#2. Guilt-Inducing Postcards from Sunday School Teachers
Here's an entry where we can separate the men from the boys. By "men" I mean people who spent their childhood squirming in pews, and by "boys" I mean everyone else. Because if you were a regular churchgoer growing up, you might have never seen a "WE MISSED YOU! COME BACK!!!!" postcard from a Sunday School teacher. But if you went to church only a few times, say with your grandmother or after a sleepover with a religious friend, you might recognize what I'm talking about.
I was at a Satanic orgy!
For most churchgoing kids, Sunday morning started not in a church pew but a folding chair in a room with other same-aged kids. People figured out a long time ago that sermons and hymns are a hard pill to swallow when you're 8, so they invented Sunday School, a class that distills the big Biblical lessons into kid-size nuggets. Fair enough. What you might not remember about Sunday School is that they take roll and get your address the minute you walk in the door. Why? Because they want your soul.
No, really. They want your soul. That's literally the whole point of Sunday School.
So you're a guest at church, you hand over your personal information, then a few things happen next. Knowing that getting mail is like getting a full-sized Snickers bar in your Halloween bag, Sunday School teachers are sure to send child visitors a postcard over the next week or two. If you become a regular attendee, those postcards are going to start to sound like an abusive boyfriend when you miss church.
#1. Unfortunate Christian Album Art
To be fair, 99 percent of album art from the days when album art was an unironic thing was terrible. But if you've ever spent five minutes in the album section of Goodwill, you'll notice a weird trend: Most of the albums look like they were recorded by 700 Club groupies. I don't mean a few of the albums -- I mean most of history's recorded albums were made by weird-looking church people. It's almost like anyone who stepped foot in a church between 1950 and 1975 got a recording contract. And their album art was usually a family photo from Sears.
Grandma's not having it.
When I say there was a time when anyone could record a gospel album, I literally mean anyone. You could just blurt out whatever thoughts spewed from your mouth and call it a testimony. Albums were like blogs back then. For example, here's Danny Allender's LiveJournal:
What do you want, Danny? A cookie?
What some groups lacked in looks, they made up for in repetition, like good ol' what's-their-names:
I'm sorry, I missed your names. Could you repeat that?
There was one trend in Christian music that never quite sat right with me. Riddle me this: How does the art of ventriloquism translate to a strictly audio format? After you answer that question, explain why Christian evangelists were once so reliant on puppets to do their dirty work. Third and finally: WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED.
I don't even know how to break this to you, but the generations who came before us were so out of their freaking minds that they thought manipulating puppets while preaching Jesus was a great idea. Not just a great idea -- the best idea. And the people doing the funny voices and making the dolls wiggle were adults, mind you. Not just any adults, old adults. With gray hair and black-rimmed glasses and scripts they were following. Which only makes these pictures sadder.
I know Jesus would disapprove of that tie/pant combo.
At the heart of the Puppets 4 Jesus mania was a woman named Marcy Tigner. A woman who just wanted to use her trombone and unnaturally childlike voice to please the Lord. That is, until someone mentioned her childish voice would sound better coming from a puppet rather than a middle-aged woman. Little Marcy was born.
Which one is Little Marcy? All of them.
In what must have been a very Ursula/Ariel moment, Big Marcy handed over her singing voice to Little Marcy and never got the spotlight again. Here she is, barely disguising her contempt for her new master.
Little Marcy wouldn't call the album Marcies, and Big Marcy is fuming.
In the end, Big Marcy ceased to exist and Little Marcy took over, just like we always knew she would.
And, ultimately, isn't this the message of evangelical Christianity? Aren't you supposed to be a vessel for Christ to work through, like a puppet or a person who no longer exists as themselves but is a literal house for Jesus? Didn't Galatians 2:20 say something like the same thing: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
With one silly gimmick, Little Marcy and Big Marcy nailed the whole Christianity thing. So who am I to judge?
Turns out I was Little Marcy all along.
Kristi is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked. For more from her, check out past articles here and and follow her on Twitter or Facebook. Additionally, this article could not have been possible without our friends at Christian Nightmares.