Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Ritual Part 8

The sun was setting over an unseasonably cold Locustville on Thursday, October 31 1991. The girls from the youth group sighed and giggled as a tall figure ascended the steps leading to the main entrance to Locustville High School. The Reverend Solomon Chew –baptized at age 18, ordained at 20, now at age 22 Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church- stood magnificently. He might have been the John the Baptist or the Prophet Isaiah, his aura shone so brightly with the setting sun behind him. His long, red hair flowed over his narrow shoulders; his narrow, freckled face radiated the fiery harvest glow of the season. In the long, thin fingers of his right hand was a megaphone. His left arm hung in the famous embroidered sling that had become one of his personal visual trademarks. Hundreds of onlookers had gathered to hear what the popular young Reverend Chew would ruminate upon. 
 
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began after a brief introduction and period of sustained applause, “you all know why I stand before you on this frigid evening before the entrance to this institution of learning and advancement. I stand here tonight because of an idea. I stand here before you to voice opposition, not just my own, but your opposition as well, to an idea that challenges and defies our belief system and our very way of life.”
 
Prolonged roars of applause and Amens punctuated his every statement. Reverend Chew continued, “I stand before you tonight for the sake of your children. Within these walls are taught ideas about our origins that are unbiblical. I don’t need some scientist or teacher to tell me about how life began. I got the book of Genesis for that! 
 
“These people,” Reverend Chew said, his accusative glance turning to the group of teachers gathered to his left in the front of the crowd, faces variously betraying outrage, indignation, sorrowful shame and repentance and a host of other mixed emotions, “these people want to teach the young people of our town ideas that are both insidious and diabolical. Ideas that will make them question their faith. 
 
“I am here to tell you that the so-called science that this biology teacher, Mr. Emmanuel Baggott, wants to teach your children is nothing more than false doctrine and heresy. I am here to denounce this blasphemy. I am here to expose it for what it is: lies of the Devil!
 
“Every single last one of you knows me,” he said, calming slightly. “You have all heard my testimony. You have all heard about how I came to the Lord Jesus. Before you stands a man who has looked Satan in the eye. A man who has been to the gates of hell and lived to tell. And I can tell you if you stick your hand in a fire you’re going to get burned!”
 
No thunder rolled. No lighting struck. The Reverend Solomon Chew paused, relaxing his grip upon the crowd. Several of the teachers had already made their way around the crowd to the school’s gymnasium, where the indoor attractions at the annual Fall Festival were beginning. As the crowd began to disperse, some heading into the gym, some to homes, others to their cars, he contemplated his ability to affect the hearts and minds of others. Imperceptibly he smiled. Although it wasn’t quite the way he had expected or planned, he had found what he was looking for. 

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Thanks for reading.