Saturday, May 10, 2014

How Good Can I Write Bad?*

Memories! Oh, the strange things that enter our thoughts in the dawning moments of the day when we are neither asleep nor awake. This morning I was taken back to an old bit of writing. I have no idea why, but since my last post was so serious, I thought I'd share some silliness with you and anyone else who wants to rate my ability to be bad with the beauty of language. Feel free to comment.

World Magazine once sponsored a blog contest to see who could write the worst piece of Christian fiction. Below is my entry. Entrants had to keep their post to a certain length, and I wanted to cover a certain number of themes -- perfect conditions for the trite and sappy. It's a challenge to present eternal truth and emotional depth in sitcom-like brevity. 

I only shared it with a few friends at the time and one person mistook it for serious writing, so in his eyes I failed to be bad, which was an off-handed compliment, I guess. 

I wish I could say I wrote from experience, but I've never been a foreman...

The Hands of Pastor Ed

Pastor Ed crashed against the cabin’s wall, nose gushing blood from the crush of Tom’s mighty fist. The blow rocked him to the core. Never in his days as a boxer had he faced such a menacing opponent. The memory flashed across his mind. The ring. The bell. The crowd. The lust for blood and victory. The last deacons’ meeting. Could he keep it all a part of his hidden past or would the fury erupt as it had so many times before?
He shook his head to clear the hum from his pounding ears, pushed himself away from the wall, wiped the blood on the sleeve of his suit, then with a strength that came from deeper than his soul, drew himself upright to face the foreman. His hands remained open.
Tom’s confidence was shaken, though his eyes still bulged with rage. What kind of man could take such a beating and still stand? This was no common pastor, not like the others he had beaten, all stuffed with casserole and coffee. This one was different. This one had sand.
Ed raised his shaking finger and pointed it at Tom’s heart. “I understand your anger. I was an angry man, Tom, like you, but Jesus showed me His love, and forgave my sin, just like he wants to forgive yours.” His voice rose as strength flooded into his battered body. “Jesus loves me. He loves you, Tom. And I love you.”
Tom’s heart cracked under the weight of Pastor Ed’s words. His face contorted and his rage gave way to open weeping. He fell to his knees. “I love you”—words he had not heard since his childhood, since his father’s fatal illness. And in the deluge of tears, he felt arms around him, hands embrace him, hands that could have killed him—the hands of Pastor Ed. He pressed his face into the minister’s coat. It still bore the scent of the fields, the scent he remembered from his father. His heart yielded. He suddenly knew—he was home.
Mary Ellen could finally breath, though she hardly dared. Her fright gave way to relief, then slowly to other passions stirring in her soul. Her pastor, the brave hero? And soon to be her husband. The broken nose and bloody face gave depth to his tender eyes and square jaw. She knew now she would be the envy of the association. Their eyes met over Tom’s sobbing form, and her cheeks flushed with desire...

*Yes, I know. The bad grammar was intentional.

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