Christianity's just getting started. Their religion has twelve followers; they need more or they're in trouble. A "Recruitment Committee" is formed, their assignment: to come up with appealing reasons to entice Jews to switch over. The committee consists of two members, both once Jews, but now, Christians. There's Matthew (formerly Murray) and Simon (formerly Sol).
The following is an accurate, made-up chronicle of exactly what happened at the "'We Need More Christians' Recruiting Committee" meeting:
We open on an early A.D.-looking gavel pounding on a table, (or maybe just a hand hitting an indoor rock.)
"I call this meeting to order."
"Murray, it's just you and me."
"Excuse me. It's Matthew."
"When I was Jewish, I was Murray. Now, I'm Matthew. With two 't's'".
"Sorry. Matthew. What I was saying is it's just you and me. There's no need for protocol."
"You're right, Sol."
"Were you getting me back?"
"I simply misspoke. Now, we are called here to come up with appealing reasons to get Jews to convert, so as to swell our ranks..."
"...'cause if we don't swell our ranks, we're doomed."
"That's a depressing thought."
"It's true, isn't it?"
"Perhaps. But I'd prefer a sunnier approach."
"May I be candid? I never wanted to be on this committee. My strength is picnics and outings. I don't even know where to start."
"It's a difficult assignment, I'll grant you that. I propose a methodical approach. We begin by looking at the things that make our religion different."
"We're certainly qualified to do that. We used to be Jews, and now, we're this. By the way, may I ask you a question?"
"What is this?"
"What is what?"
"What we are. Our name. You know, Jews are Jews. Who are we?"
"There's another committee working on that."
"Good. 'Cause it's embarrassing when someone asks, 'What do you call yourselves?' and I say 'I don't know.' It shows a lack of imagination. Maybe we should have an interim name till we figure out the real one. Like, we wear these fish emblems. Maybe we could call ourselves Fishtians."
"I think we're wandering here."
"Sorry. What's our job again?"
"To convert the Jews."
"And to decide how to do that, we need to consider what it is that makes us different?"
"I know a difference."
"Their Sabbath is on a Saturday, and ours is on Sunday."
"I don't think you're getting the concept."
"You wanted 'different'. I gave you 'different'."
"Simon, do you really think praying on Sunday instead of Saturday will send Jews flocking to our midst?"
"Oh, I see. It's not just different. It's different and better."
"You weren't clear on that."
"Sorry. Maybe we can draw from our experience. Think back. What was it about us that made you want to switch?"
"That's easy. Pork."
"You switched for pork?"
"Never underestimate the attraction of forbidden foods. A lot of Jews eat it already, maybe not at home, but out. They chew peppermint leaves, so you won't smell it on their breath."
"I may be wrong, but I don't see a huge 'cross-over' from pork."
"How about praying on Sunday and pork?"
"Will you stop with 'Sunday'? 'Sunday's' nothing. I mean, when it comes to Days of Rest, Saturday's actually the better choice. It's a day sooner."
"I thought it was too soon. I wasn't tired yet."
"You're talking about frills."
"Frills are important."
"We're bigger than frills. We've got a great religion. Something so meaningful, people risk death to be part of it."
"I wouldn't bring that up at the recruitment meetings."
"But that says something. It says being us is worth dying for."
"I wouldn't dwell on it."
"You're being negative again."
"You're saying, 'Be Christian and die!' and I'm negative?"
"Let's move on."
"Down to basics. What is it about us that you really like?"
"I like Jesus."
"Good start. Why do you like Jesus?"
"A lot of people are nice."
"Not as nice as Jesus."
"But isn't there something more than his niceness?"
"Well, he says if you believe in him you won't die. Which, to be honest, I find confusing."
"You just said if you believe in him, you stand a really good chance of dying."
"We've made it."
"And even if we die...wait a minute. I think you've hit on something."
"Forget the whole thing?"
"Dying isn't bad for us."
"You know this. We've got..."
"We've got what?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Something we've got that they don't. And that is...?"
"Look, just tell me, okay?"
"Heaven! We've got Heaven!"
"Jews have Heaven."
"Very hazy. I asked my Dad about it once. He was barely coherent."
"Any he's a rabbi. Ohhh, I get it. We've got Heaven, and they don't..."
"...so we don't really die..."
"...and they do! I love it! 'We've got Heaven!"
"It's better than lying in the ground."
"You know, when you think about it, our whole religion's more people-friendly. With them, it's 'The wrath of the Lord...', and smiting, and '...Cast a pestilence upon the land.' We're not like that."
"I was sensing we weren't. But I was wondering if it wasn't just, you know, like a come-on, and the wrath came later."
"No. Our religion is completely wrath-free."
"Wait. Didn't Jesus yell at some moneychangers...?"
"Okay, so we're not wrath-free. But we're definitely reduced-wrath."
"I'll give you that."
"Then that's what we sell. A reduced-wrath religion, with Heaven at the end."
"Don't forget pork."
"And praying on Sunday.
"You never know."
"Okay, so we're done?"
"I'm not sure."
"It sounds like a winning package to me. I'd switch to us. I did."
"We may just need one more thing. A deal clincher."
"Simon, I think we're there."
Earl Pomerantz's blog can be reached at earlpomerantz.blogspot.com