Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Pastor: Beyond the Incipit

The pastor had it all:

The church, a mid-rise Tower of Babel
A mansion on the lake
A private jet
A trophy wife
Exotic cars

He had amassed this great fortune through his evangelical teachings. He had imbued his followers with the, once, radical notion that God rewards “believers” with wealth, which he called “prosperity gospel”.

And so, the fall from grace was that much the harder.

Church collections were massive;
the money seemed endless.
But the church had a large mortgage.
Finances were murky.
Questions were asked:
What happened to the money?

The fall was sudden:

Divorce
Depression
Pills
Alcohol
DUI charges

The pastor had his critics.
But his flock was loyal.
He was once high among them and now he was mortal.
And this endeared him to them.

After rehab, the pastor returned to the church.
He announced his sermon:  The Redemption, Restoration and Resurrection.

The sermon was planned as a testament to hope.
His flock was gleeful, their prayers were answered.
There was great anticipation.
There would be inspiration.
Thousands would come to listen.

True to his word, the pastor preached about the path to Redemption:

We all know of the sins of pride, envy and greed.
We must cleanse ourselves of these sins.
We must bury the past.
And look to the future.
We can do this together.
We can succeed.

The Pastor then spoke of the way to Restoration:

Now… we all know the church is just a symbol.
But the church is our foundation.
It is our home.
It is our sanctuary.
We must not allow ourselves and our church to, once again, fall from grace.

And, the Pastor ended with an admonition for the Resurrection:

I need you look deep into your hearts.
We must do this for the church.
Reach down deep into your pockets, as we pass the plate.  
After all, we have the mortgage to pay.

And they gave; and his Resurrection was complete.
________

Author’s note: This story was based on newspaper accounts.
________

I wrote this for the Trifecta Writing Challenge Week 42, where we are to write a 33-333 word composition using the word, “radical”, in the context of an extreme point of view.

Your comments are appreciated.




34 comments:

  1. All too common a story with the mega churches - but you forgot the sex scandal :-) Good writing

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    1. Thank you Steven. He already seemed to have his share of vices, so I thought I didn't need to pile on. Who knows? Maybe he just kept that part a secret.

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  2. Nice to see you come back to this one! Doesn't sound like he learned a thing, but isn't that so often the case.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Annabelle. I think he learned how to raise some quick money! ;)

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  3. You hit the nail on the head with this one. Nicely done.

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    1. Thank you Kelly. I enjoyed writing this.

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  4. The three R's and he's got them eating out of his hand again! They're in this together, right? Luckily it happened to come back around around full circle...for him ;-)

    You told this tale very smartly and I loved the formatting. It definitely added to the feel of your piece. Great job!

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    1. Thank you Gina. Yes, it seems like the pastor and his flock are repeating the cycle. It amazes me, but I think almost everyone is happy he's back.

      Thanks for noticing the formatting. It took almost as long to arrange this piece as I took to write it!

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  5. Very good. There was alot of truth in this.

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  6. Wow! You really did hit the nail on the head. It's sad that some pastors get this way. I love how it came full circle at the end.

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    1. Thank you Flippa. That's the sad truth, it seems that most of the congregation are ok with his lavish spending. Also, glad to see you participating. I'll be by your site soon.

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  7. I remember this story from a prompt you did a while back...glad you expanded on it. Pastors like this ruin the reputations of honest ones out there. I'd like to think there are many more honest ones than crooked ones like this one.

    Now who do I make the check out to? ;)

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    1. Strange as it seems, I don't think he did anything illegal. But he definitely makes it harder for the others. Thanks Janna. Oh, yeah, make the check out to Lumdog! ;)

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  8. Well put together. I like how you link the two parts. I especially enjoyed the first. (RogRites)

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    1. Thank you Rog. The structure was a big part of how I wanted to convey the story.

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  9. seemed like he decided to stay down once he fell. it was interesting the point you made of him being more 'endearing' to the congregation when he became 'mortal'.

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    1. Yes, that's the most puzzling aspect of this. From the quotes in the newspaper, many members of the church were ok that he lived so well off the church. Thank you for your comments Renada.

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  10. Nicely done. I like the structure. Some of us refuse to learn from our past mistakes. The lure of fame and money is strong. You conveyed that beautifully.

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    1. Yeah, the fame and money is a powerful draw. Thanks for your kind words Stephanie.

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  11. Evidently a pastor with charisma. Quite a story.

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  12. Ha Lumdog! Tale as old as time and you told it very well indeed!

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  13. I love the format. Nicely written. Once again, you've impressed me.

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  14. That this story is so true to life, that there are 'pastors' who are so ruthlessly greedy, is sad.

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    1. Yeah. Very sad. But I wonder why people accept it. Thanks for your comments Tara.

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  15. You have such a gift with the flow of your words. It always leaves me a little spellbound. I liked that you were inspired by a news story for this. Radical, indeed!

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    1. Wow! Thank you for such kind words! I'm glad you liked the flow. As a musician, I think about the rhythm of my writing, which I think, equates to the flow in non musical terms.

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  16. I love the term prosperity gospel. Where do I sign up? Thanks for joining us again this week. Be sure to come on back soon.

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  17. Puts me in the mind of Rush Limbaugh or else that glass church somewhere that I can't remember. Extremely well done. Amazing how "fool me once / fool me twice" doesn't seem to apply.

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    1. Jessie, thank you so much. I think the glass church you are thinking of is the Crystal Cathedral.

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