Good morning, y’all. As storms rage off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, another storm is building in the state of California. California released a convicted rapist today after serving a whopping three months in jail. Now, to be fair, there were extenuating circumstances. The convicted rapist was white, highly educated and able to afford attending a prestigious university. The convicted rapist was also able to afford the best attorneys, and had at least one parent that could rationalize abhorrent behavior. Most importantly, the convicted rapist was adjudicated by a judge who apparently cared far less for the victim than the perpetrator. Maybe the judge identified more with the male than the female, who knows?
Speaking of of making judgements brings us back around to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Bud had just returned to TackyToo when he got a call on his cell phone. Bud saw the word “Hurricane” on the caller ID, and assumed it might be a severe weather report. Thinking that it was one of the many weather reporting agencies in Georgia, he answered the call.
Bud was very appreciative of the fact that his local weather service would call when a tornado was advancing on his house. In truth, the weather service made calls for all sorts of bad weather, not just tornadoes. Bud usually ignored them. This message was entitled “Hurricane”, so he was intrigued enough to answer. As it turned, out the call was from the “Hurricane Ministries”. It was Bud’s first ever “robo call for Jesus”. Bud speculated that the ministry recognized the power of the word “Hurricane” and that most people would pick up their calls because the word “Hurricane” took up most of the screen on caller ID.
“Well, I know for sure if I had seen the word ‘Ministry'”, Bud thought, “I would have never picked up”. “I’ve got all I can handle right now with our little band of Evangelicals without taking on a new drain of time, energy, and finances”.
In spite of the fact that the Hurricane Ministries promised to teach Bud the path to Salvation in under a minute and a half, and they promised not to ask for any money, Bud pressed “2” to be added to their “do not call list”. Bud was always interested in new marketing techniques and he resolved to keep an eye on the Ministry’s Facebook page to see how they fared.
“It certainly changes the dynamic if you can sell salvation over a phone line and not have any of the usual overhead to deal with”, Bud thought as he carried the last of last night’s bucket of Kentucky Fried chicken to the Rec room office.
“Some things are just as good cold”, Bud thought as he settled himself into the Barcalounger to catch the DVR’d service from the Crystal Palace, “and fried chicken is one of them.”
The big screen TV showed the intro to the telecast and then switched into the interior of the church. As the choir began to sing “Faith of Our Fathers”, Reverend Helena once again appeared like she was materializing on the stage. For the one thousandth time, Bud decided he needed to sneak into Blairsville one day next week and inspect the pulpit area of the church a little closer.
“There’s got to be a trap door there somewhere that allows the Reverend her magical entrance”, Bud thought as he scraped the bottom of the barrel for the crunchy tidbits of chicken left there, ” I’ll sleep better at night knowing I’ve solved the mystery of her manifestation”. “There’s already way too many logic traps being set up here in our little portion of the hills”.
As always, the Reverend was resplendent in her robe and fiery red hair. Her robe was a patch work of many colors that seemed to catch the TV lights and reflect them directly back into the camera. There appeared to be about six dominant colors in the robe, but there could have been more. The robe was very distinctive, and as it turned out, part of a theme.
Today’s sermon was entitled, “Sold Into Egypt”. The Reverend took the story of Daniel and his brothers as the main topic, and expanded it to give a more current feel. Reverend Helena likened the “99%, the poor and middle class”, to Daniel being sold into slavery by his brothers. The “1%, the greedy, jealous brothers”, were abusing their power and privilege to take advantage of their brothers. The Reverend questioned the 1%’s right to “stack their silver higher and higher” while their brothers were homeless.
In yet another break of religious decorum, Reverend Handbasket used a quote from somewhere other than the Bible to drive home her point. Reverend Helena quoted Andrew Carnegie, who said, “The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” The Reverend set up the quote by telling the congregation that Carnegie was the richest man of his time. Carnegie had no problem with being prosperous and accumulating riches, he just felt that you shouldn’t try to “take it with you”. The Reverend pointed out that America has the finest public library system in the world because of Carnegie’s belief in helping out his fellow man.
Reverend Helena closed the sermon out with Matthew 19:24, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The last quote from the scriptures was just in case someone had not gotten the point.
Bud paused the DVR for a few seconds for a bathroom break and to reflect on what he had just heard. “One of her better sermons”, Bud thought when he plopped himself back into his easy chair, “I wonder how it’s going to play to the 1%”.
The altar call and testament of faith were quite tame in comparison to what Bud had witnessed at the “Little Church in the Valley”. Bud wondered if Reverend Helena would feel any pressure to “up her game” based on the goings on at the Little Church. He was sure the pressure would be there, he just wasn’t sure how Reverend Helena could compete with a child, or a snake savant.
Bud decided to not discuss the events of the day with Mulva until after supper. He made himself scarce by watching NFL games he had no interest in until Mulva called him home. After a fine meal of crock pot slow cook chili and cornbread, Bud related the “miracle in the valley”. He could tell from the look of amazement on Mulva’s face that she was going to have to get independent confirmation of his report. While Mulva didn’t accuse Bud of a heresy as damning as backsliding, her eyebrows were raised to the point of almost leaving her face. Bud was convinced that Mulva was going to spend the evening making calls to see how much Bud had embellished the story. He looked forward to being vindicated.