Dear Father who art in heaven:

I am writing this letter as a prayer of thanks. My decision to attend service today at New Beginnings Christian Center originated out of what I thought was the desire to ridicule MC Hammer, through the medium of a satirical theater review. Now, I realize my irreverent urge was actually the calling of The Lord. YOU wanted me to see Hammer speak, because you knew the experience would change my life. But you could only reach me by disguising your voice, by shrouding it in the cloak of mockery that Satan had been aforcin' me to listen to. Thanks to the head pastor at NBCC, Larry Huch, I now know that the only way to remove that shroud is to become a believer, and the only way to become a believer is to keep those tithes a comin.

You can't reap the harvest unless you plant the seed; Mr. Huch just kept letting us know that over and over again. Mr. Huch has certainly paid his tithes in life, he said, but you rewarded him for his troubles, Lord, by letting him turn your love and teachings into a corporation. I figured this out from the sign on the wall that said, "CORPORATE UNITED PRESENTS PRAYER, 6:30 AM, TUESDAYS." Oh, hallelujah!

Mr. Huch drove the point home with a video of a guy named Oral Roberts, who I guess had been there the week before. The video was projected onto the 20-foot-high screen, and Mr. Roberts predicted that THREE of the people in the crowd would become MILLIONAIRES in the next year, and that a whole bunch more would get new cars or houses! We knew You were speaking through Him, Lord, and so took his prophecy as undisputed proof that Mr. Huch's message is real.

Which brings me to Brother Hammer, Lord, who never paid his tithes, but rather earned his millions by way of pop music, the spawn of the devil. To punish him, you, with your unmerciful fairness, took his money away. You gave him that entourage of 200, who made him believe they were his closest friends, and you used them as tools to suck him dry. You then arranged for him to appear on Behind the Music, where he could deliver his message of poverty right out of his Hollywood mansion.

Now his entourage and his mansion are bigger than ever, and it's all because he pays his tithes and preaches the word of The Lord. And oh, what a show he brought to New Beginnings this Sunday! Pastor Huch said that Brother Hammer's sermon was aimed at youth. "We are in competition with the Devil to lure kids into the church," he said, "Jesus has NOT given up on this generation!"

And that's when all these kids rushed the stage and started jumping around to some truly excellent hiphop beats. Two of the older kids were laying down some phat rhymes, yo, like, "United under God we're all Christians,/ Even though on the outside we're all different." Meanwhile, more kids were breakdancing on a big canvas mat, and a bunch of high school girls were trussed up like Brittany Spears, shaking their booties like fly girls sent from heaven!

The venue's cameras were swooping like crazy, so as to broadcast all that young, holy sweat out into TBN land, and the 50 or so multi-colored lights arranged around the stage were flashing beams of beauty across the writhing bodies. And then, suddenly, in the middle of it all, Brother Hammer appeared on stage! Oh wait, there was a horrible and truly forgettable hiphop/gospel group that came on for a bit after the kids were done. They actually killed the charged mood the kids had created with startling efficiency, but that was okay: The crowd and I knew that they were just a test sent by you, Lord, to make sure our faith was strong, and that we wouldn't bolt just because they were the worst EVER, and because they "opened" for Brother Hammer for over a half an hour.

And then suddenly, in the midst of their set, Brother Hammer appeared! And I knew we were in good hands again when he ripped into a rap with the classic chorus, "What I'm spittin is FIRE, / What I'm spittin is FIRE,/ What I'm spittin is gonna take me HIGHER!"

At that point, it was 12:30 pm, and I had been sitting in the Center for over three hours. I was a bit oversaturated, so by the time Hammer actually started preaching, I wasn't really paying attention anymore. But I could tell his words were powerful, Lord, and I could tell they were straight from your lips. Something about Eminem is Satan, and taking drugs is Satan.

My prayer of thanks now draws to a close. Thank you Larry Huch and Brother Hammer, for being the vessels through which the Lord speaks to us. And thank you Corporate United, for combining the spiritual and the financial so harmoniously.

But most of all, thank you Jesus.


Justin Sanders

P.S. Lord, though I regretfully did not actually pay any tithes at the service, I assure you it was only because I wasn't carrying any cash, not because I don't fear your wrath. If NBCC only took Visa, I would have been all over it. Lord, thank you again.