I had just finished speaking to the congregation of The People’s Holy Church of the Gospel of the Bible (conveniently situated out on Highway 5). As Pastor Bob had requested, I had watched my language: Didn’t drop a single f-bomb, but I may have said “the brown word” once. I don’t really even consider it swearing anymore.
Most of the people had filed out. I had caught some mutterings as they were leaving.
“Why would he want us to stop going to church?”
“That doesn’t sound like what God would want.”
“And that bit about God approving of homosexuality? That can’t be right!”
“I’m glad we didn’t bring the kids. They would have found this upsetting.”
Well, I had really tried to lead the mules (more like sheep, really) to water. I can’t make them drink, unfortunately.
Pastor Bob seemed to be arguing with a small group of men at the back of the church while I was getting ready to leave. Finally, he threw his hands in the air as they approached me with short, fast, angry steps.
The shortest man (but with the biggest moustache; why would a church elder have a big porn star moustache?) seemed to be their spokesman. “We have a bone to pick with you, Prophet!” He said the last word with a sneer.
“Pick on, dude.”
“You’re writing The Late Scripture, but you encourage atheism. How can you still call yourself an atheist?”
“Too easy. I don’t follow any faith-based belief. I happen to have gotten shitfaced” – he winced at my use of the brown word – “with your god a few times, so he may actually exist.”
He huffed. “Well I talk to God daily, and I KNOW he exists!”
“No. You pray, and you have always believed in a magic man in the sky as your imaginary friend. That is faith-based. But I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you can find some wine around here, I would be happy to baptize you into my particular brand of atheism. However, you would have to commit to sleeping in on Sundays, and to never saying ‘God bless you’ in response to a sneeze. Do you think you can do that?”
His scowl got scowlier (Note: Is scowlier a word?). “I suppose that’s a joke. We don’t appreciate your humour. We are recommending to Pastor Bob that he does NOT pay whatever exorbitant fee you’re charging for speaking here tonight.”
I could have charged a fee? Damn it!
With that, the group turned as one and left the church. Bob sidled up to me. “It would have made my life easier if you hadn’t antagonized the church elders.”
“Fuck ‘em, Bob. You don’t need those ass-wagons.”
“What on Earth is an ass-wagon?”