Headbanging for Jesus!

Infiltrator gets booked on a Christian talk show

It's always been a dream of mine to get booked on a Christian talk show posing as a guy who fronts a Christian speed-metal band. Thank Jesus -- my prayers are answered. I come across this:

The showMiracles Today features authentic, cool Christians whose lives have been transformed by the healing and saving power of Jesus Christ. Guests are invited to tell about their testimonies, healings, or miracles with a warm and inviting host. The show aims to glorify our Lord and plant seeds of hope to the viewing audience. Every story of transformation is good news, and yours is too. The only preparation we require is prayer.

Since my acting range extends to "cool Christian," I send an e-mail. Immediately I hear back from the producer of the public-access TV show telling me the next Miracles Today is to be shot on Saturday and asking whether I'm available or not.

You bet your pink ass I am! First I need a ridiculous persona -- so I explain that I play in a Christian metal band. What could be more ridiculous than headbanging for Jesus? It's right there with other such natural fits as "vegetarians for meat" and "Klansmen for big, black booty." Think about it: Rock's the devil's music. That's what makes it fun.

I call the producer, at which time I embellish a tale of rock drug excess inspired by VH1's Behind the Music, most particularly Mötley Crüe and Poison. ("I used to live in the house of whores, then it became the house of horrors!") Impressed, he books me on Miracles Today to tell of my Christian speed-metal transformation.

"Do you want to bring an acoustic guitar and perform one of your songs in the studio?" he asks.

"You know what I would rather do is perform a spoken-word version of some of my Christian speed-metal lyrics," I offer, being I can't play guitar. "That way it gets the message across."

"That sounds great!" he replies.

Excellent! Not only do I get to dress up like a Christian metalhead; I also get to pen asinine, junior high metal lyrics with a Jesus twist.

Preparation

Jesus T-shirt

Large black cross

Studded wristband and belt

Axl Rose-style bandanna

Fake tattoo that reads "Jesus Rocks!"

Christian metal is a world unto itself, spawning bands with names like Armor of God, Bloodgood, Rage of Angels, and Crystavox, not to mention Tykkus. After much consideration, I decide to name my fictional Christian metal band Pray-er (rhymes with Slayer). The reason: It allows me to get indignant when people mispronounce it. ("It's not Prayer, it's Pray-er!")

Under the Christian-metal stage name Chad Sin-no-more, I've recruited Johanna, an actress friend, to portray my speed-metal Christian girlfriend, Destiny. Dressed in slutty metal fashion, she too is wearing a Jesus T-shirt. Back story: Chad and Destiny met in rehab, where they both found Jesus!

On the Highway to Jesus!

Saturday afternoon, we show up at the studio, located in the South Bay, hung-over as hell. Upon entering, we're directed to the green room, which has a large bowl of grapes.

"Are you Chad?" asks the host, a very nice, very smiley, very well-groomed, very Christian lady who enters and is slightly taken aback by our look. "So I didn't get any background at all on you."

I tell about my Christian speed-metal band, pumping my fist in the air a few times. ("Prayer?" "No, it's Pray-er!") The host, as it turns out, not only hosts Miracles Today but also works as a third-grade schoolteacher ....

OK, I feel a little bad about pulling this ruse, but there's no turning back now; so let's turn the knobs up to 11!

"You're pretty much the only guest," the host asks in a third-grade-teacher way (huh?!). "So how do you feel about 27 minutes?"

"Really?!" I reply, mildly shocked. That's a hell of a lot of Christian speed-metal talk. It must be a slow week for cool Christians who've experienced Christ-centered, life-transforming miracles.

I learn the premise of Miracles Today. "It's a show based on stories due to change in people's lives based on one event or multiple events," the host explains. "What your life was like before, how the change occurred, and what your life has been like since."

"So I can talk about my band ('Prayer?' 'No, Pray-er!')?"

"That would be great," she says with a big Christian smile.

"'Cause the producer said to bring in some of my lyrics to recite and stuff. And he told me to compare the positive message in my lyrics to real metal bands."

"OK," she answers with mild apprehension. "Mind you, we air at 6 o'clock on a Tuesday night, so nothing too obscene."

I get defensive. "No, that's the whole point, that my lyrics have a positive message," I say.

"The set is just a chair with a black background. The point is it's all about stories; it's all about the journey that brought you where you are today. And the positive changes you are making in other's lives due to what you've been through," she explains.

"Uh-huh."

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