Friday, December 22, 2006

Real Live Preacher -- Gordon Atkinson

So that's what he looks like!

RLP is now vlogging.

I remember seeing the famous Dr. Karl Haas once in person. Her emerged from a door at the front of the church were he was about to speak and perform, a gnome of a man, looking even older than he sounded on the radio.

His first words were, "That's alright. I didn't know what you looked like, either."

Before I forget, go read the Preacher's dramatization of a scene from the New Testament.

It was Jesus who suggested they get away for a few days. He thought the south side of the Sea of Galilee might be nice.

Peter pulled him aside.

“It won’t work.”

Jesus tilted his head a little and said, “What do you mean?”

“Trying to get away from people. It won’t work.”

“Why not?”

“Because of who you are. I’m not saying I know who youare, because I haven’t figured that out yet. But everyone wants something from you. Those who are sick think you can heal them. Others want to hear you teach and speak. It’s the way you do things, something about it. Even the ones who don’t like you are curious enough to come for a look.”

Jesus put the pad of his thumb in his mouth and sucked on it gently. Then he chewed his thumb as his eyes traveled down Peter’s robe to his sandals and back up again to his eyes.

“Hmm” was what he said, and he dragged the word out for several seconds.

“Let’s try it anyway.”

They got into a boat and headed out into the center of the Sea of Galilee. The weather was horrible and caused them great distress and trouble, but eventually they reached the other side. The waterlogged disciples leapt out of the boat and dragged it up onto the shore.

This land was as unfamiliar to them as if they had landed on another continent. None of them had been there before, but they had heard legends of the barbaric, Gerasene Gentiles that populated the south shore. They could have landed anywhere up and down a five-mile strip of shoreline. Unfortunately, they pulled ashore within sight and smell of a large herd of pigs that were grazing on a hill with a steep slope that led down to the water. No one said anything, but most of the disciples looked over at the pigs and took no trouble to hide their disgust.

“Okay, that’s just sickening. Look at them. Wallowing, filthy beasts. Why would anyone eat them?”

Peter was tying the boat to a large rock. He said, “Oh they love pigs in these parts. Love to eat em. Yum, yum. They eat snakes too, or so I hear. Snakes on a stick. The people are civilized enough though; occasionally the women wear tops. And take heart, it’s rumored that they bathe at least once a month.”

The others burst into raucous laughter, and even Jesus smiled in spite of himself. Peter had such a funny way of saying things. Then his face got serious, and he said, “Okay guys, knock it off. Be nice. People are people, wherever you go.”

“Check it out,” said Andrew, motioning toward a wild grove of scrubby trees and bushes. “Welcoming committee.”

About a hundred feet away a man in rags lurched out of the bushes. He seemed to have been heading for the shore, but he stopped when he saw Jesus and the disciples standing beside the boat. He stood staring at them, swaying slightly. He was twitching the fingers of his right hand and talking to himself. His head moved with a funny, jerking motion.

“He’s a big sonuvabitch, idn’t he?” said Phillip. He reached into the boat and laid his hand on a hook that was used to pull in large fish.

The man started walking toward them. Phillip tightened his hand on the hook. Andrew reached into the boat and pulled an oar close to the side.

As the man came closer, they could see that he was indeed very tall, close to six feet. Powerful muscles flexed beneath the rips and shreds of the rags he was wearing. He was carrying a large bone that had a chunk of unidentifiable meat clinging to it. Flies were buzzing all around him.
James, who was standing near the front with Jesus, turned around and said, “That’s nice. That’s what you wanna see. I know, let’s go to the south shore of Galilee and get our heads beaten in by a lunatic who uses a bloody bone for a club. Remind me to vacation with you fellas more often.”

“Shhhh,” hissed Jesus, for the man had drawn close.

He stood about 25 feet away, watching them. Then he tilted back his head and let out a mournful and twisting wail. It was deep and guttural, but it had a sharp edge to it as well, almost a scraping kind of sound. It was the most frightening and inhuman voice any of them had ever heard. The man raised the bone above his head. The little swarm of flies followed the meat upward and buzzed around it furiously. He began to whirl his horrific weapon around in a threatening manner.

The disciples out front instinctively moved back into the edge of the water near the boat. But Jesus shocked them all by walking toward the man with bold, unafraid steps. The man whirled the bone faster. His face had a strange look to it. He was not angry or afraid. He looked like a wild animal seeing something it had never seen before. His eyes showed no spark of intelligence or emotion.

Jesus walked right up to him and shouted in a very loud and authoritative voice. The sound of it startled all of the disciples. Andrew pulled the oar out of the boat and held it in front of him, trembling.

“Daimon Beelzebul, hear the sound of my voice. It is an ancient sound and you know it well. I command you in the name of the Lord God Most High to come out of this man at once!”

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