Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bookfield, Devils

Once, while selling books in a neighborhood bordering on the University of Georgia campus I came upon a house of devoutly religious Christians. I spoke with the lady of the house, who bought my lie about being saved, hook, line and sinker. But, like many of the devout, she did not trust the books I had as non-denominational. She spoke to me one on one as a fellow Christian and tried to explain why the books would have no use for her. She belonged to a small church on the edge of town with a congregation of thirty or so souls. They believed that they were the only Christians on earth that would truly be saved when the apocalypse came. I asked her why she thought God would ignore all of the other faithful Christians in the world and only save thirty souls.

“Because ours is the only church that understands the scriptures...” she declared, and she went into a biblical discussion that did not seem rational or understandable to me.

My next question was going to be how she could be sure that somewhere else on earth there wasn’t another church with a similar understanding as hers, but I deferred. I was tiring of the charade and just wanted to move on. No way was she going to buy a book. Her monologue on the apocalypse went on and on, and at one point told her that I really had to go.

She insisted on giving me, good Christian that I was, a warning. She wanted to protect my soul from the devil. “The devil has minions of servants and one of them lives on the corner of this very block. At all costs, she warned, avoid the white house on the corner. The devil living there could twist your Christian soul and you could be lost to Christ forever.”

I nodded and thanked her for the advice. She kept such a serious face on. She was not kidding. I couldn’t have been more curious after that. But, I continued selling to the houses in order; I would get to the ‘devil’s’ house in turn. Usually, I zig-zagged across the street from house to house to cover each street completely so as not have to double back. As I worked my way down the street I wondered to myself, would the devil buy a health book?

Finally I came to the corner house in question. I knocked on the door and stood back the requisite three paces so as not to intimidate Mrs. Sommer, or should I say, Madam Satan? She looked ordinary enough when she came to the door, brown hair and eyes; she looked like a typical housewife to me. So I proceeded with my approach in my most practiced drawl. “Hi there, Mrs. Sommer, my name is Susan Fairview and I’ve been calling on all of the church folks in the neighborhood. Just wanted to come by and see you. Y’all do go to some local church don’t you?”

She looked stunned and said, “That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard. How can you stand there on my doorstep and utter that ridiculous come on? What nerve, I mean really, how can you live with yourself?”

She did not slam the door. She stood quietly to see what my reaction would be. But I was overwhelmed, not by what she said, but how she said it. It was that distinct Long Island Jewish accent.

“You’re from Long Island!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, but how did you know?” she said looking shocked.

“Because I’m from Nassau County!”

“Me too!” she replied.

And so it turned out that the devil was from the same county as I was. I dropped the accent as best I could; boy it had totally fooled her. She let me in and I told her how I came to be at her doorstep that day. Her husband was a professor at the University. They had just moved there recently and were having a little trouble adjusting to the Christian atmosphere in town. We swapped stories and reminisced for about an hour. It sure was nice to see someone from home.


Anonymous said...

it never ceases to amaze me that so many "christians" are so judgemental; and judgment is not exactly what christ supposedly espoused at all. sometimes the most godless are the most tolerant. go figure.



Sue said...

Yup! What ever happened to, "we are all God's children"?

brenton said...

I come across a wide range of Christians. My closest friend in the world is the most non-judgemental, try and see the best in everyone, kind of Christian. She embodies what Christianity SHOULD be to me...

Sue, can you email me? I can never reply to your comments, because you post anonymously!

Sue said...

Thank you Brenton. I agree that Christians should be inclusive and tolerant. Will be in touch.

Ryan said...

i could go on and on about christians and i have on my blog right up 2 them asking mom and dad 2 send me away 2 be fixed. like i was broke or something.

Sue said...

Ryan, my heart goes out to you. You are beautiful just as you are honey. Some 'Christians' really don't deserve the title at all do they? BTW - I read your blog every day!

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Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. »