Good morning, y’all. So much wild and crazy stuff in the news today. The video of the man being executed in Baton Rouge is devastating. How any jury could watch that video and not send those officers away forever is beyond me. I realize I’m predicting here, but I’ve got a hundred years or so of data to base my predictions on. You see those officers and all of the tools on their belts, and you wonder why the only tool they can think to use is the gun. Perhaps if the police feared the law as much as they expect to be feared, they would act more prudently.
Speaking of acting prudently brings us back again to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting was the least spirit filled service that anyone could ever remember attending in the little church. It was like all of the air had been let out of Right Reverend Dale E. Bread. There was no pizzaz, no fire, no energy. The church board fairly rushed to the office after the benediction to escape the sanctuary. Mulva Lite started talking before everyone was seated and the door was shut.
Mulva related to the other members of the board that her son, Bud Junior had been visited by the Right Reverend on Monday morning. Bud Junior was the current chief of police for Nunsuch, Georgia. The Right Reverend was seeking to bring charges against his wife for attempted murder. According to Mulva, Bud Junior had told the Right Reverend that while rousing the snakes was not exactly the Christian thing to do, there was certainly no reason for locking up Alva Bread. Bud Junior related to his mom that the Right Reverend expressed the desire to get “some sort of ” police protection to protect him from his wife. Bud Junior indicated to the Right Reverend that perhaps if he felt that threatened, he should remove himself from the situation.
Mulva continued the story at high speed. According to Ladies Auxillary member Annie Howe, the Right Reverend had done just that. He was seen leaving the rectory that afternoon carrying a suitcase and a large duffel bag. Mulva had no confirmation on where the Right Reverend had landed yet, but he had been seen in Blairsville in the company of Ophelia Bottoms on Tuesday. Ms. Bottoms lived in one of those “swinging singles” apartment complexes near the Walmart. It wouldn’t be too hard to confirm the Right Reverend’s current living situation, Mulva surmised.
“Well, I will just be darned”, said Elder Cheatum, “I am so disappointed.” “I thought he was going to pull himself out of it, but it doesn’t look like he can.” “Barry, you need to call Helena Handbasket and book her for the balance of the year, if you can.” “Pay her the same as a man.” “Alvin, where do we stand legally?” Elder Cheatum said as he looked at his friend.
“Well, I don’t know that there has ever been any precedent here, but I think we can probably move forward like Dale has quit”, Elder Wiley replied. “He’s pretty effectively abandoned his post, if you will.” “If he’s living in town with our choir director he’s certainly broken our morals clause.” Elder Wiley continued, “Abandoning his wife and seven children is not going to sit well with any member of our community, so I don’t expect there will be any backlash no matter what action we take.”
“What say you, Barry?” Elder Cheatum said.
“I’d say I picked a really bad day to quit sniffing glue.” Elder Diggum replied, “Just kidding, Mulva.” “I think Reverend Dale has dug himself a real deep hole, and he hasn’t learned the first rule of holes yet.” “It’s a shame that it’s his family that is going to bear the brunt of this.” Elder Diggum continued,”We can’t let his family keep the rectory, while Dale’s dallying in Blairsville and not preaching on Sunday.” “Aw, heck!” Elder Diggum exclaimed as if he just thought of something else . “We’ve got to replace Ophelia too, dang it!”
“Alvin, how about you get Dale back here, right now,” Elder Cheatum said. “Call his cell and don’t accept any excuses, we need to resolve this tonight.” “Barry, you call Reverend Handbasket and get her committed.” ” I need to talk to Mulva a minute.”
The two elders left the office to make their calls while Elder Cheatum conferred with the secretary/treasurer. “Mulva, I know our numbers are way up, what’s your sense of if, or how long, they’re going to stay that way?” “Can Helena sustain the growth we’re experiencing, or is it just a curiosity, a flash in the pan?”
“Well..”, Mulva started, “I think there’s curiosity, but I think there’s a spirituality that can’t be denied.” “As fundamental as Granny Waller is, she even said it was about darned time to give a woman a chance.” “If she’s on board, I don’t think you’re going to have a problem with anyone else.” “You could offer the job conditionally until Christmas and that would get us to the next revival.” “We could do another try out then if Helena’s not working out.” “Of course, that’s how we got Dale”, she added.
Elder Cheatum gave the secretary a wry grin. “Ok, I think we’re on the same page.”
The other two Elders returned announcing successful missions. Reverend Handbasket was overjoyed at having the commitment from the little church. Reverend Bread was on his way back to the church. Reverend Bread arrived a few minutes later. He did not take the news delivered by the church board of directors very well.
Reverend Bread’s employment was terminated immediately. He would received one month’s severance and any outstanding tithe overrides. His family was given one month to seek different accommodations. While his family would have the use of the church’s vehicles during this time, Reverend Bread was cautioned that the vehicles were not to leave Union county. The line of credit extended by the Hawker’s General Store would be extended for a month, but, it was not to be abused.
At the end of the meeting, Reverend Bread and Mulva Lite were both crying. Reverend Bread was crying hysterically. Under normal circumstances, the Elders would offer to give a ride, or call for a ride for one so bereaved. Neither option seemed viable as they would both result in the possibility of confronting their choir director, and the Elders had already experienced enough anguish for one evening. They would save her termination for the next day.
As Elder Cheatum left the parking lot he could see the young reverend sitting with his head between his legs on the front steps of the church. Mulva Lite sat beside him, patting him on the back. “Lord, what fools these mortals be”, he thought to himself as he continued into the pitch black night.