IT’S A NOVEL WITH A MESSAGE: OUR UNITY IS IN CHRIST; NOT THE BALLOT BOX.
April 7th, Saturday, The Indian Ocean
Clyde’s report of Dale’s speaking engagements went with me in my suitcase. I was taking my annual holiday, this year to the Noonu Atoll in the Republic of Maldives. It is an Indian Ocean resort which caters to the very rich. I will usually escape to Noonu, but sometimes I head to La Maltese on Santorini Island in the Greek Islands, or the Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo.
Whichever I choose, they know me well and take care of my needs; even my bodyguard, Anthony, is well cared for, but of course, I always book him at a different hotel. When I am on Holiday, I have very little need for him and I want to see him even less.
I enjoyed the soft sand of the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi. It is a resort surrounded by cerulean waters. I spent the first two days quietly walking along portions of the fifty-two-acre resort, which are surrounded by groves of palm trees and a beautiful turquoise lagoon.
However, I prefer the water villas to the beach villas. After all, anyone can stay on the beach ‘in’ a villa; I prefer to stay ‘on’ the water, because the Plexiglas floors in the water villas allow me to ‘walk on water.’ How positively purr-fect!
The sky was fantastic on my third day and I decided to pull out Clyde’s report while enjoying the weather and the water and the quiet.
“Oh,” I thought to myself, “Why would anybody waste this beauty, by having to share it with some selfish partner or spouse. I couldn’t imagine a worse way to ruin a trip. Yuk.”
I breathed in the beautiful salt air and looked at the report. “Stupid, Clyde,” I said to myself immediately. “His file still says, ‘Top Secret, Eyes Only’ like the moron he is.”
I just rolled my eyes at the title at the top of the page, “Operation Judas.”
I do like the simple outline and his abbreviated explanations though. I’m sure I couldn’t handle it if I were forced to listen to his drivel.
OPERATION: JUDAS I.
Strengthen bond by attending Dr. Dale’s speaking engagements, assuring him of our support, and continue to uncover vulnerabilities which should make him do what we need him to do, when we need him to do it.
Current Operational Status:
Attended three meetings, my notes are attached. Gave him another thousand-dollar donation, from us. After church I asked about his statement, “When he meets Legislators in D.C. he ‘does not care’ about their politics.” Potentially a vulnerable spot for us to exploit, as these men and women he prays with must expect him to be very supportive of them.
I made a number of notes.
The first one was, “Quit speaking in the third person, you idiot.”
But my second was, “It is time to move forward, Clyde. Let’s review the incriminating documents which will be placed into the two religion consultants’ files, and I want it done a.s.a.p. When I open up the documents to the candidates, my accusations need to be taken seriously so my knowledge of the documents must be unambiguous.”
I looked up the verses Clyde had said Dr. Dale used, beginning with the “peace and joy” verse which says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”[i]
And then I found myself praying, “Lord, I trust You to lead me as to how I might have an influence in the life of this foolish prayer-guy and correct his theology. His influence on churches. . . Well, I really don’t care about the churches he speaks in, but his influence in the halls of Congress should really come from a more knowledgeable person, like me, Lord, since I know how to claim joy and peace and declare it into existence in our elected official’s lives.”
I think I embarrassed myself by my large smile. No one is here in my bungalow over the water, nevertheless, my enthusiasm for what God wants me to do, is exciting, and, in a sense, about time.
I continued praying. Actually, I was praying and purring at the same time. “Knowing how to get joy and peace which leads to hope is my forte, Lord. So, I’m trusting You to put me in places of authority, instead of this Dr. Dale character, just like I believe You want me in the place of power for whichever presidential candidate is voted in.”
I then looked up the stupid passage, used by many, many people incorrectly. Paul didn’t even write this, as modern criticism has proved. Romans 13:1-2 reads, “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resist the authority is opposing God’s command, in those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.”[ii]
I was in my zone, having what must be God’s nearly total concentration on my words, I continued in prayer, “Lord, I claim a foothold into the powers of the presidential winner, though a number of months off yet. I am faithfully trusting You, Lord, to honor my activities in preparation, knowing that nothing formed against me will stand. Amen, and Amen.”
“Now that is real power,” I said to myself. And then I laughed and I continued to laugh when from deep inside me a guttural sound escaped which, I confess, scared me at first. But then I recognized it for what it was; that ‘angel of light’ was making groans inside me, which cannot be uttered and which only the Father knows.
I growled and laughed. I purred and laughed. I smiled and laughed. I was euphoric and something was exciting my insides.
It was marvelous!
Just then I had another thought. It had to do with the eavesdropping cyber-attack Clyde had mentioned to me.
He suggested that we need to move from passive eavesdropping to active eavesdropping so we can hide the electronic signature of our emails.
I don’t know exactly what Clyde’s talking about, but I’m sure it will work; after all, it must be God’s will.
I now realized it was time to have Clyde cyber hack the prayer-guy, Dr. Dale.
Just then I received a call on my cell phone. It was my private number so I immediately picked up. Very, very few people have this number.
“Good morning, Pastor,” came the friendly voice from the other end. I nearly hung up thinking it was an overly enthusiastic telemarketer and then she introduced herself.
“I hope it’s not too early,” she half-apologized.
“No, Priscilla,” I answered. “I’m actually on Holiday so I am five hours ahead of you in the Indian Ocean.”
“Oh, well, I don’t want to bother. . .”
“It is no bother at all,” I said with all the charm I could. What I thought in my mind was, “You are a lying politician who steals candy from babies, while at the same time makes promises you do not intend keep.”
Instead, I simply said, “It’s my honor to serve you and the Candidate. How might I help?”
“Well, I think it’s a theological issue and as such I am way out of my expertise.”
“Hmm,” I wondered while she was talking. “Why isn’t she getting her Religion Consultant involved?”
I decided to probe, just a bit. “Is everything okay with Issy?” I asked in mock concern.
“Oh, yes,” she hesitated.
I remained silent, knowing my prey was coming to me. It’s the power of the silence close. She who is quiet the longest wins! Priscilla was an idiot, so I just waited.
We must have been on the phone for a solid minute with me not speaking, and then she asked, “Are you still there, Pastor?”
“Yes, Priscilla. I’m just here to serve you.”
Again, a silence that seemed to stretch into eternity, but afterwards she said softly, “I have seen the outline of a document Issy is giving me in a few days and, well, I don’t know why, but I am uncomfortable with something in it, and I think I would like fresh eyes on it.”
“How exciting,” I thought. “The beginning of the ‘crash and burn’ of a good for nothing employee.”
“Will you be able to email it to me so I can review it and then report to you?”
“Forgive me for asking this, Pastor, but can you come here, to D.C.? It is an internal memo, so we’ll need it reviewed here, onsite.”
“I’m sure I’ll be able to do that, Priscilla. I’ll be arriving home in a week and a half. Will you have it by then? If so, why don’t I plan to be there the middle of the following week?”
“Oh, thank you.” She was truly relieved. “I told the boss we could count on you.”
“My pleasure,” I said with my silkiest voice and a hint of purring. “May I ask though, what is the subject?”
“Umm,” she hesitated, so I just remained silent. “It has to do with religious people’s views of news outlets.”
“Well, I look forward to seeing you soon.”
She immediately jumped in, “Umm, Pastor?”
By this time, I was done listening to her and wanted to go back to the sun and the heat. But I was my usual patient self.
“Well, I just looked at Issy’s schedule and she is not going to be in the office on Tuesday, the 24th, so if you can be here then, I’d sure feel better.”
“Consider it done, Priscilla.” And I hung up on her.
I actually felt bad about doing that. A little bit bad, anyway.
April 13th, Friday, Arlington VA
Issy and I had worked hard on this project for her boss each night. Now on the morning of Friday the 13th, she was ready to give it to her Chief of Staff. I’m in the religion business, not the superstition business, but I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that for a few moments I wondered if she should hand it in on Monday.
Nevertheless, the document was looking good and it was clearly non-partisan. It was just what her bosses wanted.
The document discussed various news outlets of choice; why we leave them, and why we stay, even when we’ve been lied to. The document also discussed the drug of “rage” which is used by news outlets to keep us returning to them. And then Issy brilliantly weaved in Dr. Dale’s drug of “encouragement” which he gives congregations and made the argument that “rage” promotes anger while “encouragement” promotes security. I think she did great.
[i] Romans 15:13 (HCSB)
[ii] From the HCSB version