The Greased Lightning Savior

Hey lovers, two things: first, sorry I’ve been a delinquent. Work has been shitballs crazy and also I have seasonal affective disorder and every December I stay inside and hate myself a lot. Second, I was a guest on The Blake Wexler Show. Get it for free on iTunes so you can hear the evidence (and learn about this blog’s origin). Okay here’s a post.

I attribute a lot of my weirdness as a kid to my strong religious upbringing. That said, holy hell am I glad I wasn’t homeschooled, because those creepy little fuckers have the social skills of divorced dads at laundromats for the first time. It’s like no one told them not to walk up to people and smile vacantly until they talk, because no one did. (If that offends you because you were homeschooled and your mother always said you’re perfectly normal, remember: she owns a life-size crucifix.)

"well, technically fourth-specialest."

"You're my second-specialest little guy."

I didn’t find out just how close I was to being a Duggar until 2007, when Jesus Camp came out on DVD and everyone I knew who saw it asked their ex-creepo religious friend if hardcore evangelical Christians really are that kooky. My revelation didn’t come necessarily from my answer (“yes”), but from the fact that I was everybody’s ex-creepo religious friend.

Good thing I never went to a Jesus Camp. Wait, hold on. I totally did.

this image is copyrighted to GOSPELGIFS so keep it on the dl guys ok?

Thank you Lord for ruining our eyesight!

For the heathens out there, VBS stands for Vacation Bible School. It is the place pop songs go to die in agony and kids go to get the Satan spirit-fingered out of them while everyone else is at a water park or something (I don’t know how summer works). Every year, once real school gets out, parents or annoying kids drag their kids or parents to church for a week or two to learn about how god loves them so much that he Marvin Gayed his son so Jews can’t get into heaven anymore.

"What's Going On" is our generation's Sermon on the Mount, prove me wrong

He died for our soul.

Then everybody does crafts and sings and hates being there. Well, okay, it’s just the godless or soon-to-be godless kids who hate it—when I still thought it was all true, I loved VBS. I was that irritating kid who raises his hand after every single teacher question, even if it was “did you know that you’ve completely ground away my will to live?” (“Yes! Next question!”)

I was big on volunteering, too. Need help putting chairs away? No but I’ll do it. A King David for the Friday play? I’m your tubby blonde star. Someone to cover up your affair? I’m no first stone-caster!

conservative Christians like to say this verse and "judge not lest ye be judged" get taken out of context because they haven't heard about irony yet

"It's only okay to murder adulterers if you're perfect." - Jesus/Jack the Ripper

My main VBS contribution was also my nerdiest. I ran the projector.

Starting at age 11, when we moved to a new church that played songs too new for the hymnbook, it was my job to switch out lyric sheets on a ’70s-era overhead projector made of green plastic and cancer fumes. I feel weird typing “projector” over and over, because this was no ordinary projector. It was evil. Not once in seven years did we ever replace its child soul-powered lightbulb, clean it, or turn it over to the Museum of Shitty Technology That Offends All Five Senses. I’m gonna call it Apollyon, because that’s the coolest demon name in the bible.

"projector" is also a way lamer name for a metal band

Twinsies!

Every Sunday and every day of VBS, I faced off with Apollyon in what can only be described as the clearest visual representation of the downward trajectory of my faith. At first I took the job so I could be in the front pew, soaking up every word of the Word. As time wore on, though, I stayed so other people wouldn’t see me spacing out or trying not to laugh at the song lyrics.

Laughing? At praise songs? How cynical is this guy? Well, feast your ears on this and tell me:

“Hungry I come to you for I know you satisfy/ I am empty but I know your love does not run dry… I’m falling on my knees/ offering all of me.” If you hear that as anything other than “I want to suck Jesus’s dick,” you are a Mormon.

So, to bring it back to VBS, by 2007 I was a rebellious, moody, atheistic teen who wanted to get the hell out of Illinois and church forever. But since I was just the right age to make sure the kids didn’t glue their eyes shut or murder the weak among them, I was conscripted as a VBS “volunteer.” Joy.

lo, a miracle! Three days later he called me back.

"It's a lot easier to praise from your knees. C'mon, WWID?"

Oh, quick major setting detail I forgot—our church was 90% Chinese. Combine the conformism and fear of evangelical Christianity with the conformism and fear of Asian-American culture and you get just the right atmosphere to let outlandish shit slide. Case in point? The song that made me quit VBS forever, “Go Go Savior.”

Plenty of pop songs get butchered in modern churches—it’s a simple, easy way to connect with the prized younger audience. Every American church had its own version of Hoobastank’s “Crawling in the Dark” in 2002. (If I just brought that song back into your memory after years of repression, I am so sorry.) “Go Go Savior” is a whole different monster.

only 434Animeguy would put "The Reason" over "Running Away"!

The only "best of" I'd ever write about Hoobastank would be in the event of their deaths and would order them from most to least just.

“Go Go Savior” is a word for word rewrite of “Greased Lightning” and the most cynical Christian cash-in since indulgences. I don’t remember the lyrics, except that “greased lightning! Go greased lightning!” was replaced with “Go savior! Go go savior!” and all references to pussy wagons, chicks creaming, and getting lots of tit were purged in favor of descriptions of Christ’s love. Our church bought it and played it for children because apparently none of the people in charge had ever heard “Greased Lightning” before.

burnin' up a quarter mile of tough stains

It has a song?

There I was, at Jesus Camp, listening to a recording of a children’s choir bleating over synthesized guitars to the tune of a song about getting your dick wet, feeling Apollyon spread tumors around my throat and lungs, when I realized: I don’t have to do this. I’m not the weird almost-homeschooled kid anymore.

That night, my Jesus Camp days ended. It took me a few years to get that I had just replaced weird religious kid with weird angry kid, but at least I finally broke ties with my old phase.

Fuck I hate Hoobastank. Why did I make myself think of them.

please never wear helmets

If you're thinking "I liked that one song" look at this picture and learn to hate again.

14 thoughts on “The Greased Lightning Savior

  1. [...] 24, 2011 by Hemant MehtaPeter, the Preacher’s Kid, is back and he’s talking about the time he went to Vacation Bible School.VBS has never been so hilarious:I attribute a lot of my weirdness as a kid to my strong religious [...]

  2. Dr Rotwang! says:

    Yeah, I don’t know what a Hoobastank is. Maybe it’s ’cause I turned off my radio in the middle of “Wipeout” by The Fat Boys and haven’t really felt compelled to turn it back on since.

  3. nwdiamond@gmail.com says:

    um…wow. Did you live my life? I LIVED for VBS. Dude you are so favorited now

    • carlie says:

      Same here. Followed the link from Friendly Atheist. Took me over a year to work up the guts to watch Jesus Camp, because I knew that big scary lady was right what I was headed for until I finally got some sense knocked into me.

      “My revelation didn’t come necessarily from my answer (“yes”), but from the fact that I was everybody’s ex-creepo religious friend.” Yep. that would be me, too.

  4. Jeffery says:

    That Kathryn Scott song adds strength to my theory that the majority of religious people have horrible taste in music. Horrible.

  5. fargofan1 says:

    Glad I’m not the only who thinks the “down on my knees” lines sound dirty.

  6. Almafuerte says:

    Fuck, and I’m pissed because my parents had me baptized. I come from a religious family, but I think we only went to church 3 times in my entire life. When time came to take my first communion or whatever the hell it’s called, I was supposed to go to church school or some bullshit like that for an entire year. It was on Sunday mornings. I told my mom I didn’t believe in god, and that I wasn’t gonna go. She respected that. I think I was 11 or so at the time. A couple of years after that, I managed to make her snap and turn into an atheist.

    If my mother had ever put me through that VBS shit, I would have murdered her mercilessly.

  7. Mikel says:

    Haha I remember the secular songs remade as Christian lyrics. It was really strange to me because when I was the good little church girl, I’d usually never heard the secular song. In fact, I was a bit confused when the other kids did know them….I thought Christians should only listen to Christian music ’cause secular music was all filled with sex and materialism and icky worldly values. LOL Yes, when I discovered some decent secular music in my late teens, it really helped me turn my life around.

  8. [...] (funny) story from a former attendee of vacation bible [...]

  9. Jayne says:

    It definitely has dawned on me of late, that so much of the way we speak in Christianity (I’m deconverting as we speak) is sexual in nature. Like “how deep can we go?” For a group of people that are terrified of being sexual in any way and enjoying it, Christians really use a lot of sexual imagery in describing their relationship to the Almighty. Hahaha.

  10. I was home schooled until tenth grade, and I’m not offended because everything you say is true! Fortunately, I knew I was odd and had the sense to keep my mouth shut unless I KNEW what I was going to say was funny. Eventually I made friends with other troubled nerds and figured out which television shows I was supposed to like and how to talk about something other than Jesus.

    God, I hated Youth Group! I was too religious for the other kids who didn’t want to be there and too weird and angst-y for all the “cool” kids who did want to be there. It was really hard because I understood the Bible well enough to call bullshit on most of what the teacher was saying, but I knew that wouldn’t score me any points, so I just kept my head down.

    I kept wishing I could turn my brain off just enough to enjoy being there but not quite so much that I became catatonic. As soon as I was old enough I began volunteering with the preschool kids for VBS for the express purpose of getting away from my own program.

    I also remember being creeped out by the prom songs to Jesus they made us chant over and over. Asking Jesus to “fill me,” “satisfy me,” and fulfill my “every desire” just sounded nasty.

  11. Crys says:

    Is it bad that I don’t know what Hoobastank is? Probably not as bad as the fact that, if that’s what Jesus looks like, sign me up for being “hungry for jesus”

    OK I better stop before I become the creepy inappropriate-comment girl on this blog (too late?)

  12. prom songs says:

    [...] The Greased Lightning Savior ul.legalfooter li{ list-style:none; float:left; padding-right:20px; } .accept{ display:none; border: 1px solid #000; background:#000; color:#fff; border-radius:3px; -moz-border-radius:3px; -webkit-border-radius:3px; padding:5px; } .recentcomments a{display:inline !important;padding:0 !important;margin:0 !important;} [...]

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