Friday, August 29, 2008

Christian Mafia

So this one time, in college, my friends and I pranked a statue.

Do you need more of an explanation than that?

Sometime in the spring, I changed my major to Theatre. I started hanging out with "theatre people" a little more frequently and, if you know anything about actors, you know that we're trouble. When you put us together you get, well, a lot of trouble. Many of the upper classmen were part of a group they called "The Christian Mafia" and not everyone was allowed in. It was a silly secret society of sorts and I'm sure that I'm probably not supposed to be talking about it. I hope none of them find me and kill me--although I don't recall death ever being explained as a punishment. By the time my sophomore year rolled around, most of the CM had graduated so the club fizzled out. I don't remember a whole lot about it but I remember the first rule.

1. You have to be invited. (Otherwise you don't know about it. Except now you do because I told you).

And I remember rule number two. In order to become a member, you have to pull a few secretive pranks. The other members were permitted to help. I remember "stealing" a flower from the guard shack without the employee noticing me. If you've ever been to Point Loma Nazarene University, you know that 30% of everyone's tuition goes toward the floral arrangements in front of the college. This picture doesn't do it justice but it's the best one I could find. Flowers run up both sides past the sign (at least they used to) and, behind the sign, sits the guard shack. I think it has a more official name than that but students, alumni and, for all I know, faculty as well, refer to it as The Guard Shack. I don't remember how I managed to run out and grab a flower unnoticed because I seem to recall an employee who took his position way too seriously was working that night. In any case, I stole a flower. No real harm done. Between myself and my parents, I'm sure I owned the rights to at least one of them.
But then some senior member of The Christian Mafia (I feel like it needs a dun dun dun sound after it) concocted the idea of apprehending a large table umbrella from one of the various tables around campus and moving it to some other area of campus without being seen. Now, for starters, those things are extremely heavy. It took several of us just to carry it. Second, I was a freshman and, at that time, freshmen at PLNU had a curfew. So, it wasn't two in the morning. It was more like 9:30. Moving around campus with a gigantic umbrella without getting caught was a rather tall order. But, with a little help from my friends we managed to take possession of the umbrella from a table back by the Early Childhood Development playground. Sneaking stealthily around campus with our totally and completely inconspicuous umbrella, we somehow ended up on our bellies in front of Rohr Science. I'd kind of like to blame someone else here but I'm pretty sure that the next part was entirely my idea. It was a move that I knew would either have them throwing away our new friendship or initiating me immediately into The Christian Mafia dun dun dun. I suggested that we prop the umbrella up against the statue of The Calling. Pictured below.

The story doesn't end here so obviously they thought it was a good idea. With spies covering for us in several directions, we wrangled and maneuvered that umbrella across Caf Lane and deposited it between Jesus and Peter. I think I said something about it being a rainy day on the Sea of Galilee. Someone snickered. Then we high tailed it out of there. I was initiated almost instantly.

The next morning I walked to class. As I got closer to the statue I saw major commotion. There was a lot of attention being paid to my prank. People walked by and laughed. Groups congregated and wondered aloud just which Senior ASB member had done this. I gave it a glance, let out a small chuckle, and kept walking. I wanted to take credit for it but I knew I couldn't. Even if I had, no one would have believed me. After all, we weird theatre students kept to ourselves holed up inside Salomon. It was funny though.

The actual definition of sacrilege is "transgression against or irreverence toward the virtue of religion, sacred persons, places or things." I go back and forth. Sometimes I think Jesus might have snickered and said something like, "Peter's an open target as far as I'm concerned and that other guy well, he's just a graven image and he doesn't even look like me." On the other hand, I've gained some perspective in the last nine years and I think Jesus might have looked at me sternly, shook his head disapprovingly and muttered, "My you're an irreverent little one, aren't you?" I can count on two hands the number of times, in seventeen years of schooling, that teachers shook their heads disapprovingly at me and I wish I could take all of them back. That's how much I care about not being in trouble. So you can bet that if Jesus physically shook his head at me I'd be sick. (I know that he shakes his head at me from Heaven. I'm a major work in progress.) So see, I took a gamble on whether or not my friends would think it was funny. I didn't stop to think about whether or not God did.

I don't regret it. I think pranking a statue is better than a lot of decisions I could have been making at the time. I just sometimes wish it hadn't been a statue of Jesus.

But man did it ever look funny.


  1. That is freaking HILARIOUS!! And yes, there are worse decisions you could have made. I think God has a sense of humor and he probably snickered a little :)

  2. My freshman year we (myself and 3 other 3rd South girls) put bed on Boney Hall with a sign that said Boney B&B one night - Psi got blamed for it. Later that same semester, we too pranked The Calling, by putting a lei on Jesus and a Hawaiian shirt on Peter. Also Psi was blamed. :) There were others, and unlike you - we did them in the dead of night despite curfew. Rebels we were.

  3. i'm thinking Jesus has a BIG sense of humor, otherwise Jay and I will be getting some serious slaps on our wrists when we get to heaven.