I’ve attended the same church for over 30 years. There, I’ve found a community of devout worshippers of our lord and savior Jesus Christ, and as such, the vast majority of my fellow parishioners are some of the kindest souls you’ll ever meet. However, there are certainly more than a few scoundrels in the bunch who violate the sanctity of our sanctuary with their sins. Here, I’ve compiled a list of them all for your perusal, so you shall never be fooled for even a moment about their strength of character and purity of faith. It is not about judgment—it is about keeping our sanctuary safe from the earthly demons that are allowed to walk through its doors.
1. Deacon Louise Klemptmach
One of the more surreptitious scoundrels I’ve come across in my time here is Louise, made all the more tragic by the fact that she is in a leadership position at my church. She thinks no one has noticed that every time we say the Lord’s Prayer together as a congregation she instead mouths the words to the milkshake speech from Their Will Be Blood, but I certainly have. One time I was sitting next to her in the pew, and right before we started with the prayer, I said, “Oh, Louise. Don’t you love saying the Lord’s Prayer?” And she replied, “Yes, it is my favorite prayer,” but I totally spotted the DVD slip cover to There Will Be Blood taped to the inside of her Bible. What a bunch of hooey!
2. Katie Turner
Katie Turner thinks she knows the good book better than even the head pastor himself! I’ve monitored her giving her own sermons to other children in the basement, where she interprets the bible as a car repair manual. Recently, she announced that Moses parting the Red Sea is a metaphor for always keeping your carburetor lubed up, and all of her young followers wept in joy. Nothing good can come from this.
3. Rodney Turnboynt
Rodney passes the offering plate around every Sunday in my family’s usual section of the sanctuary. Every week, I tithe $60, which is a big sacrifice for me and my family right now because the flooring business isn’t what it used to be. And yet, every time I put the $60 in the plate, Rodney says, “What? Only $3?” in a loud voice so everyone can hear, even though he knows good and well I’m giving the money I could have spent buying one of my pious sons a video game. I tried to correct him once by standing up and telling everyone I’d actually given $60, but he just glared and shouted at me “PHARISEE! PHARISEE!” The Bible says only pharisees tell people how much they give, so maybe that is what I am, but by all means, Rodney is something much worse.
4. Trish Palerino
We, as a congregation, agreed on a four-piece limit for our monthly congregational pizza night after our pizza budget got out of control due to a previous lack of restrictions on the number of slices each parishioner was allowed to have on any given pizza night. That is an entire half of a pizza. And yet every single pizza night, Trish Palerino takes an entire pizza into the bell-choir room and stuffs one piece into eight of the bells and then plays a greasy, muffled bell concert for herself while mumbling something like, “This is for you, Tony,” through her tears. Unacceptable. Hell is too good for Trish.
5. Associate Pastor Phillip Gebbengreen
I’m not afraid to say it: Associate Pastor Phillip Gebbengreen is more scoundrel than associate pastor. I recently visited his office because my usual appointment with Head Pastor Jacobs was canceled due to an emergency gathering at the local presbytery to discuss how to de-grease Romantic-era bronze bells, and when I stepped in, I did not see the office of an associate pastor—no, I saw the office of a man who worships false idols. Floor to ceiling, the room was covered in Gotye: signed headshots, and even a large Gotye statue that Associate Pastor Phillip had the audacity to drape a cross necklace over. This man isn’t a fan of God. This man is a fan of Gotye. I just won’t stand for it. My church used to be such a nice place.