|Directed by:||Steven Dean Moore|
|Written by:||Bill Freiberger|
|Release date:||December 16, 2001|
|Running time:||21 minutes|
|Available on:|| DVD|
While watching a 1950s science fiction movie, Bart and Lisa see a commercial for a model rocket kit and Bart orders it by using Homer's credit card number. Six to eight weeks later, Bart gets the rocket and asks Homer if he wants to help put the rocket together. Homer joins him and Milhouse in the back yard to help them. Soon the rocket is ready, but it blows up before it can lift off. Jealous that Ned Flanders built a superior rocket, Homer enlists the help of his nerdy college roommates, Gary, Doug, and Benjamin. Once they are done with a pretty high-tech rocket, he shoos them and Milhouse away, and prepares to launch it himself. Unable to get their hands on any space monkeys, they use the school hamster, Nibbles, to pilot the rocket. The rocket lifts off successfully, but it develops complications and starts drifting off-course. After Nibbles bails out (disobeying Homer's rather simple instructions), the rocket crashes into the church and blows it up, aided and abetted by Homer, who tries to destroy it with a shotgun.
The church council meets up to decide how to come up with money to fund the repairs to the church. With no help, they will have to do it themselves. At that moment, Mr. Burns, looking more sinister and evil than the Devil, shows up and offers to fix the damage provided that they allow him to run the church like a business. At first, the group is a bit reluctant, but they have no choice, so they agree. He introduces them to Lindsay Naegle, who will be overseeing the church renovations. Together, Lindsay and Burns make the church into a commercial monstrosity, complete with advertising signs, a Lard Lad statue, and a Jumbotron. Lisa, on seeing this, is appalled.
Three weeks later, the newly renovated church is thrown open to the public. The whole place seems like a shopping mall and it even has new pews, resembling first-class airline chairs. When Lisa objects, she is labeled a "Pouting Thomas" on the "God Cam". Reverend Lovejoy starts the service rather solemnly, as usual, but suddenly starts endorsing big-screen TVs and pizzas. At this point, Lisa has had all she can take and denounces how horrible the church has become, likening it to the Whore of Babylon, much to everyone's astonishment. Some people try to talk favorably about the new renovations. Lisa agrees with them, but tells them that they cost the church its soul, and leaves, saying she has lost her faith in the church, much to Marge's horror (Homer is unsure of how to act).
That night, Marge tries to "talk sense" into Lisa by pretending to be God as she prays, but Lisa, offended that her mother would eavesdrop on her prayers, is not to be swayed. Bart comes up with some religions she should consider taking up, but she shoots them all down. She goes for a walk, passing many sacrilegious signs; like Whiskey A God-God, Church of The Latter Day Druids, and Bed Bath & Bahá'í; until she happens upon Springfield's Buddhist temple. She enters and sees Lenny, Carl, and Hollywood actor Richard Gere inside. After hearing and reading about the virtues of Buddhism, she declares to everyone that she is a Buddhist.
Stunned at the conversion, Marge tries unsuccessfully to bribe her back to Christianity. Lisa plants her own bodhi tree in the back yard, much to her mother's disapproval. At the church council, they decide to bribe Lisa back during the Christmas season using presents, using what looks like a pony named Clip Clop wrapped in paper (in actuality, it is Ralph and Milhouse wrapped inside). However, she gets wise to the fact that Reverend Lovejoy is outside watching and runs away. She runs to the Buddhist temple, where she complains about how her family tried to trick her into celebrating Christmas. Richard Gere informs her that while Buddhism is about one finding inner peace, it is also about respecting the diversity of other religions, as well as love and compassion. In other words, she can celebrate any holiday. Gere leaves to spend Christmas with his daughter, and Lenny and Carl leave to prevent Moe from attempting to kill himself (as he does every Christmas).
Lisa goes back home and tells everyone that she will be celebrating Christmas with them and continue paying lip service to Christianity while practicing Buddhism. When she asks about the pony, Marge nervously tries to change the subject by saying "Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year." At the end, we hear Marge still saying Happy New Year and Lisa calling for Clip Clop.
The episode made its home video debut on the Christmas with the Simpsons DVD, released in 2003. It was later included on The Simpsons: The Complete 13th Season DVD and Blu-ray sets in 2010.