Monday, September 28, 2015

Think Tales - Contemporary Parables

Think Tales
Contemporary Parables
by Douglas Christian Larsen

© Copyright 2011 Douglas Christian Larsen. Think Tales - Contemporary Parables All Rights Reserved by the Author. No part of this book may be reproduced (except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews) or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the publisher, Wolftales UNlimited. This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.

Think Tales — Contemporary Parables

ISBN: 978-1-257-12183-0


To those that love thinking,
and parables, and storytelling,
and especially to those that
love it most when all of
these things come together.
Douglas Christian Larsen, Author

Green Adventurers

Five men in a rubber dinghy with the motto “Greenpeace” emblazoned on the side raced toward the oil slick along the shoreline where Eskimos valiantly attempted to rescue slimy, oily baby seals. The bold, handsome man at the front of the dinghy, peering through powerful binoculars, whispered beneath his breath: “God help those poor heathen!”
      The second man, peering over the first man’s shoulder, started, and then spoke in a low voice directly into the first man’s ear: “Hey, are you a…um, Christian?”
      The first man smiled and kept his voice soft as he answered, “Yes, I am, but I try to keep it quiet. You know, that disclaimer we had to sign about not sharing our faith?”
      “Yes,” answered the second man, “it was tough to sign, and I hate to admit it, but I don’t think I can live up to it. I feel compelled in my spirit man to share my faith with those poor pagans dancing on the beach. That’s the whole reason I came.”
      “Amen, Brother,” the first man returned, smiling broadly, you share the same inclination with me! With two of us, we’ll be more than twice as strong.”
      “A cord with three strands is not easily broken,” said the third man, speaking not so softly, reaching out his arms to clasp the shoulders of either men seated before him. “Looks like there are three of us apostate Greenpeacers racing toward that beach and those unsaved children of the damned.”
      “Make that four,” said the fourth man, laughing. “I thought I was the only one deceitful enough to join Greenpeace all for the purpose of bringing the Good News to the wicked!”
      “We are of one accord,” said the fifth man, slowing the engine of the rubber dingy to give the fellowship a greater few moments to sing praises before the Lord. “A mighty thing shall happen today, my Brothers! We shall wrest the unclean from the clasp of Satan!”
      The five men felt the anointing of God upon them, the storehouse of Heaven releasing its showers of blessings, and for a few moments all the fish in the area were scared away by shouts of “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!” and “Praise God!” and “The gates of hell shall not prevail against us!”
      The first man, half-turned in his seat, smilingly exclaimed: “Before noon I hope to have most of them Eskimos baptized in the frigid waters, and we can go extra fast and cover extra territory with five of us baptizing those filthy children of the devil!”
      Silence in the dinghy, which now sat dead in the water. The faint cries of the Eskimos striving valiantly on the beach barely reached the men.
      “Excuse me?” said the second man. “Did you say baptize? And I take it you mean, like in, um, WATER?”
      “Of course. Shall we gather at the river, you know? We are going to dunk them for Jesus!”
      “Baptist?” four voices harmonized as one.
      “Certainly,” the first man said, looking a little wary, “Aren’t we all? You know the old saying: If you know your Bible, you must be a Baptist!”
      “See,” said the second man, “we don’t want to turn these poor savages off with legalism, all your formal mumbo jumbo, religiosity, and old-school rituals. We need to get the Holy Spirit into these unsaved wretches, they need a fire baptism. Wretches need the second blessing! Before we’re done today, Friends, I want them evil creatures transformed into children of God, I went to be sons of God — no, more, they are going to be little-g gods themselves and speaking with new tongues!”
      “Oh Great, oh how wonderful — a Charismatic!” said the Baptist, slapping a hand over his face.
      “Oh. Boy. Oh boy oh boy,” said the other three men, in unison, almost like a choir, almost in harmony, all of them scooting toward the back of the dinghy.
      “I know he’s a Baptist,” the Charismatic said, “but you three guys are all Charismatic, aren’t you? Or…at least…Pentecostal! Please? Please?”
      “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness,” the third man said, “and I’m sorry to tell you, you BOTH are in apostate forms of Christianity. You don’t really know Jehovah, not at all.”
      “Let’s not fight,” the fourth man said, calmly, very calmly, “And you, too, are in apostate Christianity, well, not even really Christianity!” he continued, speaking with agape love to the Jehovah’s Witness. “None of you even have this book!” he concluded, displaying several shiny new copies of the Book of Mormon, offering them with love to the other men.
      The three men at the front of the boat groaned. Then the four men turned in one accord to regard the fifth man at the very back of the raft.
      “WELL?” Four men said as one, viewing the fifth man with open hostility.
      The fifth man closed his eyes and prayed: “Heavenly Father. And Our Most Precious Mother Mary, Perpetual Virgin. I am adrift in this vessel with four apostate children from Thy One Universal Church, including a Legalist, a Nut, and two Cultists. I pray that Thou dost open their foul ears to thy Catholic Truth, and open their deceived eyes, and speak Holy words through their filthy lips so that we might capture more territory for Thy Body, Lord. Amen.”
      The fifth man then opened his eyes, unbuttoned his top shirt button and revealed his clerical collar. He said sweetly: “Confession, anyone?”
      Dead silence in the boat.
      Before it was over, before the end came, a lot of things were said, and anger grew. Only truth could be told.
      Not your truth, but my truth.
      Only the Gospel should go out, not your false Gospel.
      Only Jesus should be preached, but not your other Jesus as he is another Jesus.
      Not your god, but my God.
      Wolf in sheep’s clothing!
      False shepherd!
      Servant of Satan!
      When the rubber dinghy with “Greenpeace” emblazoned upon the side finally drifted close enough to the shore, three men waded out through the oil slick and guided the craft up onto the beach. The people on the beach gathered around the dinghy and sadly stared upon its contents.
      “More Christians come to secretly share their faith?” one of the men asked.
      “I wish they knew about the seven different Christian churches we already have here,” another man said.
      “Eight,” helped another person, “you’re forgetting about the Non-denominational church in the old building that used to be a Skidoo repair shop.”
      “Don’t forget the Christian hospital,” chimed in another.
      “It’s sad, because we could have used some help with the poor baby seals,” another said. “Isn’t that what Greenpeace is all about? Helping people? Helping the environment?”
      “Better call Greenpeace. It’s a pretty good rubber dinghy, looks almost new,” said an old woman.
      “I recognize it,” said a man with glasses. “Last month it floated ashore with a Presbyterian, an Adventist, an Anglican, and two Pentecostals. I still see the bloodstains.”
      “Oh yeah, one Pentecostal with tongues and one without,” agreed a teenager. “What a shame!”
      “Think we ought to pray for these poor, um, brothers?” a young woman queried, tears in her eyes.
      “I doubt they would appreciate it,” said another person. “Unless we could agree on the style of prayer. And to who, or, Who?”
      “I think you mean Whom,” contributed another very helpful person.
      “Let’s pray for them anyway,” suggested a child. “God won’t mind!”
      And, joining hands, they did.
      They prayed.
      “Dear Lord Jesus,” the child prayed, “please help people to know what You meant when you talked about judging. Help them to know that only You know their hearts, our hearts. That we and they can’t tell the difference between the weeds and the wheat. Please forgive them, Father, for they don’t really know what they’re doing, do they?
      “How come they never do? Please help them to get the telephone poles out of their eyes so that they can help us with the speck in our eyes.
      “Help them to learn how to pray, so that You can change them, help them, lead them out of the dark where they are so afraid, into the light, Your light. Help them to know that talking about You and Your way is not the same thing as DOING Your Word, keeping Your commandments.
      “Help them to know that they have to change, really, not just pretend to change, before they can help anybody else change.
      “Please help them to learn that hating and loving aren’t the same thing.
      “In Your Name, Jesus, we pray, amen.”
      “Amen,” all agreed.


I watched. I mean, come on, I didn’t want to watch them, but here they were, sitting directly across from me, at my picnic table, right out in the open. I mean, you think you should be safe from such things, in the middle of the day, right out in the open of any city in the world, taking your lunch break, you shouldn’t have to witness such disgusting things. Should you? But here they were, sitting right across from me, getting ready to commit abomination before the Lord (and in front of me too, for that matter).
      Ted and Fred. You all know them. Come on, everyone knows them, don’t they? Aren’t they just out and about, literally everywhere these days? Pushing their agenda?
      And do you know what really got to me? Even more than what they were, what they were doing out in the open, was the fact that they were “talking God!”
      Yeah. Seriously.
      They were saying “Jesus” and “The Lord” and “blessings,” and here they were doing their foul deed. I almost vomited. That’s what this world has come to, men can openly do what God calls abomination. Come on, God says it in many places — He actually says He’s coming back to kill these foul miscreants — and yet they think they are “Saved,” that they “have a relationship with Jesus,” and a “conversion story/” they call it their “testimony,” and seriously believe that they are going to heaven.
      Ted: “I can hardly wait.”
      Fred: “Me too. Oh goody!”
      I had watched them come walking across the grass from the Piggy Porker Deli, swinging their fancy lunch sacks, each of them greasy with fries, a big ole cola in their hands, and I knew them for what they were, immediately. Of course, they would have to plunk their plump backsides down at my table. I mean I come here every day to eat my lunch, grab some peace, spend some good clean spiritual time with God while I eat, and now THIS.
      Ted: “We trying Ranch dressing today?”
      Fred: “Oh yeah, we are! Pardner, gidd-I-say-gidd-ee-UP!”
      And they giggled.
      Doing that, they actually giggled.
      My stomach grumbled.
      They looked at me.
      Really, the effrontery. Right up front about it. The effrontery.
      Audacious, impertinent creeps. Then one of them did it, something I never expected. He talked to me. He actually looked me right in the eyes and talked to me.
      “Would you like to join us?” Ted asked with his big horsey smile.
      “No!” I snapped. Good night! Join them? Actually, I more squeaked than snapped. I mean, did I actually look like someone who wanted to…join...THEM?
      I was well on my way to freaking out.
      “It’s good,” Fred swore, grinning his malicious, slimy sneer. “You’ll like it.”
      “No!” Ted butted in. “You will utterly love it. I can promise you that. And I should know what I’m talking about.”
      Before I could protest or declare my innocence, he actually took it out, seriously, and waved it at me. The bile rose up in my throat and I trembled with outrage.
      “Put that away!” I snarled. Was he trying to tempt me? Did he think I was like HIM?
      “Just open your mouth,” Fred laughed, “just try a little, we can promise you will never go back!”
      “We both have so much,” Ted swore, “and as much as we love it, there’s way too much for even us. We need to pull you in, you know, convert you. You’d be doing us a huge favor if you’ll join in! Hey, it’s a feast!”
      I swallowed hard. “What you guys are doing is an abomination. The Bible condemns it. And if this country ever gets back to being a Christian Nation, guys like you will be taken out and stoned!”
      My body shook. I was seething. I hadn’t planned to deliver a sermon. I hadn’t planned on yelling. But they just had to go and try and tempt me, with that. My voice growled. The nerve, the unblushing pride of these two!
      “Oh, come on already!” snapped Fred, losing all his sense of boyish charm. “Get off your high horse! You’re no better than us, oh thou holier than thou!”
      “Yeah,” Ted chimed in, literally sneering at me. “You, my friend, are a legalist!”
      “Yeah,” from Fred. “We’re not under the Law!”
      “You think that doesn’t matter, that you’re not under the Law? Don’t you know what being under the Law means?” I asked them, shocked.
      “Of course we know,” they said as one.
      “But, but, but,” I stammered, staring at them in amazement. “Both of you are...PREACHERS!”
      “That’s right, we know the Scriptures!”
      “You can trust us!”
      “The Bible Alone!”
      “But what you’re doing,” I pleaded with them, “is a sin. It is a SIN. God declared it a sin! What, do you think He changed His mind?”
      “Silly,” Fred said, going on with what he was doing, his mouth all greasy and slimy. “Don’t you know that Jesus nailed His Law to the cross?”
      “And without Law,” said Ted, “There is no sin!”
      I couldn’t believe it. I almost fainted.
      And they gobbled. Their paper bags were ripped, french fries were strewn literally everywhere, and they just went at it, munching, biting, chewing, slobbering, like two disgusting animals that don’t know any better. And as they ate they kept saying “how good it was” and that I “just didn’t know what I was missing!”
      I didn’t want to know, let me tell you that. I was about to get up and stomp away when Ted reached across a greasy hand and seized my wrist.
      “Jesus declared this clean!” Ted burped.
      “So did Peter,” Fred said, talking with his mouth full.
      I expected a lightning bolt to strike at any moment. I had to get away from them, because what if it was spreading? What if by being next to these two disgustingly immoral men, I too was infected? What if I started wanting what they wanted? Me, who never dreamed of wanting such a thing?
      What if it was like a virus, or like an infestation of worms?
      “God says He’s coming back to destroy people who are doing what you are doing!” I told them, quoting from Isaiah 66. It was so clear. How could they do what they were doing, openly, without fear of God’s wrath?
      “That’s the Old Testament,” Ted said, grinning.
      “Yep, and we do mean OLD,” Fred agreed.
      They both had THINGS sticking out from between their teeth. I almost imagined the things wriggling. Crawling in and out. How did the old kiddy chant go?

      The worms crawl in,
      the worms crawl out,
      in your tummy and
      out your mouth!

      Gruesome. Morbid. Foul. Unclean. Filthy.
      If God declares it “abomination” in His Holy Word, can it be wrong? Does God change His mind? Did God just not understand, and backpedal. Is the Bible riddled with errors?
      I didn’t hate these two guys, as foul as they were. I loved them, really (okay, so not in THAT way). I wanted to help them.
      “In Isaiah 66 it says they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations,” I said, very gently, with love.
      “That’s the Law, that’s what it’s talking about, and we’re not under the Law!” they said, as one, then looked at each other, comically, and then they both burst into giggles.
      “Preach it brother!” Ted said.
      “Glow ray, glow ray, glow ray,” Fred said, and it took me a couple of puzzled seconds to realize he was saying “glory” in some other language. It must be what I’d heard about: “TV speak.” I shuddered.
      The Lord spoke to my heart, and the Holy Spirit gave me the words to speak, straight from the Bible, straight from Isaiah, the same book and chapter I’d been pleading from only seconds before, but now I spoke with authority and boldness, my memory flawless:

      For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
      Isaiah 66:15-18

      Ted blinked, and a big chunk of meat fell out of his mouth. But seeing his distress, Fred slapped him between the shoulder blades.
      “You are soooooooooo lost,” Fred said, looking across the table at me. “You can’t read His Word, not like us. To you it is just mish-mash. You pick and choose. But Ted and I aren’t under the Law. To us there is no sin. You can quote your little bible all day long, it won’t matter to us.”
      “No sir, it won’t,” Ted said.
      “Plus, plus, plus,” Fred said, blinking his eyes rapidly, stuttering up a storm, “There’s Peter, and his vision, and Peter was head of the church, don’t forget, don’t you forget that! Peter knows, and we know Peter.”
      “Peter interpreted his vision,” I said, sighing loudly. “Peter said his vision was about the Gentiles, that it was okay to go to them, to sit with them, that the death of Jesus had cleansed even them. Peter interpreted his vision for us!”
      “Well,” Ted said, “he did a purty poor job of it, didn’t he?”
      “That’s right,” said Fred. “We are more enlightened. We know better than them old Bible dudes, don’t we Ted? Sheesh, that Peter. He always got it wrong!”
      “Yeah, they’re dead,” Ted said. “Those old guys. They’re dead. We have the spirit and don’t need all that law stuff.”
      “The Bible says that whatever we do here on Earth, it is done in heaven, and we have declared this A-okay, okay?” said Fred.
      “Don’t you know the Good News?” Ted said. “The Good News is we can eat anything we want.”
      “I’ll give a big AMEN to that, Ted,” said Fred.
      I had never met two men so carnal as these. They were all about the flesh, the Gospel of Flesh, these two “preachers.”
      “But Romans 14:17 says that the Kingdom of God is not about eating meat,” I said, thinking that despite their carnality, I might yet break through and get them to think.
      Ted actually put his fingers in his ears. “Ain’t tryin’ t’heah dat!” he said, thinking he was funny.
      “Stop judging us,” said Fred, throwing a french fry at me.
      “Yeah, what’s up with that?” Ted said. “You’re no better than us. None of us is perfect. Just do your best and let God do the rest!”
      Just as they were finishing their ham sandwiches, Ted and Fred caught sight of something so terrible it nearly caused them to choke.
      “Look at THAT!” they shouted as one.
      I turned and saw two men walking across the lawn toward the Piggy Porker Deli. And they were holding hands. One man had on what looked like a pink “chemise” on his brawny bare arms.
      “That is disgusting,” said Fred.
      “Absolute abomination,” Ted said.
      “God hates it, and so should we,” said Fred.
      “No, God hates THEM, and so should we,” Ted said.
      “Come on, let’s follow them, see if they do anything horrible, maybe we can reach them, you know, preach some Law at them?” said Fred.
      “You coming, Jed?” Ted said.
      I said no. Decidedly no. Hypocrites. The nerve. What absolute hypocrites. Ham on their breath, and they’re after the others. What stuff and nonsense.
      “Come on,” said Fred, “You’re wasting your time with Jed, in his sins he’s dead.”
      Ted started jogging to catch up with Fred. He looked over his shoulder at me for one last sneer.
      “Legalist!” he called back at me.
      I watched as the two carnal men followed the other two men into the Piggy Porker Deli. I shook my head. They were all so lost. It was sad.
      Just then a leggy brunette in too-tight jeans walked by my table. I swallowed hard, rose, and followed her. What could it hurt? You know, I’d just walk behind her for a while. Take in the sights?
      What could a wee bit of wishful thinking hurt? At least God never called looking at a woman in tight jeans, um, abomination, um, did He? (What can it hurt, as long as my wife doesn’t find out?) Plus God is sovereign, right?
      He can change His mind anytime He wants to.
      Hey, none of us is perfect. I have it on pretty good authority.

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