SYNOPSIS: A spy spoof using all phrases Christianese. Peter, Agent Q and Agent W are working to decode what is being said by two Christians and leave with more questions than they started with.
CAST: Waitress (Acts kind of stupid around Tom & Jerry), Tom, Jerry, Peter, Agent Q & Off stage voice that will simulate a computer voice.
PROPS: Café tables, Menu, Hand held electronic device, watch, small (in the ear) earphones, plastic flowers in a vase. Plates and silverware, order pad for a restaurant, 2 coffee cups, chairs, other props as desired.
SETTING: A small restaurant where three spies meet to talk. They are interested in two men who speak in their own special code language - unknown to the two there are other ears listening with a translation device.
(AGENT Q & PETER walk onto stage first as part of their covert operation - Agent Q adopts a phony British accent)
AGENT Q: (Looks around before talking) You understand what you are to do?
PETER: Yes, I am supposed to observe two men who may have links to the underground.
AGENT Q: Indeed. We have simply placed a bug in this floral arrangement and you will be able to listen in.
PETER: But what if they talk in code.
AGENT Q: Yes, well, we expect that. So we have taken the liberty of providing you with a pocket translation device (hands a small electronic
handheld game to Peter). This will allow you to decode their conversation. If you need anything use your watch phone. We'll be next door. (Agent Q exits) Agent W will provide backup in case things go wrong.
(Silence for a few seconds)
PETER: (Speaks into his watch a small headphone with wire should be placed in the ear) This is Peter checking in. I am in place and expect visual contact soon. (Pause) That is affirmative headquarters, I have turned on the translation equipment. Give a thank you to Miss Currencycoinage for this wonderful invention. (Pause) My ball point pen will do what?
(Tom & Jerry walk onto stage looking around nervously - Peter hurriedly hides behind a menu)
JERRY: Do you think we were followed?
TOM: I don't think so, but just in case -- we speak in code.
TOM: (Nods head - affirmative).
PETER: (Clicks a few buttons on the hand held electronic device - Peter responds to the words from the OFF STAGE VOICE and writes things down on a note pad).
OFF STAGE VOICE: Christianese - a language or linguistic style that is only understood by or appeals to Christians who practice such speech patterns.
TOM: (Looks around before speaking in a stage whisper) I have a prayer concern - this past weekend during the church pot luck I noticed Sister Trina seemed to be enjoying the fellowship -- a lot!.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Prayer Concern: Translation: gossip. Fellowship: Translation: Organized gluttony. Full translation in context: Sister Trina is the subject of gossip due to an incredibly large appetite at the most recent church function. A hint of either diet plans or outright ridicule seems to be implied.
(Waitress walks on stage)
WAITRESS: What can I get you?
TOM: I'll have the special with a cup of coffee.
JERRY: (Seems taken with the waitress) Me too.
WAITRESS: I'll be right back.
JERRY: She sure had a sweet spirit about her.
TOM: The Lord works in mysterious ways. (Jerry looks hurt).
OFF STAGE VOICE: Sweet Spirit: In context - she's cute. Mysterious ways - you don't stand a chance - unless you believe in miracles.
TOM: A work day is scheduled at the church, we need someone to help pull weeds. How about it?
JERRY: You know I'd like to help, but I just don't feel led. But I'll pray about it to see if it's God's will. (Pause) If it is, then Lord willing I'll be there.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Don't feel led: Translation - find someone else - there is no way I am gonna pull weeds on my day off. (Pause) Pray about God's will - Translation - I'm certain God will agree with me that I should just stay home. (Pause) Lord willing - Translation - I'll only be there if God physically places me there against my will. Logical conclusion: Jerry will
not be pulling hardy wild vegetation.
TOM: Come on Jerry, we're just talking about a few weeds.
JERRY: I'm not certain that's my spiritual gift.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Not my spiritual gift - Translation - It's time to look up some unsuspecting person in the church directory because I will not be there - now stop asking!
TOM: (Pause) Do you remember Gary?
JERRY: (Not thrilled) Yeah!
TOM: Leadership is thinking about asking him to work with the Jr. High.
JERRY: I don't know, Tom, I have a check in my spirit about him.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Check in my spirit - translation - I think the man in question is an idiot.
(Waitress brings plates out to the men)
JERRY: Thank you.
TOM: Yeah, thanks!
WAITRESS: (Smiles) You're welcome. (Walks off stage)
JERRY: Perhaps we should tell her about our singles ministry.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Singles Ministry - Translation - often used as a euphemism for she's pretty, I wonder if she's available?
TOM: Say we missed you at the men's supper the other night.
JERRY: I meant to be there, but God led me to do something different.
OFF STAGE VOICE: God led me to do something different - Translation - this phrase is generally used as justification for doing something distinctly unlike what may have been expected. This is usually accepted without
confrontation by a second party and is rarely questioned because the name of God was invoked. Although His name is often invoked for less than honorable motives.
TOM: Sorry to hear that, Jerry.
JERRY: (Sighs) Well at least I have some praises to share.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Raises to share: Translation - I have some extra cash let's go spend it.
PETER: (Stage whisper) Praises - not raises!
(Other men notice the commotion but give no further notice)
WAITRESS: (Quickly walks out on stage - smiles) Uh, what kind of potato did you want with your meal?
TOM: Uh, we've already got our meals.
JERRY: (Ignores Tom as he looks dreamily at the waitress) What kind of potato do you have?
WAITRESS: French fries.
JERRY: You know that's exactly what these taste like?
WAITRESS: (Giggles) Really?
JERRY: Then I guess I'll have French fries.
WAITRESS: Okay then. (Scribbles on an order pad) Got it!
TOM: (Said to Waitress) Are you feeling convicted, Maam?
OFF STAGE VOICE: Convicted: Translation: I hope you look good in prison wear.
WAITRESS: Yes I'm pretty convinced that he wants French fries. I mean he'd tell me if he wanted something different.
JERRY: Then I'll have a baked potato.
WAITRES: We only have French fries.
JERRY: Bless her heart.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Bless her heart. Translation - she's not the brightest bulb in the pack. Implied within this phrase is a reiteration of a previous use of the Christianese term, She has a sweet spirit - or she's cute.
TOM: Are you traveling to the city this weekend.
JERRY: Yeah, I'm meeting up some friends.
TOM: I know you've had some trouble in the past, I'll be praying that God will grant you traveling mercies.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Traveling mercies. Translation: Resist road rage
(Waitress comes to collect the plates)
JERRY: Thank you.
TOM: Yes, thank you.
WAITRESS: Is there anything else I can do for you?
TOM: I think we're fine.
(Waitress walks back out as the men begin to eat)
TOM: The latest sports magazine said that there were five believers on your favorite team
JERRY: That's true, I guess you could say that I am living victoriously in that knowledge.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Living victoriously: Translation - I chose the right teams and won the betting pool at work.
(TOM leans back and pats his stomach - looks at the flower and then looks as if he's going to be sick)
JERRY: What's wrong, Tom. You look troubled in spirit
OFF STAGE VOICE: Troubled in spirit: Translation - you look like you could use an antacid - or perhaps a some sort of lunch receptacle?
TOM: I suddenly don't feel right.
JERRY: I'd like to encourage you in your pilgrimage
OFF STAGE VOICE: Encourage you in your pilgrimage: Translation - I think it's time for us to leave.
TOM: You may be right. Blest be the tie that binds.
OFF STAGE VOICE: The tie that binds: Translation - I hope I don't get sick right here in front of everyone.
(JERRY and TOM leave the stage quickly - a few second pass and Waitress and Agent Q walk onto the stage and over to Peter)
AGENT Q: Did we learn any useful information?
WAITRESS: (Looks at the table recently occupied by Tom & Jerry) Christians don't tip well.
AGENT Q: Peter, I'd like to introduce you to Agent W. She's highly skilled but seems to have an attitude.
WAITRESS: (Peter tips his hat, but she turns to look at the flower arrangement) What kind of bug did you use?
AGENT Q: I believe we used the Madagascar hissing cockroach.
WAITRESS: No wonder they left in such a hurry.
AGENT Q: Your report, Peter.
PETER: If the translation equipment was working correctly then it seems that these Christians have the same fears and failures as the rest of us but are not as willing to talk about those issues without cloaking them in a language only they can understand. It seems that speaking this language somehow makes them feel better about the issues they face. They even seem to be able to cloak insults, gossip and suggestion in the various phrases of Christianese.
AGENTQ: That's what I was afraid of. It's difficult to understand them and then to have such nefarious double meanings to the phrases they use make it almost impossible to get to the bottom of what they stand for.
WAITRESS: (Looks through her order pad) Sources indicate that these men once knew how to speak without using these mysterious phrases, but somewhere along the line they adopted this sub-culture language and it seems the only friends they have now are those that also speak this strange dialect.
PETER: I wonder if there is more to their religion than what we heard today?
AGENT Q: We can only hope, Peter. We can only hope.
Fade to black
Copyright 2004 by Glenn A. Hascall
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