Aretha Franklin - “You better think about the consequences of your actions.”
Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy – “ Oh shut up woman!”
(Loving borrowed from the movie “The Blues Brothers”)
A few months ago I lent out a book by a newer young minister to a friend of mine named Georgia. Georgia has recently made it out of the mess Possum Creek Christian Fellowship devolved into. We’d been talking about new teachings we’d encountered and I’d explained that I liked this guy’s style, I steered my friend Georgia to his teachings on You Tube and lend her that book. Minister X actually has a new book out but I lent her one of the older books first.
Georgia is one of those ladies I had remained friends with even after she stayed and I skedaddled out of PCCF. She’s one of the more relaxed ones and I thought maybe she’d enjoy looking at faith from a different angle. I guess I was sorely mistaken.
Today I got the book back, sent through someone else we both knew. It was shoved down in a bag underneath a thick sheath of clippings from many magazines, newspapers, computer printed papers, several tracts and pamphlets. On top of those were plastic bags for me to recycle craft, my two compartment crudites serving bowl, a baggie of cooked squash and a few late fall vegetables from her garden. I was confused by this, particularly as I unpacked the bag, realizing that the book and accompanying papers were wrapped in brown paper and garden twine like some sort of trash or porn, something disgraceful and yuck. Something you’d bury to keep others from seeing.
When I unwrapped that bundle I knew this just wasn’t any kind of a good sign. I’d hit a nerve or something so I was relieved the paper didn’t contain white powder or nuclear waste. As I read through the clippings, print outs, tracts and other nonsense I finally got to Georgia’s long handwritten screed. She admitted she’d only read a few pages of the book, not many at all, but that Reverend So-N-So on TV Station Y, Pastor Jinks on Radio WJDG, Teacher Itchy-Man at Look At Me Ministries, ad infinitum just didn’t approve of ANY of Minister X’s writings. X was going to Double H E Hockey Sticks for his various writings.
I mean, I found this all very confusing because the book I loaned out was basically about how if you going to be a Christian you needed to be very naturally that way, that your relationship with the Divine should not be like an old coat that stays in the back your closet you put on only when you feel like. It’s not too different than teachings at conferences we’d attended in the past. You’d think he’d written the Evangelical Anarchist Cookbook with directions on how to get high on communion wine and wafers. Or sticking a banana in the tailpipe of your least favorite pastor’s car. Or overthrowing polite society for fun. Or Halloween, don’t get me started about Halloween.