5 Vehicles of American Repentance

When Jonah washed up on the shore of Nineveh with his message of repentance preached through gritted teeth, he did so having been gift-wrapped to speak to the culture that he was vomited into. From the belly of a giant fish, God delivered a message of repentance to a people who worshiped a fish god by the name of Dagon.


It makes you wonder what kind of packaging God would choose for our own culture.

In a move that they hoped would express the power and influence of the party, the 2020 Republican National Convention was scheduled as the first national convention to occupy the massive AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas. On that day, before an audience reported to have approached 100,000 energized conservatives, a man in a well-tailored blue suit accompanied by a red silk tie descended supernaturally from the 11,000 square foot jumbotron at midfield to the stage. With a voice that thundered over the stadium speakers, a single word, “repent”. The man was later identified by facial recognition software, simply by the name Jonah.

A monument to the American desire for comfort, a small town in rural Nebraska has constructed a piece of furniture soon to be certified as the “World’s Largest Sectional Sofa”. An advanced viewing of this roadside attraction was interrupted earlier this week as a man was found wedged between the cushions of this over-sized couch, like so much loose change. After dislodging a somehow already lost television remote, and removing a Cheeto from his hair, the man, reportedly named Yonah, had a message of repentance to deliver to the assembled crowd.

On a small private airfield in suburban Atlanta, the Trinity Broadcast Network has brought us live video of a triumphant event that many of us have been waiting over a year to witness. None of us could match the excitement evident on the face of noted televangelist Creflo Dollar, who will on this day finally be taking delivery of his prized 70 million dollar Gulfstream G650 aircraft. A symbol of opulent wealth the world over, this jet has signaled that the mega-church pastor has truly taken his place as one of means, one truly blessed by God.

Dr. Creflo Dollar will apparently not have the opportunity to be the first to travel on this jet, as it has arrived with a passenger. A well-dressed man has descended the stairs and has greeted the new owner with a slap to the face and the word “repent”, before striding away.

Found later, in some convenient shade, attempting to escape the summer heat of Georgia, the man identified himself as Ionas.

A recent night of worship with Christian contemporary recording artists Hillsong was delayed due to an unusual malfunction with a piece of equipment. A man was found lodged inside of an industrial sized smoke machine often used by the band. The man, apparently named Jonas, had spent three days in the machine during a lull in the band’s schedule but was found to be surprisingly unharmed, muttering only a few words about repentance to those who came to his aid.

Millions have been flocking (excuse the pun) to the Black Hills of North Dakota, in order to catch a glimpse of an enormous bald eagle that has made its nest in the heights of Mount Rushmore. The symbolism of emblematic bird of the nation roosting on the heads of the country’s most influential leaders would in itself be enough to draw a crowd, but this great feathered creature has been estimated to be nearly twenty times the size normally found in this species, a true spectacle.

Today, through the coin-operated viewfinder of a pair of binoculars, a hand was seen emerging from the beak of the great bird. A man was seen pulling himself from the belly of this living symbol of patriotism. The man stumbled at first, no doubt dazed from the inhospitable nature of his previous habitation, but soon found his footing and skillfully made his way down the mountain, and into the presence of the crowd.

A reporter on-site asked for his name. In a short breathless response, he indicated that his name was Yunus. He soon caught his breath, straightened his posture, and presented himself to the crowd. The scene ended with a lone word from his lips, “repent”.

So what do you think? Do any of these scenarios bring images of sackcloth and ashes to your mind? 


6 thoughts on “5 Vehicles of American Repentance

  1. I think I like the slap to the face of Creflo. I haven’t researched the issue of how big Dagon was to Ninevah, but, I wonder how they would have viewed it when Jonah was reportedly spewed out of a fish’s mouth? Was it that he came from their god? Or was he greater than their god (who couldn’t devour him?). Interesting ideas.

    • I actually haven’t given that much thought either, but I would probably lean toward the second, though potentially more of the slant that the one true God even has authority to deliver his prophet through the mouth of what you worship as a god.

    • The name Nineveh (via the Sumerian and Akkadian) appears to mean “Fishtown.” And Berossus (a 3rd c. B.C. Babylonian historian) writes how the Ninevites believed their civilization had been founded by a fish-god, a creature described as half man and half fish, who taught them all they knew about life. Also, they lived with a certain religious expectancy that every once in awhile their god (poss. Dagon) would send an avatar from out of the sea with divine instructions for them to follow. This was their worldview. So when the rebellious Jonah called out as one vomited from a big fish—he, the prophet of Yahweh, came packaged and delivered to them in such a way that they clearly recognized him to be a divine messenger. The Dove (as Jonah’s name means) had the marks of God all over him. We know also that the dove was the sacred bird of Nina who was likely a deity of early Nineveh and the goddess whose name is apparently connected to the naming of the city.

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