How would the Church deal with "the cat sat on the mat" if it appeared in the Bible?
The Methodists would form a committee to refer the issue to, while in the meantime a pot luck dinner would be planned, pending the result. Presbyterians would not care, because they always KNEW the cat would sit on the mat, anyway.
Episcopal. UCC, and Lutheran theologians would point out that such a passage did not of course mean that the cat literally sat on the mat. Also, cat and mat had different meanings in those days from today, and anyway, the text should be interpreted according to the customs and practices of the period.
This would lead to an immediate backlash from the Southern Baptists, Charismatics and other Evangelicals. They would make an essential condition of faith that "a real physical, living cat, being a domestic pet of the Felix Domesticus species, and having a whiskered head and furry body, four legs and a tail, did physically place its whole body on a floor covering, designed for that purpose, and which is on the floor but not of the floor." The expression "on the floor but not of the floor" would be explained in a leaflet.
The Christian Right would then mount a fundraising effort for a TV and internet campaign pressuring politicans to "define and protect the institution" of Mat sitting, and to prevent the introduction of pillow sitting as an acceptable "alternative sitting style"
The Unitarians would declare: "We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a mat; each cat's journey is it's own".
The Mormons would come up with an entire rite in the Temple of the Baptism of the Dead Cat on the Mat, and would find innumerable proofs in the Book of Mormon supporting the Cat and Mat, while spending millions of dollars on archeological research to find the Mat or the Cat's bones in the New World, ultimately proving it for themselves while the rest of the archeological world scoffed.
Meanwhile, the Catholics would have developed the Festival of the Sedentation of the Blessed Cat. This would teach that the cat was white and majestically reclined on a mat of gold thread before its assumption to the Great Cat Basket of Heaven. This is commemorated by the singing of the Magnificat, lighting three candles, and ringing a bell five times.
This would cause a schism with the Orthodox Church which believes tradition requires Holy Cats Day [as it is colloquially known], to be marked by lighting six candles and ringing the bell four times. This would partly be resolved by the ecumenical Fidere Felinus Declaration recognising the traditional validity of each.
Eventually, the Episcopal House of Bishops would issue a statement on the Doctrine of the Feline Sedentation. It would explain, traditionally the text describes a domestic feline quadruped superjacent to an unattached covering on a fundamental surface. For determining its salvific and eschatological significations, we follow the heuristic analytical principles adopted in dealing with the Canine Fenestration Question [How much is that doggie in the window?] and the Affirmative Musaceous Paradox [Yes, we have no bananas]. And so on, for another 210 pages.
The General Synod of the Lutherans, would then commend this report as helpful resource material for clergy to explain to the person in the pew the difficult doctrine of the cat sat on the mat.
.....Author unknown, but funny