athiesm, Christ Crashers, Christianity, drugs, Evangelicals, house party, Jesus of Nazareth, raves, Tardsie's True-Ass Tales
Growing up in a fundamentalist environment, you can bet I’ve seen a lot of proselytizing. From missionaries converting the heathens in countries far and wide to In-N-Out’s Bible verse-emblazoned cups to the dude who used to treat football audiences to his home-made JOHN 3:16 sign. Some of these methods are overt, others sneaky. But not a one of them can match a membership drive so ballsy and innovative that I’m astounded I’ve not yet seen it repeated: Christ-Crashing.
I like a nice house party. I’ve never really cared for big, anonymous keggers with their dense oceans of sweaty, beer-sloshing yahoos and 130-decibel rumble, and still view raves as enervating ‘Tard-fests set to a shrieking 4/4 beat, suitable primarily for the procurement of drugs. House parties, on the other hand, with no more than 100 guests (and usually fewer), were a lot more my speed, because you could actually carry on a conversation with another person. Back in my single days, this was practically a requirement–although I’m a handsome enough guy, for whatever reason, I just don’t have the the kind of looks that make the ladies weak in the knees. So back in the day, if I had any hope whatsoever of getting lucky, it was my mouth that would get me there (my mouth could also queer the deal with a quickness; I walked a razor-thin line in my youth). So house parties were always more my thing.
About ten years or so ago, I attended a house party in Auburn, Washington. By 9:00 PM the house was loud and packed, crowd runoff spilling out onto the back deck and into the wide, sloping back yard. Cigarette smoke mingled with the meaty tang of dogs on the grill. The volume steadily increased. But what none of us knew was that on the street outside, sinister forces were already advancing upon us.
Another thing I like about house parties is that inevitably, clusters of people form at various points in the house and yard, with people leaving groups and joining them, new ones forming and old ones disappearing. The addition of one new face to a cluster of people slightly changes the complexion of the conversation, which grows and changes as long as the party lasts. This facet of the house party experience was the vulnerability the Christ-crashers preyed upon.
The clandestine force had by this time breached the intimacy of the gathering. No one yet knew that a cadre of insidious strangers already walked among us. No one would until it was too late. About twenty minutes earlier, a group of about a dozen unremarkable twentysomething men and women arrived at the party. They arrived in groups of one or two, either through the front or garage door, which was wide open.
Once inside the party’s perimeter, the operatives split up, sidling up to different groups throughout the home and property. One of them joined the conversation I was having. I didn’t recognize him, but assumed–as the Christ-crashers were counting on–he was friends with other people at the party. Meanwhile, everyone was making this same mistaken assumption.
We started to get an inkling that something might be wrong when, in the space of no more than ninety seconds, every conversation at the party had turned to the redemptive works of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how base, inane or vile the conversation had been prior to the crashing, every conversation was now a theological one. Still not realizing we were being invaded, some of us debated the Christ-crashers politely, others turned abusive.
It didn’t take long to understand the problem and identify the perpetrators. They were dressed nearly identically, in dark blue track suits. They were shortish, men and women both, with traces of an Eastern European accent. I am very intrigued by accents, and asked where they were from. Their spokesman, a compact man with boyish features grew visibly uncomfortable and said, “We’re Americans.”
“Yeah, but you’re not from here originally, are you?” I asked, not accusing, simply curious (and I go through this little dance all the time; folks, if you don’t want me to ask where your accent is from, then fucking lose it. And if you don’t want a whole host of other questions, don’t fucking tell me it’s British–not all Americans are that stupid). The closest he came to saying was answering me in the affirmative when I asked if he was Slavic. The matter was quickly sorted out, and the newcomers revealed to be members of a local fundamentalist church. The spokesman explained that they were a sort of youth outreach, bringing a message of salvation to iniquitous gatherings like this one.
Even in the face of the Christ Crashers’ machinations, the host proved a class act by inviting them to stay. Sadly, the strange little man took the position that the Heavenly Father frowned upon drinking, clearly forgetting why Jesus was in such high demand as a wedding guest throughout Canaan circa 30 AD.
The host’s not-inconsiderable patience by this time exhausted, the Crashers quickly found themselves back on the street. Undeterred, the Jesus Jihadists set off to find someone else who wanted just a little more Son of Man at his or her party.
It happened once; it can–and almost certainly will–happen again. So if ever you find yourself at a party, and all at once every conversation turns to the joy of having a relationship with Christ, don’t panic–you’ve just been Christ-crashed.
Did they say anything about drinking Kool-Aid and hopping on a comet to go to Star Trek world?
No–they might have been a lot more interesting if they did! And they looked like an Adidas crowd, no Nikes!
Thanks for the comment, SBI (a lot of times I’ll shorten a person’s handle, but “Thanks, Surrounded” sounds bad, and “Thanks, Imbeciles” sounds worse!).
SBI is good to me.
Madame Weebles said:
I can’t say I’ve ever been to a party that was Christ-crashed. The part that surprises me is that they weren’t wholesome all-American fellers asking if you’d heard the Good News.
Meanwhile I swear I’m going to rupture something, laughing at your captions. I got to the Heaven’s Gate photo with the “This Christ-Crasher is all tuckered out” caption and laughed so hard I thought I’d cough up a lung.
wholesome all-American fellers asking if you’d heard the Good News
That’s what I’m used to, actually–so that wouldn’t have been so strange. Growing up, although my mother was more liberal Christian, she allowed my fundamentalist grandmother to take me to church (and I didn’t know how to write that without making it seem like I was blaming my mom for something or that in allowing my grandmother to take me to church she was somehow doing a bad thing; not at all), and as a consequence, I’m actually very comfortable interacting with people of that culture (and it IS a separate culture, which I think doesn’t really occur to most people).
Although I’m not part of the evangelical culture, I have (believe it or not) nothing but wonderful memories of being raised in it. In one way, this makes me more sympathetic in general to evangelicals and other weirdo religious groups (Mormons, JWs, holiness church/snake-handlers, Christian Scientists, etc.). However, because my experience was such a positive one, and because I saw the church do so much good for people, I FUCKING DESPISE televangelists who sell salvation. I want to kick those guys in the nuts–hard. All the people who talk about how “God hates fags,” they spit on everything people like my grandmother and her friends live their lives for. Fuck those shysters.
I swear I’m going to rupture something, laughing at your captions.
Well, we certainly don’t want to see you hurt yourself, but we’re delighted that you’re entertained!
El Guapo said:
Ruptured by rapture?
If coughin’ up a lung for the Lord is wrong…well, I’m gonna be perpetually short of breath.
Madame Weebles said:
William Miller said:
Down here in Greenville, S.C., you don’t have to wait to attend a keg-party to be Christ-crashed. They come right up to your doorstep, ring your bell, and (try) to invite themselves in! Saves you the trouble of going out in the dark evening, looking for some fun and adventure.
Now, if I could just get them to mow my lawn…
They come by at night? That seems weird to me. The only people who come by our house are the JWs. They only come in the day, and they’re super-polite. Plus, I really have to hand it to them for how they comported themselves during the Holocaust (they wouldn’t shut up about it and were killed along with Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists, etc.), and how they don’t make political hay out of it now. Man, if I was part of a group that had such an honorable record during a markedly dishonorable time (and in fact, I don’t–it’s quite the opposite for me, unfortunately), I would be shouting that to all who would listen.
As far as the lawn goes, next time they come by, tell ’em, “Didn’t Christ say that ‘Whatever you do to landscape the least of my creatures’ lawns, you do also to my lawn?” It’s worth a try, and hey–the devil quotes scriptures for his own purposes!
William Miller said:
Yeah, they’ve come by as late as 8:00 p.m. I’ve offered them beer in the past, but for some reason, they always then seem in a hurry to leave.
Okay, it’s NOT cool that they come by so late. However, playing Devil’s advocate (pun very much intended), it’s okay if they come by after dark, because Jesus is the light.
Carrie Rubin said:
Wow. As much as I don’t like anyone proselytizing at my doorstep, I have to give those boys their props. Pretty brave to walk in and do that. Guess you all must have really looked like grade A sinners. Of course, what does one expect from partiers who enjoy “the meaty tang of dogs on the grill”? Great line, by the way.
I DEFINITELY thought those guys were brave. I was very impressed (and a little creeped out) by the whole operation.
I was not one of the folks abusing them, in fact. Probably because of my upbringing, I have a pretty high tolerance for proselytizers, whatever their faith. People bitch about the JWs coming to their door, but these folks honestly think they’re doing a good thing for you. They know how people feel about them, but they do it anyway. And considering what they did during the Holocaust, and how they don’t brag about it at ALL, I’ve got a little extra patience for them.
One time, near Austerlitz, NY, I ran across a Trucker for Jesus mobile mission. It was a semi-truck converted into a chapel, and fixed in one spot for an extended period of time. I’d stopped at a place called “The Flame Diner” to take a Tardsie photo (yes, I am a child) and ended up getting TWO awesome Tardsie photos and was prayed for.
The only time I’ve been rude to one of these people was in an airport. This Hare Krishna stops me and says he’d like to give me a book. It was a hard back. He asks if I’d like to make a donation. I gave him a buck (I was a college student, and that dollar probably was equal to $75 now). He made a sad face and switched out the hardback for a paperback. “Keep ’em both, asshole,” I told him.
Carrie Rubin said:
Ha ha–well, you’re kinder than I would be. I don’t give them the time of day. Which may have more to do with my introversion than anything else. Not too long ago, my son and I arrived home with bagfuls of groceries only to find a car in our driveway from which four people clutching bibles climbed out the moment they saw us. Needless to say I wasn’t pleased. Or very cordial. I did, however, take the pamphlet she thrust in my hand. Probably because I had no other choice, seeing as how I had four bags of groceries clutched in each hand, and she just kind of squeezed it on in there.
Smak, I remember from way long ago those parties you describe here, but we never had those gentlemen knocking on the door. The music was way too loud to even have heard the knock anyway. And I agree with Carrie, that was brave of them or did they really show? What exactly was in them dawgs anyway?
the anonymous comment was mine. Arghhh!!!!!
The good grammar and proper spelling was my first clue.
or did they really show?
That’s a fair question. I don’t think you were reading when I wrote this one, but I think that post in particular demonstrates that the stuff written by “Tardsie” particularly the True-Ass Tales are TRUE, warts & all.
I’m not sure what was in other people’s dogs, but for me, nothing but 100% kosher beef. If I’m gonna eat a hot dog (with the exception of the occasional Farmer John’s Dodger Dog at Chavez Ravine), it better be a Hebrew National. No foolin’. We don’t eat the filthy swine.
Wow. No you’re right I hadn’t read it. You’re a good guy and my flippant comment was just that — flippant and just kidding around with you. Have a great weekend!
Thanks, Brigitte. It’s just that I write so much bullshit on this blog, that I don’t want to be “the little boy who cried wolf” when I say something true! The “True-Ass Tales” are a fairly recent addition to this site. I’ve wanted to write autobiographical stuff for a long time, but it’s only recently that I’ve been able to do it.
I have more than a passing interest in things theological and will gladly discuss such matters with anyone who has an interest. However, I know what I believe and why, so I see red flags when someone tries too hard to win me over. I generally avoid the JW’s and other door to door evangelist types because I pick and choose my social interactions carefully.
Jesus, to the dismay of many a fundie, was not a tee-totaler. One of the pastors at my church, being a connoisseur of all things beer and wine, and having a passion for sharing the Good Book, has an informal monthly forum/discussion at various local taverns which he calls “Pub Theology.” Nobody’s out to recruit people into a church or to drill home a particular point of view. It’s discussion, Q&A and the like, with your buds over a brew. He’s not out crashing people’s parties or anything like that. It’s more about building relationships in unlikely ways- sort of like what Jesus did.
Ugh, tacky self righteous bores. It makes the assumption that you and your party friends would hire a bunch of strippers to infiltrate their church on Sunday and disseminate the joys of pole dancing. A preemptive strike by people who are not being threatened. Get the fuck out of my house! Minus your uninvited track suits.
I’m reacting in relation to strangers invading my home for a reason NOT on my party agenda. JWs at the door are an irritant, but an expected one.
A great story, wonderfully told.
Party crashing for Jesus. Who would have thought?
Wow! Cool story. I have never been to a party that was Christ-crashed! When I worked down town we had the ‘street corner preacher’….he would show up at least once a week and preach on the corner to folks walking around and going to lunch. He was obnoxious and even a lil scary…he would preach hell fire and brimstone in a I’m screaming at you voice and his face would turn beet red like he was mad as hell and on the verge of stroking himself out. (and of course he had a tip jar, I mean offering plate).
of stroking himself out
I trust you mean “have an aneurysm.” Because otherwise, I think God frowns on that kind of behavior.
El Guapo said:
That may or may not have happened at parties I’ve been to. Not sure, as I usually went for the keg first.
So after they left, did their appearance liven the party after, or put a damper on things?
Good question, and I’d never really thought about it. I’d say it livened things up, because after they left we talked about it for the rest of the evening–“Can you BELIEVE that shit?”
Kids these days and their darned new fangled infiltration techniques. It’s been so long since I’ve been to a party I would take that bait. Oh wait…no.
Well, hey–who HASN’T been tempted to drink the Kool-Aid once in his or her life?
Especially when there’s vodka in it. Mmmm…white trash cocktails…