Saturday, May 20, 2006

Elephants in Blog Town

Several of us were walking toward the big white tent that Ben Cole had set up across the street from Local Cafe and the Blog Town courthouse. We had been to the courthouse to listen in on Dorcas Hawker as she represented Merle in a civil suit against Roscoe Bigalow. If you have been keeping up with the Blog Town news then you know Roscoe's boy, Ronnie Duke, had recently had an eating spree after which he erupted and hurled in the projectile type so badly in Merle's Local Cafe that the EPA shut it down for three weeks due to what is written up as a TOXIC WASTE spill. Dorcas is really taking Roscoe to the "cleaners." She has demanded that Roscoe pay for the same crew that cleaned up the Exxon-Valdez oil spill be hired to clean up the Local Cafe. She also demanded that Roscoe pay to have Blog Town Pond cleaned and re-stocked with fish due to the fact that I along with Tom Ascol had jumped in it after Ronnie Duke hurled on us. The toxic chemical content on our clothes was so great that it killed all the fish and two snapping turtles.

In addition, she demanded for Roscoe to rebuild the Blog Town Cleaners. When Wade took his black suit there to be cleaned after his encounter with Ronnie Duke, Chucky Spurgeon (C.H. Spurgeon's great-grandson) inadvertently lit a cigar too close to the yet to be cleaned suit. The fumes from the suit exploded into flames. Fire quickly spread through out the whole building. Thankfully, all of the employees escaped without harm. The building, though, was a complete loss. Chucky and Wade escaped, but Chucky's beard was scorched and the smell was awful. Strangely, Wade did not have one hair out of place. "Neither was his coat changed, nor the smell of fire has passed on him." It seems Wade always comes out of the fire well. Remember my story: WHY WADE SHALL PREVAIL IN SHINAR.

As we were going into the tent, I told Art Rogers, that the next time I get into trouble, I am going to get Dorcas Hawker to defend me since Johnny Cochrane had died. The odor of ham frying and onions being sauteed sure did smell good as we approached the tent. Ben Cole is not one to let an opportunity slip by him. As soon as Local Cafe closed down for cleaning, Ben put up the tent and started cooking ham and onion sandwiches plus other Blog Town favorites such as Boloney Burgers, Spam Topped Pizzas and B-B-Q. He also serves High-test coffee, Sanka and has even rented a Latte machine for the college crowd. He said that he was actually thankful for Ronnie Duke because this had given him an opportunity to make some extra money to help cover his cell phone bill and travel expenses.

Just last night we had a "send off party" for Wes Kenny and Jeff Richard Young. They are on their way to Albuquerque to continue fasting and praying for the IMB trustee meeting. They are really serious about this thing. They have decided to walk from Blog Town to Albuquerque in robes that they borrowed from some Franciscan Monks. They wanted to retain the look of an intellectual so rather than wearing sandals they bought some two toned, tasseled loafers like Marty Duren wears. It certainly works for him so why wouldn't it work for them also?

Just about the whole gang was under the tent, eating, drinking and having a great time. I was drinking High-test, eating a ham and onion sandwich and reading the Washington Post. Kevin Bussey was sitting with me. He was drinking a Latte from a gallon paint bucket that Ben had gotten just for him and eating a 32 oz. BBQ Spam sandwich. He was also reading a biography of Bear Bryant. Over at another table were Wade and a new guy who has been visiting with him. His name is Brad Reynolds. They were debating about a sign that Brad wanted to put up at the entrance of the tent. Brad wanted the sign to read; RONNIE DUKE BIGALOW IS NOT ALLOWED IN THIS TENT.

Wade kept saying; "As long as he does not eat too much he should be allowed in the tent." Brad was relentless. He stated; " That boy should not be allowed to eat in this tent. Frankly, I don't believe that he should be allowed to eat the way that he does even in the privacy of his own home. He should only be allowed to eat that which will keep him for hurling such an "unknown substance." "I believe that we should send a committee over to the Bigalow home and tell them what is and is not acceptable for Ronnie Duke to have as a food source."

Marty Duren and Art Rogers were at another table discussing the ethics of plugging one's post on another person's blog site. Jason Sampler was on his cell phone talking to Joe Kennedy about a book he was reading by F. W. Krummacher. It was an exceptional day for the gang. The great Gene M. Bridges was also there. He was eating a Boloney Burger, drinking high test while reading two books, a newspaper and the Founder's Journal. In addition, he was typing on his laptop and talking on his cell phone with Oprah Winfrey, no less, explaining to her that her theology was way beyond the boundaries of Orthodox Christianity. He was able to do all of this at the same time without even having to use a napkin. That man is amazing.

CB Scott was standing in front of a mirror which Ben had mounted on a tent pole and trying to get his hair to stay in position like Tom Hanks' hair in the Da Vinci Code. I was really beginning to feel sorry for the poor guy because it just wasn't working.

Suddenly, Merle yelled from outside the tent for us all to come outside.

(Merle was outside the tent because he had been told by Brad that since he was a Nazarene, he needed to get his own tent. He tried to explain to Brad that the very land where Ben's tent stood belonged to him and that even though tents came and went the land was permanent. His explanation was to no avail.)

As everyone went outside you would not believe what we saw. There was the biggest tractor that John Deere makes parked in front of the tent. Hitched to it was a flat bed trailer that was at least sixty feet long. The tractor and the trailer, however, were not the thing of amazement. It was their contents. Upon the front end of the trailer was an elephant and at the back end of the trailer there was another elephant. And in the middle of the trailer there was a cage which contained an African Lion with a bobbed-tail. Up in the cab of the tractor sat Dr. Bob Rambo. Dr. Rambo was the pastor of Tobacco Barn Road Baptist Church (TBRBC). Along beside him, driving the tractor was Rufus Bigalow. Sitting upon the head of the elephant that was on the back of the trailer was none other than little Ronnie Duke Bigalow eating a bag of Fig Newtons.

Dr. Rambo and Rufus got down out of the tractor. They both were grinning from ear to ear. CB Scott looked at Dr Rambo and asked; "Where did you get those elephants?" Rufus answered before Dr Rambo could. He said; "I got them at a foreclosure sale of a bankrupt circus." "Where did you get the lion?" asked Jason Sampler. "And where is his tail?" chimed in Marty.

Rufus looked sheepishly down at the ground. "Go ahead and tell them." said Dr Rambo. Rufus said; " You remember when I gave that $500,000.00 to RBTS (Really Big Theological Seminary)? Everyone said, "Yes." "Well," continued Rufus, "The president of RBTS invited me to go on an African Safari with him. We went and had a good time, but there was one problem. President Bishop shot at a lion and well, he sort of hit the lion and missed him at the same time. He ended up shooting the lion's tail off right at his hind parts. That lion must have gotten an adrenalin rush when that happened, cause he took off and out ran a Land Rover going over a hill. President Bishop never got off another shot. We were able to retrieve the tail though and he has it in his office. It is attached to the pull cord of the ceiling fan."

"How did you get the lion, Rufus?" asked Gene M. "Well, PETA caught the lion and brought it back to the states. I found out about it and promised them that my wife would chain herself to a Japanese whaling ship if they would sell it to me. They agreed, so here we are and my wife is on her way to Japan."

"What do you plan to do with these animals?" asked Art. Dr Rambo said; "I can answer that one. TBRBC is going to use them for evangelism and outreach. I got the idea from a church in the next county. They have a baptismal pool shaped like a Harley Davidson motor cycle. Everytime they baptize someone flames shoot out of the tail pipes when the baptismal candidate comes up out of the water. They have had great results with youth outreach. An added bonus that they had not expected was that last year alone they baptized 863 Hell's Angels. Some of them were baptized 3 times when the church had Rayley Plith for revival."

"We are going to put a baptismal pool in a circus ring outside TBRBC in the parking lot. We are going to add a little extra excitement to the event. Before the baptismal candidate steps into the pool the elephants are going to spray water on them from their trunks. Kind of like a pre-baptismal ceremony. After the candidate is actually baptized and comes up from the water then the lion will roar just like the one does at the beginning of those Hollywood movies."

There was a long silence within the whole group. Finally, Gene M. Bridges said; "Dr. Rambo will you come in the tent? I want to buy you a Latte and talk to you for a moment." Rufus said; "I am hungry after that long trip. Let's all go in and I will buy everyone some ice cream." Ronnie Duke started to jump off the elephant. Ben saw him and yelled; "Ronnie Duke, how many Fig Newtons have you had?" Two bags, this one is my third." Ben looked at Rufus and said; "Ronnie Duke has to stay out of the tent today." Rufus agreed and told his nephew to stay upon the elephant and he would bring him some ice cream later.

Everyone went into the tent. Ben started serving everyone their orders. Ice cream would come later for desert. It was about this time that my four bulldogs, Calvin, Luther, Bruce and Springsteen got out of the fence and came walking down the road toward the tent. When Luther saw the lion, he went nuts. He charged the trailer. Bruce, Springsteen and Calvin quickly followed after him. The bulldogs started to climb up on the trailer. Ronnie Duke yelled at the dogs to leave his lion alone. He started throwing Fig Newtons at them. He saw this wasn't stopping them so he started to climb down off the elephant to defend his lion from my bulldogs. He got off the elephant's head onto the top of the lion's cage. As he started down the cage, he stepped on the latch on the cage door. The door fell open. The bulldogs started in after the lion and the lion came out after the bulldogs. A great fight started. Then the lion saw an opening on the tent. He probably thought it was a cave.

You guessed it, He ran into the tent with the bulldogs right behind him and Ronnie Duke right behind them. Marty and Art saw them coming first. Marty started to jump over the grill. Art grabbed him and said; Not this time." Art took out his Swiss Army knife and cut right through the tent and he, Marty, and Jason Sampler along with Rufus went right out through the hole.

The lion jumped upon the table where Kevin and I were. He tried to take a bite of Kevin's BBQ. Kevin hit him with his hockey stick, grabbed his BBQ and Latte and started out the door. I said, "Now you have made him mad." I started out after Kevin. The lion clawed at me and ripped my fishing vest and knocked off my FREE WADE baseball cap. My bulldogs came to the rescue and took up my offence with the lion. As I went out the door of the tent I grabbed Ronnie Duke, put my hand firmly over his mouth and ran as fast as I could.

Gene M Bridges and Bob Rambo never moved. They were so deep in conversation that it was the next day before they realized what had happened.

Ben and CB were the last ones out of the tent before it fell in. Ben came around the counter and jumped on CB's back and reminiscent of Forest Gump, yelled "RUN, CB, RUN." CB realized that he now had a true opportunity to be like Tom Hanks. He shot out of the tent faster than Elijah ran to Jezreel.

The lion must have been hungry. He took off after them because Ben smelled like ham, Spam and onions. (What could smell better?) The bulldogs were running after them all. They headed in the directions of Greensboro. ABP picked up the story and naturally got it wrong. Due to the fact that CB had been letting his hair grow out to look like Tom Hanks and he was running so fast the ABP news reporter saw his hair flowing in the wind and mistook him as an old white maned lion with a monkey on his back being chased by a younger bobbed-tailed lion and four bulldogs, all headed toward Greensboro.

The news was picked up by the RBTS staff. They told President Bishop. President Bishop grabbed his big game rifle and said; "Let's go." "Two lions and an ape on the way to Greensboro will be the beginning of a good day."

Disclaimer: Again, I must remind all readers that this parable is just for fun. Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves. As Villa Rica, my goal is just that-- for us to get away from the seriousness of life for just one moment and grin in spite of it all.

I truly love everyone mentioned or alluded to in this story, if not I would not dare to mention them.

Villa Rica

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Memphis 30 Visit Blog Town

I was sitting in the Local Cafe yesterday drinking my high test and eating a ham and onion sandwich. Gathered at the table with me were Pastor Bob Rambo of TBRBC and YP (the young plumber we are trying to get re-instated with the denomination. He had been sent home from the foreign field for working with CMA plumbers to install new water facilities in regions that had never had facilities of any kind much less the "Good New" kind. His Regional Director had told him he could not work with anyone who had not MARKED his LAND with our denomination only. YP questioned this and was sent home, branded as unfit to plumb for us anymore.) Also with us was Roscoe Bigalow and his son, Ronnie Duke. They had been to a Little League game and were celebrating with hot fudge cake and ice cream. I was eyeing Ronnie Duke with a worried eye. He had already eaten three peices and was working on the fourth. He was turning a pale shade of green but not slowing down at all. He had fudge all over his face and running down his Little League uniform.

I love eating ham and onion sandwiches, especially the way Merle makes them here at the Local Cafe. I was having trouble, though, eating with Ronnie Duke sitting across from me. I kept having visions of a chocolate volcano erupting.

Another negative was the fact that Kevin Bussey was "piled up" in the booth where I usually hold court. He had his hockey stick with him which he carries everywhere he goes to remind people not to be hypocrites. He was drinking a latte from Merle's new machine. In addition to that he was eating Merle's famous 32 ounce BBQ sandwich. He had BBQ sauce all over his face.

This just hurt the joy of eating my ham and onion sandwich even more. He was also being eyed by three people in the booth with him with great distain. Dorcas Hawker, Wes Kenney and Jeff R. Young were with him but they were not eating. They were fasting for the IMB meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were just drinking water. Kevin would look up from his BBQ and grin through the sauce from time to time and say: "I promise I am starting my fast on Monday." With that said; he chewed off another bite of BBQ and grinned again. Sister Dorcas said she was thinking about suing him for assault with a food substance. Jeff asked her if that was possible and Wes said; "Legal or not, just do it." I chimed in with Wes and said; "I will pay the legal fees, just do it." I looked back at Ronnie Duke and decided to give up on my sandwich.

I decided I had better leave, before Ronnie Duke exploded and go over to the Triablogue Theological Library to read for awhile. I picked up my copy of the Washington Post and started for the door after leaving a ten spot on the counter for Merle.

To my surprise in walked Art Rogers, Marty Duren, Wade Burleson, Ben Cole, Tom Ascol, RoyHargove, C B Scott, Jason Sampler, Wiley Drake and other folks. The group of 30 included both men and women. I had expected to see Art, Marty, Wade and Ben due to the fact that they all live on the same street in Blog Town that I do. I sometimes see these other folkes from time to time in my travels and I have always enjoyed the fresh brilliance of Wiley Drake at the annual Convention. He is always on the cutting edge of ministry and has probably handed out more "cups of cold water" in the name of Jesus than anyone I know.

I said hello to these folks and so did all the others that were already there with the exception of Ronnie Duke who was asking his daddy to buy him some Baby Ruth candy bars because he felt that they would make him hit more home runs.

I thought to myself; "Babe Ruth in all his indulgence never ate like this kid."

Merle asked the new comers for their orders. Ben Cole asked for a Latte with about a dozen additives in it. Merle mumbled something about "another hippie freak" as he wrote down the order. Ben started to respond to Merle but C B Scott rapped him on the head and said,"Remember all of the repenting you did in Memphis." Everyone gave an order except a couple of guys who told Merle that he could just give them whatever was pre-ordained for them to have. Merle never missed a beat and said; "Look, I am a Nazarene, therefore, I live day by day. Nothing is pre-ordained here except a 14" frying pan if people give me problems, so just give me a proper order. What will it be?"

At this point, Wade said to me; " Villa, what did you have?" "I had a ham and onion sandwich. Merle makes the best ones in the USA." Wade looked at Merle and said; "Merle, let me, in the spirit of cooperation, order a ham and onion sandwich for everyone in the place." Wes, Sister Dorcas and Jeff declined the offer due to their fast. Kevin said, "Sure and put some BBQ sauce on mine, Merle." With that he grinned at those in his booth. They glared back and Sister Dorcas promised to have him in court within 30 days.

Ronnie Duke walked over to Wade and asked; "Sir, may I have one also?" Wade smiled and said; "Sure son, there is room at the table for a Little Leaguer also." I looked at Wade and said; "Wade, you know not what you do."

Merle served everyone with the exception of Sister Dorcas, Wes, Jeff and me. Everyone was eating ham and onion sandwiches and drinking sweet tea except for Ben Cole who was drinking a Latte with his sandwich. Merle served him last and mumbled something about "hippies" while putting his food on the table. I could not hold out any longer, so I asked them how the Memphis Summit had gone. Art stated that they had developed what they called the "Memphis Declaration." Basically, as a group, they committed to repent of their sin against any and all to whom they have wrongly offended. Specifically, they repented toward God for failing Him in being what He had called them to be.

I looked at them and questioned; "No motions, No resolutions, No sermons, No call for terminations of officers, No nominations, not even one?" "No, not one" said Marty Duren.

"You just repented and called for accountability?" "Yes" responded several of the group.

"Praise the Lord," I said. "That is what I have been seeking for a long time. We need to repent in both an individual and corporate fashion before the Lord. How about we all pray right now? Let's just have a prayer meeting right here. Let's pray that YP is re-instated so he can plumb and work with the people he needs to in order to get the job done."

Merle came across the counter and said; "I will join you if you don't mind praying with a Nazarene." Tom said; "Sure, no problem." Wiley chimed in with; "I pray with all kinds of people everyday. I can pray with you, Merle."

What a prayer meeting we had. It reminded me of a Brush Arbor meeting. Just as Wade, Marty and Ben were trying to determine who was going to be the last "A-mener," you guessed it. Ronnie Duke began to "HURL CHUNKS OF THE PROJECTILE TYPE."

Jeff hit the door first, but stopped and said "after you Sister Dorcas." Sister Dorcas looked back at Roscoe Bigalow and said, "I am going to sue you for loading a lethal weapon in a public place, Roscoe."

Ben, Marty and Art jumped over the counter and out of a window over the grill. As Art went over the grill he scorched his backside and sang out, "I knew I should not have imitated Elvis while in Memphis by singing: Hunka, Hunka, Burning Love. This must be a judgment on me." Tom, C B, Jason, and Roy went out the side door. C B looked at Tom and said; "Surely, this was not pre-ordained." Tom said; "I will address this later in THE FOUNDERS JOURNAL, right now I have got to get a bath." Wes and everybody else went out the front door behind Jeff. Kevin Bussey came out last with Wade's plate in his hand . He said; "Wade, if you are not going to eat this, can I have it?" Wade said; "Kevin, in the most willing spirit of cooperation that I have ever uttered let me say, you may have not only my sandwich but also my french fries."

The only people left in the Local Cafe were Ronnie Duke who was continuing to hurl chuncks of onion, ham, Baby Ruths, hot fudge cake and ice cream; Roscoe who was trying to catch him and Merle who was chasing both Bigalows with his frying pan.

Ben Cole in his ever present refusal to be defeated by anything gathered the group together. He stated; "brothers and sisters we have just been persecuted by a chunking, projectiling, demon dressed in a Little League uniform, spewing filth and abomination at us all. Let me declare here and now that this is the second Diaspora. Let us go forth from Blog Town and share not only the results of the Memphis Summit but also the fact that persecution has already begun even before we got home from Memphis. Let us not be fearful. We must shout from the roof tops: 'Repent one and all for we are certainly soiled.' Now, someone give me a paper towel."

The reason for the above parable is just to have fun. I do not believe that having fun is sinful as long as it is clean and wholesome.

Let me also say, I am more than joyful with the results of the work of the Memphis 30 during the Memphis Summit. Our need in the SBC is repentance both individually and corporately. I have been saying this constantly since starting my blog. I, for one, am happy with the outcome and praising God. The Memphis 30 are my heroes. They did what they did knowing they would receive grief from friend and foe alike, but did it anyway. I hope what they did is repeated throughout the whole SBC.

When you get a chance come by my place in Blog Town and I will take you down to the Local Cafe and buy you a ham and onion sandwich, right after Merle gets the place cleaned up, that is.

Villa Rica