Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reason # 12,345 Why We Should Be Skeptical

Pastor Michael Guglielmucci spun gospel of lies

I know, another tangent. However, we had a visiting gospel singer and his wife at church on Sunday. The husband shared an amazing story of how his brother in law had terminal cancer and was in a coma. He then went to his room and prayed over him, sang a song and the next day he was healed and sitting up.

I'm very skeptical of stories like this because most of them are lies or deep embellishments. I wanted to confront the singer after church, for more details, however, too many people were in line to hear more of his amazing stories.

But this news story below is another reason we SHOULD be doubtful over these amazing stories.


A pastor who claimed terminal cancer inspired him to write a hit evangelical pop song has been exposed as a fraud.

Michael Guglielmucci told worshippers, friends and his own family that he was likely to die from the disease.

He claimed his hit song "Healer", which was included on mega-church Hillsong's latest album, came to him as a "gift from God" on the day the diagnosis was revealed.

It propelled Mr Guglielmucci, formerly a pastor with Melbourne-based church Planetshakers, to the forefront of Australia's Christian youth movement.

But the story was completely made up.
A statement from Australian Christian Churches vice president Alun Davies said Mr

Guglielmucci, now living in Adelaide, had admitted to fabricating his cancer story.
"Representatives of the National Executive for the Australian Christian Churches recently met with Michael Guglielmucci," Mr Davies said.

"At this meeting, he read a statement indicating that his claim to have cancer was untrue.
"His credential with the Australian Christian Churches was immediately suspended."
An abundance of material documenting Mr Guglielmucci's falsified illness is available on the internet.

In one Hillsong video, subtitled in Spanish and posted to YouTube, the pastor described his made-up cancer diagnosis in meticulous detail.

"I went to the hospital expecting to have some tests and got the news that I had cancer, and quite an aggressive form of cancer," he said.

"I walked into my studio at home and for some reason pressed record, which was a good thing ... I just sat at a piano and began to worship.

"I didn't, like, sit down and write the verses and the chorus, I just sang that song from the start to the finish.

"I just realised that God had given me an incredible gift and I knew that was going to be my strength."

A Facebook group entitled "I continue to love and support Michael Guglielmucci" has been set up, with many young Christians calling for the pastor to be forgiven.

But comments attached to YouTube videos have been less kind.

"Should this still be on [here]? Can someone delete it? Mike never had cancer, it's all a lie he made up. It's embarrassing and sad to watch," read one comment.

In an e-mail sent to Hillsong members yesterday, the church's general manager George Aghajanian said the news was even a shock to Mr Guglielmucci's own family.
The suspended pastor was seeking professional help, the e-mail said.

Planetshakers spokesman Darryn Keneally said his church was "devastated by the elaborate hoax".

He said Mr Guglielmucci would make reparations to anyone who gave him money because of his made-up sickness. "There were no fundraisers conducted however when Michael left the church, 18 months ago, a special offering was taken up in honor of his services to the church," he said.

"Planetshakers Church did not ask for any congregational financial support to be given to Michael and we have not given him any financial assistance since.
"We have asked that all money generated from the proceeds of his song Healer be donated to charity."

What his video on You Tube ( http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=W0v5BFjolHY&feature=related ) then allow yourself to throw up.

Yes there is forgiveness and tremendous grace in Christ . . . but that's no excuse for our non-skeptical behavior over this madness. I'm not trying to throw stones at this one man, but to say, something is wrong with our entire Christian mindset where we keep falling for this crap.

1) We don't understand the depth of the fall.
2) We don't appreciate the influence of the fall on the psyche, both ours and others. The reason is, we don't give our physical brains, emotions etc. the credit they deserve. We spiritualize everything. For example that a man can be so much of a liar. There is such a things as Factitious syndrome that is much more than the simple act of lying (one simple sin), it is a mental illiness (the result of the fall of Adam).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Christians, Fate and Luck

Above is a drawing depicting Furtuna . . . Roman Goddess of fate (same as the Greek goddess Tyche).

Christian teachers have avoided this topic like the plague. The only lecture I've ever heard was by LAbri's Dick Keyes. Not only did I attend the lecture in person (I think it was in Vancouver, BC) but I also met with a goup, which met with Dick, that night to discuss his lecture. Also I ordered his talk (btw is available here ) and listened to it at least a couple more times. But Ihave to say I was disappointed.

I really like Dick Keyes as a speaker, but even he hedged, then danced around the topic in his discussion.

The concepts of fate, luck have been grossly neglected by the Church, when it comes to teaching Biblical principles. However, the views on these topics are very entrenched within Evangelicalism.

When any event of significance happens and then you hear it mentioned by Christians (especially if they are actually standing in a church building) you will hear the view expressed that God has comprehensive control over life. That every hair on your head is not only counted, but God directs it precisely on which side of the part to lay. Then, when you get to much more important topics (more important than a good or bad hair day) then there is no question of God’s control.

You will hear the clichés, “Everything happens for a purpose,” or “God doesn’t make mistakes,” or “It was a God thing.” There is absolutely no daylight given to cause and effect of the laws of physics or human physiology of working themselves out. Everything, from the leaf falling from a tree, to someone’s child dying from a tragic and brutal accident is directly from the hand of God . . . or from the end of Satan’s pitchfork.

The problem with even discussing this topic with Christians is two fold. First, there is a great confusion with the Biblical concept of God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is a totally different topic and is worthy of debate in its own right. But that topic is about whether or not God calls the elect from birth to be saved or does it involve a free will choice. So that topic is very different from what I’m talking about. This was the disappointment in Dick Keyes’ lecture is that it starts talking about luck, but ends with a (reformed position) about God’s sovereignty.

The second problem is that there is a strong emotional need to believe that all events in life had a purpose. As a Christian, the paradigm is that the purpose must be good ( or bad in the case of Satan doing it). To question that divine purpose, in the Christian’s eyes, is to question God’s ABILITY to control events . . . so the question is never even raised.

I remember the look of horror that a dear Christian friend, Betsy, gave me when I told her that a certain event in our lives (about selling a house in a bad market) was simply bad luck. “Surely you are joking” she asked.

more to come. . .

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fate - An Unusual Christian View

The photo above is of the book (by that title) written by Vasily Grossman in 1959. I have not read the book, but only the Cliff's Notes version. In very brief summary, it is about the life journey of a Jewish man, Viktor Shtrum, caught between two totalitarian states. The two states were Soviet Communism and Nazism. One of the major themes of the work was looking for human good in the midst of tyranny.

What I want to discus is not the book, but the concept of fate and the Christian perspective. If you are interested in the book you can read more about it here. I hope to read it soon.

As I start this long discussion on fate, you will see a recurring theme. Yes I have addressed it before (just go back to some of the old postings.) I really think that most Christians have a defective view of fate. They feel secure in that view because that view (in their opinion) is the only one that has a God who is big enough. However, I really think this defective view does far more harm than good. How many people have been disillusioned over believing that God is the one who caused the tragedy that they faced? Millions?

Two things have brought this back to the front burner for me. One (as mentioned a couple of posts ago) is having recently read the book The Shack. The entire book is devoted to dealing with a tragedy and one man's pain about that. The second event was getting a newsletter today from some dear friends, who are missionaries in the Middle East. They described a tragic event in how Tim's (the husband) mother had suddenly died. In their missionary newsletter they went a long way to describe how God had orchestrated every event of that sad tragedy.

I also want to try and do a more thoughtful and scholarly treatment of this topic than before. I have a feeling that it will spread out over several posts. Many of my previous posts have been under a tremendous stress of time (usually typed out in 15 minutes between patients in a busy medical office). I don't even have time to proof-read them. But I want to try and take my time, trying to reduce the number of typos (some which I find weeks later that completely change the point I was trying to make).

I believe that this issue of fate is connected closely to whether you are a Christian Dualist or Monist. I must explain before I end this post and return my focus on the Olympics and the Michael Phelps' show. If you believe that the spiritual realm is far more significant than the physical realm, then everything that happens in the physical realm must be connected to events, persons or destinies within that spiritual realm. Does that make sense? So, if an event happens here, for it to make sense, you must say that God did it . . . or Satan. A Christian Dualist can't let a physical event stand alone . . . as a simple working out of the laws of cause and effect.

As a Christian monist, I am not faced with that pressure. The reason is, because I believe that God created the cosmos (this physical world) and He created it very, very good. Yes it is fallen and defective but it's not garbage. Therefore God created the laws of physics (those described by Newton and others). They are God's handiwork. So are the laws of bio-chemistry, human psychology etc. So I don't have to say that God is the puppeteer, pulling the strings of every event in my life. The vast majority of events are the simple working out of cause and effect . . . that in most cases are amoral. The fallen world is far more dangerous than the pre-fall world. So bad things do happen now. Some of them have no purpose (slipping on ice and falling off a cliff) because they are not a direct act of Satan, nor by the hand of God. The laws of physics can allow you to skid on a wet road and crash your car if you are going at a certain speed with certain bald tires.

But just listen to the Christians around you. Can they say that grandma was hit by a Mack truck and killed in a tragic way . . . and God had nothing to do with it? If they say such a thing, it would be in the privacy of their hearts . . . maybe with their husband or wife in their bedrooms . . . okay, maybe with non-Christian friends at a bar, but never in a church. It is a very strong colloquial, American, Evangelical Christian belief that if you are a mature Christian, you will see God's direct hand in every event. A mature Christian would never, ever talk about luck.

More to come

Friday, August 15, 2008

Victoria Osteen Found Not-Guilty

I just wanted to make a brief comment that Victoria was found not guilty for assault yesterday. I do trust the jury who heard the facts and I, indeed, believe that an assault did not take place. There could have been rude behavior, who knows . . . or cares.

But my point in my previous posting was not about her case. The thing that brought up bad behavior was the local arrest of a youth pastor for raping up to 30 children. He has confessed to many accounts. He seems really sorry for his actions. He made a statement on local news that he has battled his desire for young children his whole life.

But I ask an honest question. What could we do as a church to prevent such tragedies? Certainly in this fallen world we can never prevent all of them. I don't think "screening" church workers better will work.

I really think we must change our sanctification (or our concept of godliness) paradigm. We are all fallen and, given the right circumstances, are capable of doing really bad things. So, we need the church to be emotionally safe (where this youth pastor could have stood up in a meeting, or at least confined among his closes Church friends that he had a problem with be attracted to children.) Then we need honesty. We need to stop playing "I am righteous" game. We need to hold each other accountable. And lastly, we need to always remember that our righteousness is God's righteousness bestowed onto us and has nothing to do with our great behavior.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Christians Behaving Badly

The Evangelical Farce Factor – Scandal After Scandal. In the national news lately has been the story about Victoria Osteen (Joel's wife) and the law suit brought against her by the Continental Airlines Stewardess. I must say, at this juncture at least, the truth is not clear. It is possible that Victoria Osteen did attack the stewardess and then again, it could be that the stewardess either made up the whole story or at least embellished it. But this situation does bring back to the front burner the whole problem of Christians behaving badly. I will mention events that have more validity than Victoria’s.

This brings me to Ted Haggard . . . a situation with far more certainty and more remarkable. It was more remarkable because Ted was not only the main pastor of a mega church (as is Victoria) but he was also a national Evangelical leader AND his behavior was much, much more conflicting with the way he presented himself. I mean, he had a enduring-secret life of hiring male prostitutes and even smoking meth with them while preaching against both from the pulpit.

But poor Ted is old news. The real reason this was brought to my attention in the last few hours was neither Victoria's nor Ted’s behavior. Locally we have had two major evangelical scandals of late.

The first one was about three weeks ago when the principal of a major Christian high school was discovering having a double life. In secret he had a juvenile runaway girl hidden in a secret room of his school, where he allegedly was having sex with her, and bringing her alcohol and drugs. He was an upstanding Christian leader in the community for years and considered a great family man.

The last sad episode broke just last night. I was on my way home from work yesterday and I saw a Seattle mobile TV crew heading across the bridge to our island, then down to the next island. I didn’t find out until the 11 o’clock news that, unfortunately, a 21 year-old “youth worker” at a local Evangelical church has admitted (after being caught red-handed) of having sex with as many as 30 small children. Yesterday was certainly a tragic day for his church and his family . . . and all of Christendom.

When most evangelicals hear of such terrible stories, they usually react in one of two ways. The first one I will call the “Persecution Complex” and the second one, “The Rare Exception.” I will describe them.

The Persecution Complex: In this reaction, evangelicals will say, the sad story in the news is not true. It simply never happened but the evil, secular news media is out to persecute some poor, innocent Christian. I heard this as an initial reaction to Ted Haggard by some of his church members and I’ve been hearing in the Victoria case.

The Rare Exception: In this response, evangelicals will say, that the person, such as Haggard, is a very rare exception to many, many godly saints who would never do something like this. Somehow he slipped through the cracks. In a knee-jerk reaction they will say, “We need to create a better screening process for our church so we never hire anyone who would do something like this.”

The true, non-dualistic view of these situations would be different. The monist would believe that (but for the grace of Christ) that we are all capable of doing things of such malevolence. While I may not be tempted to meet with male prostitutes, nor to molest children it may be within me to commit adultery or lie, or become an alcoholic (I say that because my father was . . . and my brother is, so at least genetically the potential is there).

When you are a dualist, you believe everything of importance is spiritual. Our brain-based emotions, personality etc. therefore has no significance. So, the spiritual is very fluid and is dependent simply on obedience. But if I give the physical body the merit it deserves, I would realize that change comes at a snail’s pace.

If someone is sexually abused as a child and then develops a sexual attraction to kids, that doesn’t magically go away through the simple act of conversion. The damage emotions are still damaged. The altered neurons are still altered. Yes, God can heal them in time but it may take a lifetime.

So how should we react to these terrible events? The real key reaction (and action to prevent future mistakes) is to recognize that the only think that separates us from the Ted Haggars is a membrane of wet tissue paper (speaking figuratively). This gives us a humility that we ARE vulnerable.

If you have a whole church with this attitude, then there would be a great feeling of security within that church. The great pretending that we are pure saints could be dismissed. When you are around other Christians, you could honestly say, “Hey I feel vulnerable to having an affair,” and the other brothers and sisters’ jaws would not drop in horror. But they would smile and say, “Me too. Let’s keep each other accountable!”

So when you live in a Christin world that is a farce (everyone pretending to be saints) then the risks of Christians living a double life is much higher. So in conclusion (before I drag this on too long) the bottom line is "High Standards" nor "Screening Process" does not guarantee against Christians behaving badly. But the best insurance is having a church that is a true sanctuary, where people can be honest about themselves, their weaknesses etc. without condemnation . . . knowing that we are all covered by Christ's righteousness. We must get rid of the superficial facade of righteousness so we can talk in honesty about our temptations etc.

If you believe # 2 above (that bad behavior is rare) I will post some of the links I found on Google. These are only the tip of the iceberg. So the illusion that we are good people isn't working.

SR.com: Youth pastor faces sex allegations

STLtoday - Youth pastor arrested on sex charge

Youth pastor faces charges for sex with girl - Cleveland Metro ...

Former Mansfield youth pastor faces 10 sex-related felonies ...

Youth Pastor Watch Slog The Stranger Seattle's Only Newspaper

Youth pastor's teen sex charges - Topix

Youth Pastor Accused Of Sex Crimes - ExChristian.Net - News and ...

Ex-Coach, Youth Pastor Sentenced On Underage Sex Counts - News ...

Metro-East youth pastor facing sex charges St. Louis Area News ...

Former youth pastor sent to prison; given lifetime probation ...

Deep Thoughts: Tucson Youth Pastor Accused Of Sex Crimes

Youth pastor accused of sex crimes with minor

Baptist Youth pastor gets 135 years for sex cases

Abominations: Baptist Youth Pastor Arrested, Accused of Having Sex ...

Spokane youth pastor guilty of 8 sex felonies Top Stories ...

Youth Pastor Charged with Sex Offenses

Video: Youth Pastor Sex Scandal

Hillsborough: Youth pastor's bail denied in sex case

Augusta Youth Pastor Charged With Performing Sex Acts On Teenager ...

STLtoday - O'Fallon, Ill. youth pastor arrested on sex charge

Pastor takes leave amid allegations of gay sex - The Denver Post

Youth Pastor Sex Scandal on Technorati

Tucson Youth Pastor Accused Of Sex Crimes

Texas pastor arrested for dragging girl at camp U.S. Reuters

Pastor arrested in Internet sex sting - ExChristian.Net - News and ...

Pastor arrested on sex charges - OregonLive.com: Breaking News Updates

Tulsa Pastor Arrested In OKC On Lewdness Charge - Oklahoma City ...

Phenix City Pastor Arrested WRBL - News 3, Columbus GA and ...

Charleston, SC Latest Local News: Pastor arrested on 2 new charges

Pastor arrested for child rape of two Portland girls Local News ...

Pastor Arrested With Miracle Machine

Cedar Hill pastor arrested

FW pastor arrested after dad overhears 'sexual' call Latest News ...

After pastor's arrest on prostitution charge, church members ...

Onanite Online: Pastor arrested for murder

Los Angeles "Pastor" Arrested for Conspiracy to Commit Murder ...

Charismatic Pastor Arrested on Attempted Murder Charges

Pastor arrested for incest and murder - ExChristian.Net - News and ...

Pastor Arrested for Murder - Demopolis Live

Pastor arrested over fraud, theft charges - Democratic Underground

Pastor arrested in fraud scheme at charter school

Mortgage Fraud - Mortgage Fraud News - Oregon Pastor arrested in ...

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Shack - A God, Jesus - Holy Spirit Dialog

Before I left town I had done a series about a conversation (and honestly in language) that involved Jesus Himself making an appearance. My wife, Denise, had just finished reading The Shack and mentioned that percisely, that was what that book was about.

I read The Shack last week while I was in Whistler. I have to say that I was very impressed with not only the writing but also the theology.

I won't bother reviewing it here but I suggest that you go to the book's website and then buy it yourself. It is a fresh look at how God works in evil events.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Post-Cafe Discussion, Then Off to Whistler

I stared my Small-Town Cafe story, many posts ago, about dishonesty in language. Then I moved on to using Lacey as an example of what it would look like if someone tried to be really honest. A Christian friend gave me her opinion that Lacey was being cruel. So I decided to go back and use Jesus Himself (who would be very honest, but never cruel) and to see (in my humble opinion) how He would relate.

If you read this story of Jesus in the Cafe, you will not see a peaceful setting, but one of conflict. But I don't think you will see cruelty.

In this last story, Jesus put his finger on the issues in each person's life. Sure, Jake was deeply offended, but he needed to be offended. The same is with each of them. Yet, Lacey, Melvin and eventually John were drawn to Jesus by His brute honesty rather than repelled.

So honesty can disrupt the harmony but is not cruel. Someone can honestly tell me that I have bad breath. It may upset or embarass me . . . but in the end, I think I would be grateful.

The late Francis Schaeffer describes the culture in America after WII up to the 70s as the age of Peace and Affluence. This was the kind of peace he was talking about. Not peace with God or even peace between people or countries. But it was a superficial harmony . . . doing anything you can to avoid rocking the boat. But Jesus was a boat rocker. I really believe that we should be boat rockers too, but of course in love. It is very hard to be a boat rocker as it can make you very, very lonely.

I’m taking a short hiatus from this blog. I will be vacationing in Whistler, BC. I plan on doing a lot of writing there, but not for this blog. I have a book manuscript that’s been on the back burner too long. I will be back here in about a week or so.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jesus in the Cafe V - Then There Were Three

(Please read the previous five posts before continuing with this story.)

In the last scene, Jake storms out of the café, leaving Jesus, Lacey and Melvin sitting in silence.

Jesus: “The lesson this morning is about idols. That’s the great wall that separates most men, and women (smiling and looking at Lacey), from me. The dollar and religion are some of the strongest and most common of the idol faces.”

Lacey: “Jesus, I feel sad about this. Will we ever see Jake and John again?”

Jesus: “If you are really asking if you see them, then the answer is certainly. John will be around town, but will not come back to your church and he wasn't planning on coming bqck anyway. But, I think he will come around again. On the other hand, you will see Jake regularly and that’s the great travesty.”

Lacey, looking puzzled: “How’s that? I’m confused.”

Jesus: “The face of Jake’s idol is his religion. He will keep his post as church elder and continue on worshiping his idol. It would be better for him, and more encouraging for me, if he left his idol so he could find me. But, between the idol faces of money and religion, religion cast the greater enchantment.”

Melvin: “You keep using the term ‘face of the idol” and I’m not sure what you mean by that.”

Jesus: “Of course all idols are the self, but they just take on different faces. John takes the face of money, because he allows money to define his persona. Without money, he fears, he would be nothing. The same is true for Jake. First it was sports then it became religion. Without them, he would quickly have to find another face to fill the void . . . say money.” (then Jesus chuckles quietly).

“But of course the only thing that satisfies, which can really fill that void is not the self, but God’s gift of Me. That’s why, to the thirsty desert dwellers, I called Myself ‘living water.’ To this generation I would have call Myself the ‘true religion or philosophy’ or perhaps the ‘true money.’

(Jesus looks over at the pan of water, washcloth and towel, which Maria has brought. He reaches for it and pulls it closer)

Jesus: “This brings me back to the two of you. Are you going to leave me too?”

Lacey: “No! Jesus, without you I have no place to go. It doesn’t seem fair (but again catching her verbage) HOWEVER I’m sure it is fair, that you asked John to give up a million dollars for you and you’ve only asked me to eat waffles and ice cream . . . free waffles and ice cream at that.”

Jesus: “Lacey, the face of your idol, your physical self-image, is no less a beast than John’s great wealth. It’s just has dangerous and cruel. There are many people, far too numerous to count, who have forsaken Me because of their physical self-esteem. It would have taken John only a few years to replenish his retirement account. Didn’t it take you more than three years to shed the weight that you wanted?”

Lacey: “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

(Jesus turns and stares at Melvin)

Jesus: “And Melvin, what about you? Do you want to leave me?”

Melvin: “No, my Lord. But you haven’t asked anything of me yet.”

Jesus: “That’s right. It is now your time and your assignment.”

(Jesus turns to face Lacey again, but glancing back and forth between her and Melvin)

Jesus: “Lacey, you don’t know Melvin’s story and I’m sure it will not be easy for him as I tell it. But Melvin, when he was only a very young child, had his innocence taken cruelly away by a evil man. Melvin was raped.”

(Melvin’s eyes look immediately downcast like he can not bear the embarrassment. Lacey’s eyes fill with tears)

Jesus: “From that day onward, he has not been the same. He has carried on his back an unfathomable amount of shame. His shame has become the face of his idol. He can not give it up because in doing so, he is afraid he will loose himself. Yes, Melvin does know me and I he, but the face of his idol keeps him form experiencing the purity that I died for.

For, you see, while Melvin and Jake may appear as opposites . . . Jake so confident and self-assured, while Melvin seems weak and intimidated . . . they are actually very close. They both have used religion as their cover. The only difference is that Jake thinks he succeeded in it, but Melvin knows he hasn’t. Melvin feels the shame every day. No matter how many Awana badges he earned, how many church services he went to, how many hours he listen to preachers on the Christian radio station . . . none of it would extinguish his agony of shame.”

Lacey: “But that’s so unfair. Melvin didn’t do anything to merit that kind of shame.”

(Melvin is starting to cry, but remains silent)

Jesus: “Lacey, did you deserve to be called Pigey in high school? This is fallen and cruel world. Injustice dominates since the Fall . . . but my blood became the great equalizer.”

(He reaches over and grasp Melvin’s chin and pulls his head up so he is making eye contact with Himself)

Jesus: “It’s your turn Melvin.” He sets the pan between them.

Melvin: (holding back the tears) “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus: (smiling and thinking) “Let me ask you a cultural question. In your society which is the most offense statement, ‘Kiss my foot’ or ‘Kiss my butt?’”

Melvin: “Uh . . . I guess ‘Kiss my butt.’”

Jesus: “That’s what I thought. So it will be your butt. Your society deems the butt as the most shameful place of your physical body, while in the New Testament society it was the foot.”

(Melvin looks horrified as Lacey just perplexed.)

Jesus (standing up now with the towel draped over his arm): "Okay, Melvin, drop your pants.”

Lacey: “He can’t do that here in the café . . . not in public.”

Jesus: “Fine. Then loosen your belt so I can reach your buttocks.”

Melvin (while following Jesus’ directive and loosening his belt): “Jesus, you can’t do this either here . . . not in public. Jesus I can’t let you touch my butt.”

Jesus: “I will do it here in public and Melvin, my son, if you cannot allow me to touch your butt, then how on earth could you allow me to touch the really filthy part of you . . .your heart?”

(Melvin doesn’t speak another word while Jesus tenderly wrings out the wash cloth in the pan of water. He motions for Melvin to bend over the table while He reaching inside his pants and boxers and washes his buttocks. The other people, Maria and the other café staff watch and are dumfounded.”

Lacey’s Id: These people will think we, and our whole church are nuts. But something amazing is happening here and I can’t get in the way.

(Jesus finishes, dries off Melvin’s buttocks and then Melvin tightens up his belt. When he looks up again, his eyes are red from crying. He and Jesus take a seat)

Jesus: “One last assignment for you Melvin. I would like for you to get up in front of the church next Sunday morning. I want you to tell the story about your rape, your shame and how I’ve completely cleansed you.”

Melvin’s Id: I can't do this. Crowds terrify me, especially church crowds. I will have a terrible panic attack . . .”God help me to do this. I want to do this but I am terrified. Please God help me.”

Lacey: “Jesus, Pastor Dan would never allow someone to share something like that in the middle of church service. Everything must be scripted and he really, really frowns on such personal things to be shared in public.”

Jesus: “Well, I guess next Sunday will be a little nerve racking for pour pastor Dan.”

Melvin’s Id: Maybe there is a way out of this.

Melvin: “Jesus, you know for me to share something so personal would be traumatic for our church. A lot of people would be offended. Many would never speak to me again.”

Jesus: “Actually, only a few will be offended. Pastor Dan will be offended. Jake will be offended plus a handful of others. However, Melvin, there are five other men whom have been raped when they were young boys . . . and about forty women have been raped or sexually molested in their lives. They long to hear your message. The message I’ve written on your life.”

(Jesus stands and looks at Melvin and Lacey. He puts his hands on their shoulders)

Jesus: “I guess I’m finished here and it looks like I've really disrupted your little prayer breakfast . . . something like . . . what do you say, ‘A bull in a china shop.’”