Church Hunting

It seems the worst thing a person could put themselves through, is the experience of church hunting.  Finding a place to call “Home”, and a church “Family” to be apart of.

Several things that stand out as you walk into a church, is the interior.
Where are your children going to be during service?   Is it easy to find?  How many hallways do you have to wind through before you find it?
Where are the restrooms?
Is there carpet?  Is there concrete?
Will your expensive cup of hot coffee have to cool in the car while you sit through over an hour of service?

The next thing people note, are the people.
They look friendly, but are they going to talk to you?  Is the church even small enough to know when there are guests?
Will the Greeters be the only people who make your acquaintance?  Will they care if you come back next Sunday?
Are you going to meet somebody genuinely interested in who you and your family are?
Will the person who told you you can’t have your coffee in service be the only person who reaches out to you?

And then you sit down, and service starts.
Why do churches spend so much money on a sound system, when no one knows how to use it?
Either the acoustics are too loud, or the sound is muddy, or you can’t hear the vocals…..
People around you worship God, oblivious to you and who you are.  Wrapped up in their moment– not even realizing you’re there for the first time.
Never taking the moment afterward to reach into your Life.

People don’t go to church to sit through service.  They go to find people who will connect with them and help them find the things they are looking for.
They come in, wanting to be poured into, and leave empty.
When the emptiness continues, time after time, eventually they stop trying to find something new.  They stop going altogether.

The “greeting” comes around.  Your hand might be shaken, you might be nodded at.

And then the pastor gets up.

Now, going into a non-denominational church presents several problems.

1) The pastor is waaaaay too Charismatic, and you sit through what feels like a televangelist service.  It includes prophetic “messages”, or escatology and “the end is upon us!”
((Which I believe is highly possible….. but not quite the same as they do))

2) The pastor starts mistranslating scripture, taking things out of context and pushing modern ideology instead of sound theology held strong through the ages.

3) The pastor goes into political moments and asks for the wrath of God to fall on our Nation’s leaders.  Also not biblical.

4) Prosperity preaching.

Non-denominational churches seem like they all spring out of the Pentecostal movement.  Where are the Spirit-led, Baptist background churches with sound theology, but openness to the Gifts?

5) Universalism

At any rate, it’s so hard to find what you’re looking for, when there are so many options….  and you’re tired of looking.

I’m tired of looking.
I’m tired of going to church, never being talked to.
I’m tired of going to church and only ever being talked to by the guy who tells you you can’t have your coffee in service.

The lack of friends in my Foresaken home in the High Plains becomes even more than obvious as our second child prepares to come into the world and we lack EVERYTHING for a little girl, because the first was a boy.

The lack of a church Family with people we can talk to as our life stands on the balance of Change, is also highly frustrating.
Man was not intended to be alone.  Even Jesus surrounded himself with friends.

Jesus was highly extroverted.  He was a natural people person and confident in who he was.
Unfortunately, mankind is not at all like Jesus.  And you walk into a new church and walk out of a new church still waiting to be reached into.

Writing Prompt: Rewrite a story in history

As the sun was setting over the village of London,Westminster Abbey chimed the hour.

One. Two. Three. Four….. Nehemiah Whipple squinted against the momentary beam of sunshine, concentrated through the spires of the church.

Suddenly, a howl rang out from the forest.

Six. Seven…

The eighth chime from the bells had been changed to alert the citizens to lock themselves in their homes.

Nehemiah, perched on the top of the London Wall, ducked down for cover.

Another howl, this time much closer.

He picked up his crossbow as quietly as possible, holding his breathe to sharpen his hearing.

Slowly, the wolf-creature stepped into the light. It sniffed the air, and howled again.

Fear threatened to over-take Nehemiah’s heart, he listened as it came closer to the city gate. The rustle of grass turned to the sound of gravel. Nehemiah prayed to God that it couldn’t smell him in his hiding place.

The sound of sniffing and snuffling was just below him now. The man almost cried in terror when the next howl ripped from just underneath his hiding place.

Recently, the threats of horrifying creatures had reached London. It happened to be around the same time the Puritans stepped forward and told the Church of England and the Holy leaders that they would not worship in any fashion, but that which they were convicted by God. King James was angered by this declaration, and saw to it that these “Puritans” were persecuted for their blatant disrespect to the Holy Church. Rumor had it that the Puritans were to blame for the appearance of these evil creatures.

Nehemiah Whipple was out to prove the rumors wrong, as he inhaled deeply, yet quietly, and then rose into a crouch position.

The beast was ugly. Much larger than a normal wolf, but with the appearance of a furry human body.

By the gods, what the hell is that? Nehemiah swallowed back a gasp before it could escape his throat.

Suddenly, Nehemiah was conflicted as to whether or not he should kill the beast, or tranquilize it in order to find out what kind of spell this creature was under.

Slowly passing through the gate, with it’s ears pinned back, the beast wandered over to old Farmer Tack’s sheep fence.

Running out of time before it fell into shadow again, Nehemiah placed the bolt, aiming for the beasts shoulder. Taking another deep breath and holding it, he sighted his aim, steadied his hand, and then let the bolt fly.

The beast went to the ground with a yelp.

Pleased with himself, Nehemiah waited to see what it would do next, before melting into the shadow of the wall and making his way down the stairs.

By the time Nehemiah had run to the beast it was sound asleep.

Sighing in relief, he studied the creature closer.

It’s paws were larger than normal, at least the size of his own hand, with sharp claws extending beyond the paw. It’s long, lean torso was very human like. It’s gray fur looked manged, falling out in large clumps. And it’s face was the most frightening thing of all. Though Nehemiah couldn’t see it’s eyes, he could only imagine they were just as vicious looking as it’s long sharp teeth. Fang-like, long teeth protruded from it’s snout on either side, and the rest of it’s teeth were embedded into inky black gums. The face was wide, like a cat’s, instead of long and narrow like normal dogs.

What kind of evil is this? The man asked himself, working to pick up the beast.

He had to take it to someone who would know what to do with him.

Branson Miller’s eyes went wide, “No! I refuse to have that thing wake up in my house.” He pointed at the door, “You get him out. The King will have our heads if he found us with the beast. We would be exiled for sure, or worse, King James might murder us all. He wouldn’t be proud of you for shooting it down, he would have proof to blame you for these things.”

“This is the proof that we didn’t bring the beasts.” Nehemiah laid the creature across the table.

Branson Miller not only worked as a veterinarian, he was one of few who supported the Puritans in their decision to do what they felt was right by God. He was also one of few who thought it quite ridiculous to blame the Puritans for the wolf outbreak.

“It will never work, and you know it.” Branson stepped slowly up to the table, his hands shaking violently, fearing that the beast would wake up at any moment.

Nehemiah met eyes with Branson, “It’s our only hope, Bran. If we don’t prove we didn’t bring cause the outbreak, we’ll be exiled for sure.”

Sighing heavily, Branson met eyes with Nehemiah, “I want to help you. I really do. But I can’t. If you think it’s going to work, then you take it to the King. Otherwise, forget this fool hardy idea, and please, for Christ sake, get this beast out of my home.” Branson’s eyes widened again, “I think it’s waking up.”

Sure enough, the beast began to writhe, as it came to life again, scratching at his shoulder with his massive paws.

The men screamed in terror, running from the house.

After the beast ransacked Branson’s home, it went in search for the scent of Nehemiah Whipple, ripping open doors and windows all around the town.

In the morning, when all had calmed down and the beast had been killed, as Branson had predicted, King James exiled the Puritans to Amsterdam.

The Ranger Of Severum: Episode 7

“These are rare artifacts.” The man squinted deeper, scrunching his nose as he pinched the manacle between his brow and cheek, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shinier gem.” He spun a large, blue gemstone slowly in the light of a candle.

“How much would you say it’s worth?” Yulissa asked with a smooth, nonchalant tone, sweeping her hand through her hair. She already knew how much it was worth. She casually leaned one hip against the counter, supporting her weight on her elbow.

Frowning deeply the shop keeper took the manacle from his eye, “Much more than I can afford to give you, but, we might settle on a fair price?” His comical appearance was enhanced as he twitched his white mustache under his large pointed nose, blinking once at her. He had a tuft of white hair brushed to one side crowning the top of his head, while the rest encircled the middle from ear to ear.

She heard him tapping his foot, and wondered briefly if it was a habit, or to hurry her decision along. Cupping her chin, she tapped at her jawline with her forefinger, “That sounds nice, but I’m almost certain I can get a better price at the docks.” She ran her fingers lightly over a golden pocket watch, beside of which was a pendant made from a dragon’s scale, a black pearl necklace, an elegant tea cup made from what appeared to be silver. Other things that had dropped out of her bag were shining golden pyramid-like dice, red, green and lavender gemstones, and finally a kerchief made of the finest silk.

His eyes went wide, under large white eyebrows, “The docks!” He exclaimed, “Now see here, little lady, I’m just as good as any merchant, and I can guarantee a good price.” He put a finger up, “I just can’t buy all of it right now, see?”

Nodding thoughtfully, Yulissa scanned over the items on the counter. Money wasn’t an issue, this last job she completed lined her pockets enough for the next five years. And if she was able to convince Trillian, a unique specimen indeed, to accompany her across the Realms, there would be enough money to live comfortably for the rest of her life. The task was simple really, all her clients wanted was the half-breed, alive and unscathed. This did come with a few complications since, after all, Trillian had been injured. She had it on good report, though, that Trillian was healing quickly.

Taking another sweeping gaze at the items sprawled on the counter, she finally spoke, “When would a buyer come though town to relieve you of these trinkets?”

“Let’s see, we’re half-way into the month,” he began calculating with his fingers, “In.. three weeks?” He looked quizzically at her, and then softened his expression, “If you would consider, I could give you half of the payment now, and the other half when they’re bought.”

That was too much time to linger in the Severum. She picked a few things bag up, securing them into her leather bag, “How about the cup, the watch, the silk piece, and the black pearls?”

The man calculated again with his fingers, and then scribbled a few things down on a piece of paper. After scratching at the top of his head, and then his chin a few times, he finally looked back at her, “Yes. That is acceptable.”

Yulissa could tell that he was some what distraught. Slowly, he counted the money out on the counter to her, first in notes, and then in coins.

Soon, the transaction was complete and Yulissa was finally free of the little shop, and the funny little man.

Clutching her leather pack tighter, the woman started back across the town to the inn she was staying at.

The village was gray and dismal. All of the buildings were made of gray stone, their roofs were shingled in dark slate, and the streets were nothing but black and gray mud.

In the past three weeks, Yulissa had learned more about Severum than she had ever wished. Sideon was an evil tyrant who had the nerve to call himself “Master Of The Severum”. He had rounded up the women and locked them up to serve as chambermaids. Next, he banished the children to the monasteries of Fargorath.

Things had not always been this way. Once, children roamed the streets, women were free to come and go at will, couples lived happily. The Severum was known for Peace and Protection, and it’s Rangers aided the people, always lending assistance as it was needed.

Quickening her step, Yulissa noticed the men eying her suspiciously, she hurried back to the safe quarters of her room.

There wasn’t a great deal of time left, she needed to talk to Trillian and convince him to leave with her as quickly as possible. The Realm Gate would be closing soon, and if she didn’t make it, she’d be trapped in Langoria for a year. Of all the realms, this was most certainly the last she’d consider for touring.

After making sure her treasures were safely secured, she decided it was time to go to the Severum and find Trillian.