This article first appeared in the Onion Dome on January 17, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO – In a move that has yet to be analyzed by anybody, the Archangel Gabriel announced today that tolls at the post-death tollbooths on the way to heaven will be increased soon.
“We just can’t keep operating at a loss,” complained the Archangel. “The Angels haven’t had a pay raise since 1917, and the Demons’ Local 666 has threatened to strike if their wages aren’t adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of bodiless living over the last two millenia. So I’m sorry to announce that a simple onion won’t suffice anymore.”
The tollbooths in question are subject of heated debate in Orthodox circles; no less luminaries than Father Seraphim Rose and St. Theophan the Recluse were proponents of the theory; yet many other Orthodox leaders reject it outright.
“You got that straight, onion-breath,” said the always-polite Father Mikhail Nazgûl of the Holy Orthodox Splinter Sect of North America. “It’s gnosticism, plain and simple.”
“Not so fast,” objected Church Overseas of Russian Orthodox Christians (COROC) priest Father Vasiliy Vasileivich. “How can it be a heresy? It was proponed by Father Seraphim Rose of really, really, really blessed memory! How can it be a heresy?”
“Pish-posh. St. John Chrysostom didn’t believe the Theotokos to be sinless,” pointed out Father Mikhail.
“Get out of here,” suggested Father Vasiliy.
“It’s true. Even saints make mistakes,” averred Father Mikhail.
According to the tollbooth theory, human souls pass through a series of “tollbooths” or “tollhouses” after death, at which the various sins and good deeds they committed while in the body are weighed by the angels and demons to determine if the soul will pass on to heaven.
“Sounds like works righteousness to me,” opined Co-Pastor Isabella McMillian of the West Erie Toronto Blessing Fellowship.
“Sounds like Islam to me,” opined Father John Johnson of All Saints of Middle-Class North America Church.
“It sounds like stinking Gnosticism! What’s wrong with you people?!” shouted Father Mikhail. “IT SOUNDS LIKE GNOSTICISM BECAUSE IT IS GNOSTICISM!”
“You just made it,” pointed out Father Vasiliy.
“What will the new tolls be?” inquired Father John Johnson.
“If I told you, it would kinda ruin the point,” offered the Archangel Gabriel.
“I suppose that’s true enough,” admitted Father John.
“There are no tollbooths! Do you hear me?! No tollbooths!” shrieked Father Mikhail.
“You’re just saying that because they’re a heretical gnostic invention,” suggested the Archangel.
“And your point?” demanded Father Mikhail.
“Give away more onions,” advised the Archangel.
Copyright © 2003-2011 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.