A parody is a comic caricature, a ludicrous likeness, an absurd analogy, a ridiculous representation which exposes a particular reality by comparing it to another of a different order. Parodies can be a very useful verbal or literary tool to expose the “red herrings” of diversions which distract attention from real issues; to expose “hobby horses” whereby men keep reverting back to repetitive over-emphasis without critical thought; to expose inane traditions which become familiar ruts wherein we fail to recognize the absence d’esprit. By the use of parody one can be direct yet subtle at the same time.
had always dreamed of owning a business
of my own. A friend had advised that a
franchise outlet of an existing chain with
its developed support network was a wise
business choice. Therefore, I was most interested
in the advertisement which read:
“Franchises available—Sound business opportunity.
International corporation. Open one in
your community. Call 1-800-623-3489.”
I made the call and agreed to visit one of
their successful franchises. They had a
unique marketing strategy encouraging people
to “Look for the Golden Crosses.” Each
establishment had a large lighted sign that
read, “Billions and Billions Saved.”
The name of the company was “McDeity,
Inc.,” a successful corporation indeed, with
thousands of outlets in almost every country
in the world.
Their product was pre-packaged meals,
with convenient names that incorporated
the McDeity motif: McWorship, McFellowship,
McBible, McPrayer, McEvangelism, etc.
“Just unwrap and digest for your eternal
health.” Kiddie meals were available for
the children, conveniently boxed up with
trinkets and prizes, to keep kids occupied
The marketing support was exceptional,
with international publicity via television
and other mediums. Seasonal promotions
were used to attract sales. They often
employed a colorful clown called “Ronald
McPreacher” to parade around each establishment
to attract attention.
This distinctive fast-food franchise had initiated drive-up windows with drivethrough
service, tailor-made for a society of
people intent on maintaining anonymity
and getting “fed” quickly and inexpensively.
“You don’t have to wait; You don’t have to
relate.… Welcome to McDeity. Can I take
But I was quite taken aback by an older
lady standing outside of the establishment
yelling, “Where’s the beef?” She was joined by other activists who were questioning the
nutritional value of the McDeity product.
This was quite unsettling, and I began to
question the ethical implications of buying
into the “ground beef religion,” especially
when society seems to be dying from
physical, psychological and spiritual malnourishment.
My conscience will not allow me to participate
in the perpetuation of franchised
religion, but I still hunger for spiritual
reality. The religious redundancy of the
franchised establishments with their predesigned
formats and pre-packaged meals
must be replaced with the newness and
vitality of genuine Christian community. ❑