EST. May 2000 (AD)


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One of Each

By Andrew Stephen Taylor-Troutman

Today is truly a landmark day to be a Christian with financial resources! Today is the day that wildest dreams are fulfilled for the worthiest of persons! Today is the day that all other religions go on sale at our discount superstore!

Of course, we know that you already own such Christian novelty items as the set of St. Paul verses St. Peter boxing gloves and Balm of Gilead acne fighting face wash. In fact, our corporate sponsors have even informed us that just last week you picked up the new and improved Christ Cologne, guaranteed to take away any odorous offense for all repentant sweat-ers by the grace of God.

Do you mean to say that mere Christianity is good enough for you? Friends, this is the 21st century! We are willing to bet that a few decades ago, your parents were claiming that a mere 20 inch, color television was "good enough." The future is now and now is the time for bigger, better, faster, and clearer religion in high definition and surround sound! We need to demand religion that tastes great and still makes us look skinnier! You, o enlightened one, deserve the best religion that money can buy so…

Hurry, hurry, hurry! Plow through the concrete and asphalt jungles of suburbia and don't stop until you reach our Mega-Tropolis of consumerism located on the outskirts of Anytown, USA. Our new religious superstore makes the tiny Christian market down the street look like an antiquated Mom and Pop shack. We recognize that you may be unfamiliar with our new multi-religious accessories so be advised that we have mapped out your shopping excursion for you. Friends, rest assured that we will take your money, whoops, take care of you.

We recommend starting at the aisle marked, "Philosophy." Though not universally regarded as a "religion" per se, it seems appropriate for us to start with ideological justification of our traditional cultural superiority. Look at all those Western ideas from millenniums long ago, brightly polished and sparkling on the shelves as the day they were first thought into existence. We carry an extensive section of multi-colored Plato! Yes, you too can build your own dualistic universe. Plus, it's fun to squish between your fingers. Too sticky? Remove with a tiny bottle of Aristotle to separate the "first causes" from the icky rest. It's not magic; it's metaphysics!

Next, we come to our classical section, commonly known to Christians as the "Other Monotheisms." Do you like the idea of a covenant with your Creator? Add your very own Torah promise ring to your cart! How about the idea of public expressing your faith? Then purchase the "Holla at Allah" megaphone and broadcast whatever religious message loudly and proudly!

Of course, Jewish and Islamic goods are common in our society; they're sold even on home shopping networks. That's why we've outfitted our store with some truly rare and exotic "Monos" that most people have never even heard of! Look at this one: Zoroastrianism. The "Big Z" was imported from ancient Persia and was the world's FIRST monotheistic religion! Their characteristic emphasis on a personal religion is modernized for today's hip standards by our diamond encrusted "Z" pendant (matching gold chain sold separately). One look and everyone will know that you definitely have the free will to control your own eternal destiny! Ever heard of Sikhism? This faith originated in India, but most of us here in America confuse its followers with Osama bin Laden on account of their pag or turban. Well, you can teach these foolish people the central Sikh tenant that God is everywhere by modeling your sleek, Sikh, Bono-like sunglasses! It's true that people get a little nervous around turbans, but after all, everyone worships Bono.

And speaking of rock n' roll, who let the gods out to party? That's right; we have America's most extensive stock of paraphernalia related to the plethora of polytheism, otherwise known as "Darn…that's a lot of deities!"

First up is the ancient system of beliefs from India known as Hinduism. Remarkably, a Hindu can recognize a multitude of gods as all originating from one source, a universal that approaches a type of monotheism. However, we think that the individual gods are so fun that we've made cereal out of their shapes, from delicious Krishna Koco Puffs to vitamin-packed Vishnu V-Wheats. The loveable Ganesh is available in double frosted, sugar-coated rice crisps made especially for children to eat just before bed. Day or night, satisfy your Om with the cereal that makes you say, "Yum."

Now, it's time to WAKE up to the fact that there is no deity in Buddhism! The next aisle contains our extensive collection of tacky, we mean, terrific Buddha office supplies! Are your employees having a hard time focusing at work? More specifically, are temps falling asleep and drooling in the cubicles? Don't get mad, get the Buddha stick! Inspired by the legacy of Siddharta Gautama, the first one to truly attain a state of awakeness, grip the happy Buddha around his jolly belly and send the Wheel of Life crashing on your sleepy employee's desk. A creative boss can then challenge the rest of the workers to discover the sound of one hand clapping in the unemployment line!

Finally, it is appropriate to end our magical, expensive tour with the faith that believes that there is one God behind all faiths. Baha'i followers contend that all major religious figures are genuine manifestations of God and, therefore, all Holy Scriptures contain revealed truth. Like the Baha'i faith, you too can honor all other religious traditions…but make a totally awesome fashion statement in your Baha'i leather vest! Put the toughness back into liberal notions!

Friends, we here at the Mega-Tropolis say to you that it's a big world out there with a lot of different faiths. For the right price, you can bring home a little piece of all these great religions and make the cool parts of other traditions your very own. It seems only right that we end with the words of Jesus: give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he can "monopolize the world through corporate adventures" (final statement is copyright of Mega-Tropolis Corporation). Can we get a big "Amen?"

© 2007 Andrew Stephen Taylor-Troutman


Andrew Taylor-Troutman was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1981.  He does not let the fact that he has been living in the US since 1983 deter him from claiming his Canadian ancestry, especially when Republicans are in the White House.  He married Ginny on September 2nd, 2007 and would like the to reader to know that she is a better writer than he is.  Both of the Taylor-Troutmans attend Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School for Christian Education (Union-PSCE) in Richmond, VA.  As if the length of the name of their institution were not ridiculous enough to cause even the stodgiest to crack a smile, the Taylor-Troutmans are actively engaged in helping colleagues and professors to take themselves a little less seriously.