A Spiritual Trip

A thick unforgiving wind rushed through the hills to move any ungrounded object from where it's master originally intended it reside.  This was a wind that would ruin your plans.  Wind to be sworn at; not to banish it, but to serve one's self as a sort of article of complaint to the gods.  Though nobody hardly knew whether it was by a god's command that it blew so hard.  In fact, if the "wind god" remained unseen by human eye it would be much preferred; rather if the god had shown up people would cringe in fear or deny it really being there.  In shorter terms the assumed god was made in the people's heads for their pleasure.   Many people were making outdoor engagements, for the season was Spring; a time to hide behind firm walls to gather one's self, even if only for a brief moment to venture again to the disruptive (god damned) turbulence.  But this was no place in which to seek shelter from the wind; sparse structure and few wooded areas was a modestly vague description for this particular part of England.  The most prominent speck in this wilderness for twenty miles was a small, white steepled church.  The people treated it as the sanctuary from the forces of nature; however small or inane the weather the discontented inhabitants flocked to it's doors as sheep.  But they did not only run from the weather; primarily they sped to the Preacher whose church it was.  The Preacher was an imposing man who obtained an education at seminary to threaten any college graduate's ego.  The reason for this was that any unsuspecting agent who met with him would quickly adopt an inferiority complex; but not the kind to inspire humility rather spark faces set in envious want orbiting around the Preacher.  This was one of the many traits he was identified by.  To say the least he studied as though there was no tomorrow; and his theology was example of that.  A man of rough features and an air of constant inquisition.  He was not light footed and stamped all over the creaky oak floors of the church.  He had agenda and anyone could see he was ambitious enough to follow through with it, and likely succeed.

So the Preacher provided spiritual knowledge for his parishioners to use as tools to block out all that was worldly and evil.  Despite their envied looks they loved the Preacher with a seemingly unwarranted affection that maintained an air of inappropriate praise.  The Preacher never gave an account of his thoughts regarding the laud, but one knew he certainly acknowledged it.  Mass love was heaped on him for his guidance.  Regularly he was talked of amongst the villagers, and whatever his latest sermon was about business owners would quote his sayings on their signs.  The Preacher hardly ever payed for anything.  Kind gestures were thrust at him which defaulted him to look as a Persian-esque English potentate sitting at his throne with his subjects waiting to hear a slight cough.  Again, he hardly seemed to care of it, but he was not about to reject it.

On this particular Sunday running up to the church doors, late for the service, was a man in his late twenties by the name James Ross.  Though not yet inside he, like all the others would before him, recovered himself by the utility of the church building.  His hair blown to one side made him appear a social fool, of which for this he especially concerned himself.  He as well came out of higher education and fancied himself apart of the upper class.  You could not really disagree as he was a very well mannered fellow of good breeding.  Finding himself a learned individual he always spoke of his ideals.  He communicated that he knew what was best for other people.  He was an expert on your culture and was not afraid to make an objective claim.  He loved to share his knowledge with others, though strangely his friends were not always so keen on hearing it.  James wrote it off as mere ignorant bliss.  But here this day exasperation clung to him for he was not a fit individual, so even a short run would temporarily do him a misdeed.  He did not want to be seen this way in the church so catching his breath he took one last look at the landscape he had just trekked, which was currently having the glow of the sun compliment the notoriously intrusive hills.  Waves in the grass that should have been painted for the sake of perhaps catching something divine in a still print.  The wind then picked up, frustrating James, at which point he turned with a belittling shrug and went inside for the early morning church service.

James liked this church even though he had only been attending it for no more than a month and a half.  In fact, he had only five months before become a Christian.  He found it to be the simplest explanation for the cosmos of the world with satisfactory ethics to be taught; and for the last five months he had been in search for the perfect church to quench his demands for answers and sensible morals that lived up to his standards.  James was nearly sure he had found it.  Stepping in he was already amongst seated individuals.  The pews were packed so James took the closest seat which was two rows in, next to the aisle.  The Preacher was only part way through his discourse; James did not anticipate this since there was hardly any order to the service.  This was another reason James wandered in bemusement to this church.  At this point the Preacher was speaking softly and he could only hear the words if he strained himself to lean forward, turn his head to the side and cup his right ear to funnel the barks of religious taunt.  He gave up on trying to listen by it's difficulty, so he leaned back and began to scan the congregation to find and expression.  Preferably, to find and a happy joyful expression.  But this he did not receive, but instead all he was given were wide sorrowful eyes and depressed slacked jaws.  The thought occurred to him, "Are they astonished or convicted?"  He did not know how he should interpret them, other than attempting once more to listen to the Preacher.  James turned back his attention but had not noticed until now that they were in the middle of a long pause.  Clearly, the Preacher was thinking; but what about.  He was yearning to know, because now he considered himself apart of the "out" crowd looking in to the "in" crowd.  He wanted to ask the person next to him, but not only would that be him admitting his ignorance but the person sitting next to him, a young woman, did not appear in the mood to talk.  Her fists were clenched in self loathing that drove her finger nails into her palms.  So James focused his eyes precisely on the Preacher's face, which was hung over the pulpit and was slowly turning up towards the parishioners.  The pause drew out with unwelcome arms to smother all those who registered it.  He saw something on the Preacher's face that he had not seen before and found himself surprised at this.  The man looked wild.  Sunken cheeks, but sunken with other vitality.  Bags under his eyes with a bludgeoning quality.  Thick, black, stringy hair that rested anywhere it pleased with freedom of will.  Lines on his forehead that spoke perfidy.  James studied these features in a mesmerized mind forgetting the looming silence; then a roar came forth from the pulpit.

"You wicked sinners!  You all hold into comparison to the son of perdition!"  Many women began to weep at these words, but the Preacher continued.  "Mourning shall not save you of your evil deeds!  Vile in all your thought; marching to destruction.  The sins you commit shall be re-payed in full and with tremendous interest."

James repositioned himself and had confusion re-introduced to him.  The Preacher made mad violent gestures, judging his church for sins unseen.  He raised his voice in furious commendation in the style of a king rallying his troops for glorious battle, but instead this rally had deprecating content.  He called them to repent and as some of them did this aloud, the Preacher continued on top of the people crying, "Lord God, have mercy on me, a sinner!"

"God will not hear your prayers!  Turn from your current ways and God may hear if you sin no more!"  The Preacher's intense eyes frightened James.  But it was then that he realized that he was hearing this sermon for the past month and a half.  Not knowing what he was doing, he got up and headed for the door.  Just as he did this the Preacher threw a pointed finger at him and exclaimed, "See this sinner!  He cannot give up his wickedness and will burn eternally in the lake of fire!"  James looked back once to see tear ridden faces paying their attention toward him with hopeless pity, and down the center of the aisle a devilish grin pleased with it's influence.  But he was soon on the other side of the door.  Outside the wind was still blowing but now softly.

James, still utterly confused, experienced a brief moment of doubt that was thwarted by the landscapes beauty that he so arrogantly ignored before.  He stared ahead seeing undeniable craft of art.  And yet the art suggested a constant danger.  This lead to fear again; but this fear was of the true perspective, that held all the life water for him to replenish himself.  A fear of the omnipotent that somehow assured him of his place in the world.  He found an answer.  There were few times in James' life that emotion crept up, completely void of his usual train of thought.  He took a deep breath.  He resolved himself and went on his way to town to find the nearest book store, since he had not yet owned a Bible.