MARTY RUSSELL: Do you think they have 4G service in heaven?

God was checking His Facebook page the other day, wondering just how many of those billions of followers and likes were genuine believers and how many were just hedging their bets, when his right-hand angel, Gabriel, walked in carrying an iPad.

“Look here,” God said, pointing to his own tablet. It was made of rough stone but had the latest hi-def screen and a zillion megapixel camera built in. “Think this guy is sincere? I mean he’s a follower but if you check out his page he also follows

Buddha, Mohammed, Ra, Abraham …”

“Well, Abraham’s not so bad, is he?” Gabriel interrupted. “I just had lunch with him the other day.”

“… Lincoln,” God finished.

“Well, it’s hard to know who’s for real online and who’s not these days,” said Gabriel. “I got an email the other day from a guy in Nigeria offering to donate $2 billion to the church in exchange for a guaranteed spot in heaven.

“All I had to do was click on the attachment and send him a $1 million cashier’s check for processing.”

“You didn’t do it, did you?” God said, raising a bushy white eyebrow.

“Say,” said Gabriel, quickly changing the subject. “Did you know the Bible is now an app?”

“Always has been if you ask me,” God replied.

“No is offering it for free download and millions have done it. It also includes videos of their church services and soon they’re rolling out digital tithing,” Gabriel said.

“I prefer cash,” God snorted.

“And have you heard what the pope has started offering?” Gabriel asked. “Followers of his on Twitter are now eligible for indulgences, meaning anyone who follows him on Twitter will now get time off in purgatory.”

“Didn’t we get busted for that back in the Middle Ages?” God said, rubbing his long white beard.

“I mean selling redemption? That crazy guy Martin Luther nailing theses all over the place. Big mess, cost us a lot of followers as I recall.”

“Gotta keep up with the times and this new pope is really keen on using social media to reach out to the masses,” Gabriel said. “You can reach more people in their pajamas than in their Sunday best. So if you can get time off from purgatory just by tweeting rather than praying or doing some kind of penance then more people are likely to take you up on it.”

“Call me old-fashioned,” God said, “but I liked the old operating system better.”

“You mean Windows XP and Mac OS10?”

“No, confession and prayer,” God said. “So how is the pope’s little experiment going?”

“Pretty good,” Gabriel said.

“Just pretty good?” God asked.

“Well, he’s had millions of tweets taking him up on the offer.”

“That sounds like a good start,” said God.

“Yeah,” said Gabriel, casting his eyes down and shuffling his feet, “except about half of them are from somebody named Wiener.”

MARTY RUSSELL writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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