Mascots are Scary

“Hey Pastor, before you get started we have a surprise for you!”

…words that make every pastor shudder just a little…

A friend of mine with a church in Calgary had a well meaning attender find him during the final songs of the experience just before he stepped on stage to preach. The news that couldn’t wait? “Hey, I thought you’d want to know that the church equipment trailer that was stolen ($200,000) was just found in a field on fire!”

Thanks so much. Super needed that news right now. Great timing!

Another friend in Calgary said she was just walking up to the stage to start the service and a teenage girl caught her by her sleeve “Pastor Jan! My mom really needs to talk to you! Like right now!”

“At this very moment right now?? I’m starting the service?!”

“Yes! She says it can’t wait!!”

So my good hearted friend is lead over to the girl’s mother. “Yes? How can I help?”

“Pastor Jan, I’m very concerned about something!”

“Yes?”

The woman unzips her jacket and opens it up. My friend invariably flinches.

She has secreted two Chihuahuas into the inner pockets. “Pastor, my dogs have psychological problems and I can’t leave them at home when I come to church. Can you please tell the ushers not to take them away from us?”

“Yes” my friend replied “I’ll be sure to tell everyone”.

Church people be crazy sometimes. Really crazy. I sat over a meal with some PK friends of mine (pastor’s kids) and the whole night turned into a “Here’s what actually happened at church one day…”. Why we all decided to become pastors I’ll never know other than perhaps work in normal industry would be too boring for us?

Now to be fair there are some amazing FUN surprises as well, like when broken families are put back together somehow and broken lives are healed, but these stories are interspersed with many alarming moments too.

So when Jen G said “We have a surprise!” I invariably thought “Chihuahuas?”.

Nope. Out of my own garage emerged two Easter Bunnies. The team erupts in laughter. Two small girls erupt in crying.

As our Venue Dream Team prepares for the Airdrie Easter Egg Hunt I realized our mascot suits have arrived! But mascots are a little like clowns. Scary.

As an adult I know intellectually that rabbits don’t get that large or wear cute blue suit jackets.

As an adult I know that the person under a clown costume is probably not completelyevil.

I laughed and looked around with everyone else because the Easter Bunnies wouldn’t dare attack all of us, but if I was alone in an alley you’d better believe I would burst into tears and flee the scene, so to speak.

Our friend’s two little girls were minding their own business in the kitchen and without warning were reminded that the world is not safe at all.

I don’t know if watching cartoons creates a sort of reality where the animated beings are snugly and manageable in a child’s mind right up until the moment they’re approached by a giant mascot snuggler that isn’t their dad at all but looks as if it’s just eaten him?

My brain has been around long enough to perform a quick eval that I could escape a giant mascot with giant head they can hardly see out of if I really had to. But a child’s initial terror supersedes any escape plan other than to bury their face in their mom’s legs and hope for day to come.

The only similar feeling that compares to this for a grown man is perhaps when their wife says “I need to talk to you about something…”. Oh we can run but we can’t hide, not if we want dinner or um… snuggles. We all experience a little death on the inside. I think it’s particularly creepy when you can’t see the person’s eyes through the mascot head, not unlike not being able to see your wife’s eyes when she’s angry-crying and telling you what she really thinks about that thing you did but can’t remember. (I know men reading this will agree but would rather not sleep on the couch for the rest of time so I’ll get a few private fist bumps with zero words exchanged because men are amazing communicators. I won’t know if it’s about this article or about the game Liverpool just won and I won’t care because I’m not that complicated. Unlike my wife I don’t have to understand a win to appreciate it:)

But at the Airdrie Egg Hunt giant Easter bunnies will be surrounded by a crowd of people in open spaces much larger than my kitchen, so the kids should be ok. And if you ask politely I’m sure they could remove their giant mascot heads and show your fearful child that it’s just a person with the body of a rabbit and the head of a human who is now holding the giant animal’s head under their arm, because that will be sure to reassure them.

All that to say come out to the Ed Eggerer Fields (Venue Experience at the Bert Church Theatre 10:30 am, Field Events begin around 11:30 am), have free family fun of epic proportions, pet things in the petting zoo, eat too much chocolate and get a picture with a giant not-creepy Easter Bunny! Teach your kids how to overcome their fear of things that should scare them on any other day of the year…

it will build character!

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