Pastor Phil Jackson, of One Way Baptist Church in Malibu, California, was immediately sacked by the church committee after preaching against the Hollywood film The Big Lebowski.
"The film is a depiction of a low-life free-loader who drifts through life relying upon the gains of other people", an unrepentent Jackson stated on Monday, "The glorification of such a lifestyle is against everything our culture and our faith holds dear!"
The Big Lebowski, a 1998 film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, has become a major underground hit amongst more "intelligent" film-goers. Its cult status has been underlined by the many annual "Lebowski-fests" held throughout America and the world by dedicated fans. The film stars Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski, who refers to himself in the film as 'The Dude'.
Unfortunately for Jackson, many of the film's fans attend New Life Baptist Church.
"That pastor was too far out" said Mary Illingworth, a 54-year old church member, "He was, like, really judgemental and stuff. If you look into all the, you know, vibe of the Bible, you sort of work out that the Dude is like, well, you know, the big guy in everything."
"The Dude is taking it easy for us sinners" added a 60-year old church member wearing a faded tie-dye T-shirt and some rusty 'Jesus is far out' badges. "I think we can see the Dude as being typomological of something really important".
When Jackson preached the Sermon on Sunday, 7th August 2005, he was unprepared for the flak he received both during and after the sermon.
"One old geezer got up and stated 'I ain't gonna say Amen to that!' right in the middle of the sermon. People nodded and scowled at me as I continued my sermon. It was really disturbing." Jackson lamented.
When the service concluded, one of the Deacons stood up and called an emergency church meeting to discuss the pastor's sermon. Jackson was asked to wait outside. After only ten minutes, the church treasurer walked out and handed him a severance cheque.
"I stood there speechless, church members walked past, calling me a 'fascist' and a 'reactionary'. One old lady hit me with her study Bible and said 'Stay out of Malibu, deadbeat!'"
Central to Jackson's criticism was the fact that the main character, Jeff 'The Dude', Lebowski, was promoted as a good person, despite the fact that he was essentially living off the goodwill of others.
"He is a leech. That is not what our faith is on about. Our faith is about taking personal responsibility for your actions and making amends. It's not about living off what is free."
Andrew Edwards, an 8-year old member of the youth group, stated during the emergency meeting that "The Dude is cool. The pastor is uncool. That's all I want to say." - a statement that many church members say encapsulates their feelings.
"Andrew's contribution was like, really far out", said Katy Edwards, Andrews 36-year old mother. Proud of her son's words, Katy turned to her husband and shook her head in admiration, "8-year olds dude!" she said.
The sacking of Pastor Jackson has not left either party unhappy. Jackson, originally from Houston, is heading back to Texas to work for his father's church. On the other hand, One Way Baptist Church in Malibu is unconcerned about their lack of a pastor.
"We'll just see what happens man" said one of the church Deacons, "If we get a pastor, then far out. If not, then why worry? It's all good."
From the Department of Attempted Humour
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
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