Monday, January 19, 2009

Poverty - you'll have nothing to lose!

Like a big slobbery puppy love kiss, the global economic recession has been coming for a while and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. But like that canine salival baptism, there’s an upside too. As consumers frugally decide where to spend their hard earned McDonald’s vouchers, the savvier businesses are benefitting by learning to distinguish themselves from the pack.

Most notable amongst them is the new marketing campaign by several Christian churches, featuring the slogan “Poverty! You’ll have nothing to lose!” Explaining the incongruously upbeat message, Anglican pastor Bill Jacobs commented that “we feel it will be more useful if we can get our flocks excited about depression. And by ‘useful’ I mean ‘happy’. For Jesus.”

Initially the coalition had focused on recruiting new members with concepts like hope and faith, but they soon found out that Americans are not moved intangible nouns. “We saw how impassive people were when we bandied around words like ‘justice’, ‘morality’ and ‘morbid obesity’, so we thought we’d try something a little more real.”

Poverty, for example, is very tangible. “It tastes a bit like salty concrete,” explained the pastor, brushing gravel from his beard.

Some critics have however suggested that, far from a departure from the more usual “Jesus loves you” and “God hates fags” billboards, the new ones actually employ a tack already used by many churches. “It’s the idea of succumbing to a greater being,” noted billboard enthusiast, Jake White. “All they’ve done is replace God with poverty.”

Pastor Jacobs has also received criticism for what some call double standards, namely the installation of new carpeting and under floor heating in his rectory. Addressing his followers, the Pastor explained “it’s not for everyone. The poverty, that is. Parishioners are free to use the new carpet whenever they like.”

One commentator has however suggested that the billboards are likely to be ineffective. Noting that they merely capitalize on the defeatism of those lacking the imagination to improve their plight, advertizing expert Mary Fields argues that “embracing poverty is wholly passive and merely uses the same amount of energy as praying. Unless you’re a Baptist,” she added. “Due to the high calorie consumption involved in Baptist worship, we expect many of them to be slimming down over the coming months.”

In other news, this economic climate may seem like an odd choice in which to raise tithing fees, but that is precisely what Frodology has done. Frodo’s Head Minion on Earth (Fro’Moe) likened the brave move to the trailblazing bank which bucks the penny-pinching trend by lending money to risky creditors. Flinching both the question and shoe of a critical reporter at a recent press conference, the Head Fro’Moe explained that it was important that tax exempt institutions reap the benefit of higher incomes so that followers can benefit from the principle of trickle down the leg wealth distribution.

"In any case," asked the Fro'Moe, "is it really poverty when you're so rich in spirit?"


Dani' El said...

Is Bro' Fro' Moe an African, Hobbit, or Jew?

Speaking from the perspective of someone who has lived on both sides of the spectrum, I'll stick with my poverty any day.

Although to be honest, living in poverty is much easier now that I know that I have a massive inheritance coming soon.

What a dilemma! ;-)
I know I value a good meal much more having gone hungry in the past. I'll enjoy being with family and friends more after being surrounded by enemies.

I'll remind you that during Jesus' ministry, He was a homeless couch surfer.

Mat 8:20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Vitamin R said...

Poverty, for example, is very tangible. “It tastes a bit like salty concrete,” explained the pastor, brushing gravel from his beard.

LMAO--dude, poverty actually tastes like cold wet-leaves stew, with a side of old newspaper for dipping.

Or so I've heard. . . .

I can haz job?


I will say, having more than once been smack in the middle of haven't-really-eaten-in-a-couple-days, and gee-so-this-is-what-it's-like-to-live-without-electricity-or-hot-water, I almost never thought about religion during those periods. There's a strange, no-bullshit clarity that comes with being too hungry to waste energy deluding oneself. For serious :)

If poverty replaces god . . . people might start to get wise from all the starva--I mean fasting. . . .

Or they might just think with their stomachs and ignore the bigger picture. Truly, it's a fine line to tread for the discerning pastor.

FrodoSaves said...

The point I was trying to make about poverty was double standards. Obviously the Catholic Church is more guilty of hypocrisy than other denominations, but none of them get away scot-free. It's all well and good trying to convince your followers to lead modest lives, but then please, lead by example.

Also, Dani, while you may prefer poverty, people should always have the choice. Some people consider material comforts basic human needs, and while you may happily and nobly shirk them, I wouldn't wish it upon anybody who wasn't able to make that decision for himself.


There's a strange, no-bullshit clarity that comes with being too hungry to waste energy deluding oneself. For serious :)

Vittles - Thanks for sharing. I have never been there myself, but I like the way you phrase it.

Dani' El said...

I wouldn't say I prefer poverty, I've just seem materialism destroy people.
Growing up in So Cal, I came to revile it.
When I had it all, the cars, the wife, downtown office with parking, I was miserable.
I was much happier in my jungle shack with my dog and a guitar.
I saw how the rich lived in the hills of Calif, and they were miserable, suing each other, addicted to Valium, worshipping cars.

By American standards I live in poverty, but by the standards of most of the world, I live in abundance.
I have all I need and am thankful for what God provides.

I could live in better conditions, but I have brothers and sisters in prison, or living in camps, or jungles in fear of being murdered every day.

How can I live with anything more than the basics, food, shelter, and clothing, knowing that my family is starving?

For this reason and more, I despise the prosperity preachers that dominate in America today.
How can they be praying for Ferraris, knowing what is happening in Orissa State, India?

The Catholics are not Christians, but yes the Pope is more than a hypocrite with his golden slippers.

I'm not boasting, I am as God made me and the glory is to Him alone.

2Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.