh oh Jesus/You feel so good.”
JENNIFER: I thought that was “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
CALEB: I think we’re going to have to have some extra rehearsal time to go over the songs.
END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
1:00 PM SUNDAY

(CALEB is sitting in an office. PASTOR BOB walks in.)

PASTOR BOB: That was some really great singing today, Caleb. Where do you come up with them?
CALEB: It’s all Jesus. I just pray, get my heart right with god, and then the songs kind of…happen, you know?
PASTOR BOB: Well keep them coming.
CALEB: Oh, I hope to, sir. I’ve got some extra rehearsal time tonight and I’m guessing something good will come out of it.
END SCENE

SCENE
SUNRISE APARTMENTS
9:00 PM SUNDAY

(Establishing shot of the outside of an apartment building. Music from the morning’s service is playing over the shot.)

JENNIFER: Jesus/Oh Jesus/Oh oh Jesus/Oh, god, oh Jesus/Oh oh oh Jesus/You feel so good.
CALEB: Now you’re getting it. Let’s practice again.
(Camera switches to an interior shot. CALEB and JENNIFER are lying naked in a bed. One of the songs from the morning is playing on the stereo.)
JENNIFER: Why don’t we write a new song?

END SCENE

SCENE
COLLEGE CHURCH
7:00 AM THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY

(Establishing shot of church sanctuary. The pews are empty. CALEB, ETHAN, JENNIFER, MARY, and DAVID are practicing for the morning’s service.)

CALEB: Okay, everyone, we’re going to try our new song, “Come All Over Me Jesus.”
END SCENE