Happy Easter/420 everyone!
Last year for 420 Janet and I had a “90’s girls night” where we ate Chinese food and watched Sex and the City. It was really great and now I’m craving for greasy Chinese food.
Ever since Janet moved to Toronto we’ve seen at least one play a year and this year despite funds being tight we got to see one! It was called Heavens Gates and Hells Flames. Yes, it was a religious play. But:
a) Our friend Anushkah invited us to see it and she was also in it playing an angel.
b) It was free!
c) It was my first religious play.
So, not being a Christian myself I’m not well versed on scripture and the whole shebang but from what I understand about Easter it’s when Jesus rose three days after being crucified?
That wasn’t really the point of the play though. It was super packed so Janet and I were separated, she sat in front of me, and then we had Pastor Gary talk about how great the play was and how lucky Evangel Temple got to show it to all of us. And then he asked for donations if we wanted and the lady beside me was hard-core staring at me and made me feel really bad so I gave two bucks… if I didn’t feel her judgmental stare I really would not have donated because as we all know, money is tighttighttighttighttight for me right now. But hey, I get to see this play for free so I guess this evens it out.
To be honest before the play started it was a lot of advertising for all the wonderful things you could buy, like t-shirts and DVDs that would support the church and the company that puts on this play so they could show it around the world. Pastor Gary and the other guy who ran the show had slight Southern-ish drawls… is that just a thing that you fall into because the words sound more homey that way? I don’t know but I found it amusing like, “WOW. THIS IS SUCH A CLICHE AND IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!!”
Then the man who put on the production (I think his name was Tom? I’m going to call him Tom.) Asked us to think about our relationship to Jesus and the question of the night was, “Where will you spend Eternity?”
The play was really simple, it opened up with some singing, unfortunately none of the church’s actual choir was singing, they just stood there in angel costumes as a tape played. That would have added to the performance so much if there was live singing, but I digress.
We see Jesus climbing up on stage with the cross and there are video screens showing him being crucified which I’ve always found to be way too graphic and it honestly makes me uncomfortable to watch. It’s too much pain and blood… /shudders. I get that’s the point but it makes me queasy.
Then the Devil appears on stage rocking some Ziggy Stardust make up and a bunch of kids who looked like hipsters and 90s grunge kids start to come up and beat up Jesus. At this point I was thinking, “… WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?” If this was symbolic of how today’s kids have fallen away from the church than yeah.. good job. I was a little offended for some reason but yeah ahah.
The first act was this old woman walking all hunched over while this video plays of a little girl growing up, getting married, having babies and going to church as the old woman is moaning about her aches and pains and thanks Jesus for her life then she dies.
Next scene is replaced by a younger woman who, plot twist, is actually the older woman but now she’s dead and she’s in Heaven and all her aches and pains have healed. She’s jumping around the stage saying everything is so beautiful and she’s SO happy to be in Heaven and can’t wait to meet Jesus and all her old friends. Then she asks the angel with the book of life, well she doesn’t really ask she basically goes up to say, “I KNOW MY NAME IS IN THAT BOOK! MY NAME HAS GOT TO BE IN THAT BOOK! I HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS AS MY LORD AND SAVIOR SO MY NAME IS IN THAT BOOK!”
And whaddaya know? It is! So she gets to run up the stairs to Jesus and Heaven. Amen.
Act two was four kids going on a joy ride as they’re drinking and going, “I got time for that God stuff, I’m the devil HAHAHA” and one of them says, “LET’S MAKE A BEER COMMERCIAL!”
uhh… what? WHO SAYS THAT?!
So I guess they make their “beer commercial” and they say stupid stuff like “So filling, so good” or whatever at this point I’m just shaking my head and trying really hard not to laugh. It’s probably really good that I didn’t sit next to Janet because all my snarky comments were kept inside.
There’s a video of a train coming and the stupid kids are like, “BEAT IT, WE CAN MAKE IT!” obviously they die and they’re freaking out that they’re in Heaven and they ask the angel if their name is in the book and it obviously isn’t so they get dragged down to Hell. The Devil’s parting remark was, “I love beer commercials! I created them. Stay thirsty friends!”
So at this point you pretty much get the plot of the play. Different scenarios where if you took Jesus into your heart you got to go to Heaven and if you didn’t you went to Hell.
The people that got to go to Heaven were really smug jerks in my opinion though. Like this married couple died in a plane crash and the wife is so happy she gets to go to Heaven she literally just jumps around so deliriously happy even though her husband is going to Hell. He’s standing at the bottom of the stairs like, “But… what about me?!”
And she goes, “Oh… I’m sorry BUT HEY JESUS! I’M COMING~!!!”
This is someone who you loved and shared a life and you’re just going to drop them in a second? Please.
There was also this scene where two families crashed into each other and died and the family that just came from church and had accepted Jesus into their heart were so HAPPY that they were in Heaven and they were going to meet Jesus. Dude, if it was me and I died suddenly I’d be like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M DEAD. WHAT. NO. NONONONONONONONONONONO.” Cool, I get to go to Heaven which is “eternal” life but … I’m dead. Give me a second to process this.
The other family was a father and son who both went to Hell because they didn’t give themselves over to Jesus which I thought was dumb because the kid just listened to his dad’s advice and didn’t do a thing… and the dad wasn’t a horrible person either.
I think the most dramatic one was where this teenager shot everyone in his school. He was recently let go from “the team” and this girl Sue didn’t want to walk home with him anymore so he went crazy and shot everyone. Which is hella dramatic if you ask me. I kind of wanted to know Alex’s back story. What was going on in his life? Why was he getting into so many fights? Why did people pick on him? He wasn’t the stereotypical nerd, what’s going on in your life Alex??
Just before there was this girl who was trying to get everyone to come with her to bible studies and was trying to reach Alex to accept Jesus into his heart but he shot her… so what I’m thinking is what if he did do it right before he killed himself would he still get to go to Heaven? Obviously, the only one that didn’t go to Hell was the little bible girl.
In one of the last scenes I was the only one laughing because these two guys had just given their lives over to Jesus and they were all “YEAH! I feel great! Life is going to be amazing from now on!”
And I’m thinking, “Nope, nope you gonna die. You gonna die right meow!” Sure enough, a wall fell on them and I was the only one giggling because it was so funny. I didn’t feel too bad because I caught Anushkah’s face on stage a few times and you could tell she was trying really hard not to laugh.
The last scene was the one that made me go, “Well, this is silly!” A mother and daughter got run over after shopping and the little girl has been going to church and loves Jesus and the mom who works all the time just wants to take Sunday for herself. But she’s still a good person and drives her daughter to Sunday school and promised the next time something serious was going to happen she would go with her.
The mom goes to Hell. The girl goes to Heaven. Even though the mom was a good person all her life. And the little girl was still happy that she got to go to Heaven even though she saw her mom get dragged off by the Devil.
So what I got from this play was that as long as I have accepted Jesus into my heart etc. It kind of gives me a free pass to do whatever. And even if I killed someone but I then accepted Jesus I could still go to Heaven. But if I live my life as I have all along doing good, donating to charities etc. I am going to Hell because I didn’t accept Jesus?!
It hardly seems fair.
The ending of the play was basically Tom asking us to come up and accept Jesus and he’s going to pray for us and the woman beside me is urging me to go up and saying she would go up with me and I’m like, “I’m okay… I still have a lot of questions so… I’m going to pass this time.” And she was really insistent lol.
Afterwards when Janet and I left we were discussing the play and she said that God was like the popular girl in high school and Heaven is this party she’s throwing and you can totally get invited if you just pretend to like her.
But thinking about it, Jesus is actually the rich popular girl with a really powerful dad.
(I couldn’t help but think of Draco Malfoy, “My father will hear about this!!”)
And Jesus is that girl who’s soooo popular and everyone wants to be your friend, but she’s also really manipulative, kind of like Regina George. She’s just like, “Yeah! Just be my pal and we’re going to have so much fun together and party and you get to go to Heaven–which is uber exclusivo”
But once you accept that there are all these conditions (On Wednesdays we wear pink!) that if you break you get kicked out. (Ex-boyfriends are off limits to friends! That’s like, the rules of feminism!) And all the people that got to go to Heaven instead of their friends are the hanger-ons who are rejecting the very people who were there for them when they were unpopular and still loved them at their worst and their best.
Bah… I just can’t really believe that God/Jesus is like that. He’s all-knowing, and all forgiving but just because you haven’t accepted Jesus that’s like the deal breaker? Nah son.
I’m not overly religious but I’m not really agnostic either. I do believe that there is a greater power out there and I call it God because it’s comforting to me. It’s comforting for me to know that there is someone looking out for me and even though things feel like they’re shitty they actually always end up okay? I mean yeah I can attribute that to myself but it’s comforting for me to know that I have some help when I need it. I just can’t believe that for someone who everyone says loves you for everything and forgives you for anything will just deny you something because of something trivial.
Ha, probably why I don’t go to church because I’m sure this is all blasphemous to someone.