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.
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.
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…
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.
8:00 AM SATURDAY
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?
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.