The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Jonah Winter

The Lord's Pledge Drive

You listen to my sermons.
You listen to my words.
Hopefully, the things I say
make your life just a little more meaningful.
Hopefully, my words make a difference.
Well, imagine a world
where the words “love thine enemy”
had never been spoken.
Imagine a world without God.
Imagine reaching to your night stand for the Bible
and finding only a tattered copy of Moby Dick
or maybe just a stack of vintage lesbian pulp novels
in mint condition. Imagine, just imagine,
being surrounded by a gang of 10-foot-tall lesbian cave-dwellers
playing air guitar and tap-dancing in slow motion
while a pink giraffe reads random passages
from an L.L. Bean catalogue – in Spanish.
Imagine a world where Peggy Lee’s recording
of “Is That All There Is?” gets played on an endless tape-loop
constantly – for the rest of All Time.
Well, you have the power
to see that that never happens.
Just pick up the phone
and show me just how much you love me.
You know
how much I love you.
You know the price I was willing to pay
to ensure the salvation of your mortal soul.
Well, what price are you willing to pay
to ensure that I stay on the air?
How much do you value
my presence in your life?
You pay your dentist.
You pay for your groceries.
You pay utility bills.
Do you think I should just
give away my valuable wisdom… for free?
Be a mensch.
Go to your phone right now
and show the world just how much you value
everything I have given you – the wit, the wisdom,
the being crucified to pay for your sins,
the resurrection, of course, and just the many countless things
I do for you JUST by having existed.
I was born, I was a carpenter, I preached,
I turned loaves into fishes,
walked on water, healed the sick,
got crucified, was resurrected,
walked around for a while just randomly dropping in on people during dinner,
disappeared for about 2,000 years,
and now I’m back (!), here with you,
asking for your support:
I’ll take anything you can give –
one dollar, two dollars,
a gold coin,
a whole BAG of gold coins,
30 pieces of silver, whatever!
Whatever you can give,
whatever you can afford to give,
whatever you can find it in your heart to give,
THIS is what you SHOULD give.
You know, deep inside, what’s right
and what’s wrong. You know
because I have taught you,
because I have given you my blood and my body
so that you may have eternal life
in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Now it’s YOUR TURN to give back.
Without your support, I cease to exist –
on the air, that is.
Do you really want to see me go back to standing on street corners
with a megaphone?
It’s just not effective.
No one takes me seriously.
No one listens.
They think I’m insane!
They think I’m just some homeless guy,
some out-patient from the local mental hospital.
You want to keep me off the streets?
You want to keep me out of the homeless shelter?
Do you want to keep me out of a straightjacket
in a padded cell deep down in the basement
of some primitive asylum overrun by rats
and other creepy crawly things?
Pledge today!
Give me your money!
It’s the only way you’ll get me to stop
this seemingly endless harangue.
You want me to shut up?
You want me to go back to my usual
“blessed are the poor” sort of thing?
It’s simple: Pick up the phone
and dial this number:
That’s right: MY JESUS.
Because you know, I am YOUR Jesus.
I belong to you
and you and you!
And I love you.
And I know you love me.
But I need you to show me
exactly how much you love me
by picking up that phone,
dialing 1-800-MY-JESUS
and giving whatever you can give,
right now, this moment,
no matter what you’re doing, because
face it: Is anything more important than this?
My words, my body, my blood, my spirit:
Do they or do they not matter
more than anything else in the world?
All I’m asking for is one dollar,
50 cents, a dime!
It’s really not that much!
Not in comparison with everything I give you
day after day after day after day after DAY!
I died on the cross
so that you may live.
Now it’s your turn to step right up to the plate
and DELIVER – knock this one right out of the park
with whatever you can afford,
even if it’s just a PENNY.
We only have 2 more days to go
before I return to my usual schtick
(which I know you love so much).
Two days. That’s NOTHING
compared to the ETERNITY
of existential meaninglessness
you will no doubt experience
if I go off the air.
You need me.
And I need your money.
It’s that simple.
Pick up the phone.
Get out your credit card
(and yes, I do accept American Express),
and dial: 1-800-MY-JESUS.
That’s 1-800-MY-JESUS.
And as a little token of my appreciation
for a 50-dollar pledge,
I am offering this nifty little MY JESUS water bottle.
It has a little picture of me with the words
“MY JESUS” just so you can show the world
I am your own particular Jesus,
not theirs – they didn’t pledge 50 dollars.
When you drink out of your MY JESUS water bottle,
everyone will know exactly HOW MUCH you love me.
I’ll know. God will know.
Satan will know. And of course
all those deadbeats out there who say they love me
but then are strangely silent during pledge drives…,
THEY’LL know too.
And you’ll know that YOU have done the right thing,
by doing your part to make sure
my voice keeps getting heard.
If you are listening to my voice
right now,
I know
and you know
that you value my voice.
You value my voice so much
that you would sit and listen to me BEGGING
for hours, for days – weeks!
If you are listening to my voice,
pick up the phone.
In the name of the Father,
the Son (that’s me!),
and the Holy Ghost,
I say unto you:
is there anything you want to add to that?




JONAH WINTER is a poet and children’s book author. He currently divides his time between Santa Fe and a small town in Pennsylvania.



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