When I was a kid the church bus would roll up in front of our house every Sunday morning...hauling our sinful asses off to Sunday school. It would not have been so painful had we not had one of those fire and brimstone Sunday school teachers. She was the minister's wife and she seemed to delight in telling us about just how hot hell really is, and what we need to do not to go there.
This teacher was especially adept at relating how current early 60's era events pointed to an end of the world scenario, hinting that we had damn little time to repent and get our selves right. Israel was her favorite subject...whatever was going on over in the Middle East surely portended the end of days. She'd open up a chapter in Revelations and just scare the beejesus out of us.
Well, we came out of Sunday school sweating like little hogs, having barely eluded Armageddon, then climbed back on the bus to be taken home. In winter the bus driver closely guarded a box of Snickers bars, and as we got off the bus he'd pass us a Snickers as reward for coming to Jesus. In summer he kept a cooler next to him and passed out ice cream treats.
Well, I can tell you that, back then, as compared to now, we were well educated about religion. I read the bible off and on and could usually relate to it when anyone wanted to talk about religion. And damned if I didn't say my prayers everything night and pray "if I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take". That Sunday school teacher had me plenty scared.
As I remember, about 80% of Americans back in my day, attended church. From stats I read now it's about half of that. And getting a kid to come to church is a tough thing, indeed these days, so many Sunday diversions being what they are. I doubt highly that a Snickers bar or Eskimo Pie would seal the deal.
So damned if I didn't read of a stepped up "Bribes For Jesus" campaign going on with some of our local churches. A prominent church over in Surprise plans to build skate parks to try and lure our modern youth to at least come near a church. Perhaps they believe if they can just get them close they can pull a few of the retributes into the church proper. Perhaps then they can build a gaming center in the now nearly empty Sunday school classrooms! And speaking of gaming centers, why hasn't some entrepreneurial Christian came up with some Christian type video games.
How about Moses parts the Red Sea, then drowns the Egyptians in mid-stream? Moses just might score big, what with transforming staffs into snakes and turning rivers red with blood. How about a video game where David slays Goliath? You get kids into Christian gaming you just might hook them on a little fire and brimstone, and getting them to say their nightly prayers, and we might, just might have a better class of kids.
Bribes for Jesus, baby!