Sometimes a website sits on the precipice. You don’t know if it’s an Onion-like parody or the truth, known in some circles as the Word of God. What you must not do in trying to ascertain the authenticity of such a site is base your conclusion upon what other people believe–good parodies tend to fool people, and rigid righteousness can seem like a joke. Into the breach comes the Landover Baptist Church, where thanks to a fulsome and ugly (the meek shall inherit) digital presence a person can glean all sorts of helpful Christian advice without ever leaving his pew–even Godly Tips on How to Beat Your Christian Child. Not mendicant all the time but instead planning a night on the town? LBC even makes sure you have plenty of sartorial choices. Just click the link that says Crazy Bible Swag. The site isn’t often updated–in fact it looks half-abandoned. (The last chance to purchase a Plan of Salvation is December 31, 2011.) But why bother updating when there hasn’t been any news for 2000 years?
Real visits require booking two years in advance, but here’s a teaser about what you’ll get. The following is only the start of Landover Baptist Church’s frankly rapturous self-description: “We are a Bible believing, Fundamentalist, Independent Baptist Church. We are 157,286 members strong. Our Church Campus is located in Freehold, Iowa and rests on 35 acres of some of the most beautiful country you’d ever care to set your eyes upon. Our church holds 28 paid pastors, 131 paid deacons, 412 full time staff members, 11 fully equipped chapels, four 2,000 seat sanctuaries, three 5,000 seat main sanctuaries, the world’s largest Christian Mall, a Christian Amusement Park (Landover Bible Theme Park and Red Sea World), a PGA 18 Hole Golf Course, three Fitness Centers, four Olympic sized swimming pools…” Could it be the site is slow to update because its writers are busy working on the new Jimmy Fallon show?