NEW MEXICO - Deep in the heart of the American Southwest, final preparations are being made for a highly anticipated annual tradition: The Christian Denominational Hunger Games, an event intended to ease tensions between various Christian traditions and satiate interdenominational bloodlust.
One male and one female volunteer participates from each faith tradition, though if no one steps forward, an able-bodied warrior is chosen by force. The participants train for months before finally stepping into the arena, ready to fight to the death.
"The Southern Baptists are favored to win this year, with their plentiful supply of AR-15s, but don't count out the charismatics - they're pumped up and energetic as always," a Games commentator said on an evening show. "The Orthodox Presby's male volunteer has even grown his beard large enough to fashion a survival shelter for him and several other allied denominations in a pinch, so look out for him to become a frontrunner this year."
"But also look out for underdogs like the Mennonites and the Lutherans - they've been known to snatch victory from unsuspecting denominations who forgot they even existed," he added.
Experts state this year's games are shaping up to be the most violent since the Lordship Salvation versus Free Grace debates of the late 1980s, with tensions over politics and racial reconciliation reaching fever pitch. "We just hope the games will satisfy Christians' murderous anger for one another, at least until next spring," pastor Kevin DeYoung said at the opening ceremony of the games.
Alliances form early and disintegrate just as fast in each year's Games. The mainline denominations often team up for survival, but quickly break up as they bicker over a multitude of issues. More conservative groups tend to stick together more effectively, but inevitably begin slaughtering one another whenever they come across a body of water, which always triggers a debate on paedobaptism. The defensive Independent Baptists never ally with anyone, and will shoot and hurl snakes and King James Bibles at anyone who approaches.
The Games are filmed for entertainment purposes, though pastors across the nation are known to use the footage as sermon illustrations and object lessons throughout the event, which lasts several weeks. Sponsors like The Gospel Coalition, Answers in Genesis, and Christianity Today help their favorite fighters out by dropping supplies like casseroles, jello with bits of fruit in them, and inspiring Christian books into the enclosed death cage.
Godspeed, brave denominational warriors! Let the Games begin, and may God's eternal purposes be ever in your favor!