Though this is definitely outside of what I normally write, I’ve decided to publish a novella entitled “The Church.” From Nov. 30 to Dec. 15, I will be publishing the work of fiction in 15 parts. Each day, I will publish a part of the story of Christian and his quest to plant the largest progressive church in the world. I will publish the entire work at the end. Today, I’m publishing part 1 entitled “The Drive.” Enjoy!
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that town.” -Matthew 10:14
The highway sun played tricks. What was I thinking? I guess I wasn’t. Just when everyone got used to who I am in Jefferson, Mississippi, I had to up and go on a damn crusade. Riding in that car, I prayed for God to guide me. When I considered the guidance was presently leading to Texas, I started to reconsider the whole praying business. Truthfully, a hot plate of seafood was all I believed in at the present moment. When I sat down at the only restaurant in all of Molasses, Louisiana, there was no way that I could’ve known what was next.
The waitress approached the table and tipped her breasts while taking my drink order. While a little sidetracked, I managed to tell her that I would take a glass of sweet tea. Before leaving the table, she told me her name was Mary and asked, “What do you do?” I guess my satchel gave away that I was heading somewhere for something. “I’m a preacher,” I replied. Mary blurted out, “God told me you were coming!!!” Mary raced over to the kitchen door. The first time I noticed that there was a bell on the wall she was ringing it. I hadn’t noticed how many people were in the restaurant. Feeling the Spirit and climbing the counter, Mary declared at the top of her lungs, “We’ve got a preacher ready to preach in the house tonight!” I couldn’t believe my ears. I resisted. Then the entire restaurant started begging me to offer a few words. I obliged. Letting out a fart that I prayed no one heard, I climbed up there with Mary and started preaching. That short sermon was unforgettable.
“Jesus was an interesting guy wasn’t he? The more I read about Jesus the more I question how I was raised. Honestly, I doubt our part of the country would’ve liked Jesus too much. While we’re running around trying to keep gay marriage from happening, we are forgetting that Jesus ran around in a skirt with a bunch of men. We shouldn’t even need to have all these conversations about sexuality. The Bible is pretty clear that Jesus was gay. I guess all this gives new meaning to Jesus declaring his love for the world? Do you know what I mean?”
I’d gotten so into the preaching that I hadn’t looked up the entire time. When I finally did, I realized that someone was choking on a piece of fried shrimp on the other side of the restaurant. What I assumed to be the man’s wife screamed, “Leroy! LeRoY! LEROY!!!” One of the cooks darted out of the kitchen and gave the old guy the heimlich maneuver. That piece of shrimp flew clean across the room and landed on my shoe. The manager looked at me and yelled, “You almost killed him with that crazy ass shit. Here, take these pieces of bread and two fish. Don’t be coming round here no more! You understand?” People have always told me that I don’t have a proper understanding of place. Regardless, I shook the dust off of my feet and told them that they could all just kiss the rainbow flag on my bumper. I thought it was a damn good sermon.
I ended up sleeping in my car. I guess I was too afraid of encountering another town like Molasses. The yellow lights of the gas station were mesmerizing. I slept so hard until someone banged on my window. A man with an erect penis coming out of his zipper stood at my door with a smile on his face. I rolled down the window slightly and asked, “May I help you?” “Are you Max?” “No, I’m Christian.” “Oops…sorry to bother you…I was just looking for Max. This is a really popular spot for hook ups and I saw your rainbow flag and well I…I…You wouldn’t want to do anything would you?” “No!!!” I cranked up the car and drove off as fast as I could. What in the hell just happened? I will never forget the image of that erect man in my rearview. I couldn’t think about all that shit…God was calling me to Texas.
The miles quickened and before I knew it…I saw the sign. “Everything is bigger in Texas.” After a hell of a trip, I was finally here. Pulling over, I knelt down beside the sign to pray. I knew God called me to pastor a church plant and by God I was going to do it. When a tough looking dude pulled over to ask me what I was doing, I figured that it was time for me to get back into the car.
I only stopped once more. I had to. Everyone always told me about this place called Bullseye’s. The joint did not disapoint. With over 50 gas pumps and a convenient store as big as any grocery store, I was in heaven. As I put my mouth under the frozen drink machine and turned it on, I didn’t count the cost. I called the property management company to let them know I was on my way. Before I got to my new apartment, I started to feel my stomach quake. Upon arrival, I ran to the toilet as fast as I could. I jumped onto the seat and let out the biggest shit I’d ever experienced. When I finished, I walked into the living room to be greeted by Tom from the management company. I must have missed him on the rush in. Due to the smell and theatrics of it all, Tom looked as if he was in toxic shock. Through it all, Tom maintained his composure and gave me all of the information I needed. I couldn’t wait to try out the pool. Before he left, I let him know that I was here to plant a church.