Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What To Live For

'"So can I, maybe, have a set of wings?"  Larry asked.  "I've always wanted wings since I was a little kid."

"I know I know,"  Rick said.  "I want to be really, really fit and strong so I can run marathons."

Omega laughed a little bit.  "I don't think evolution works that way.  And God rarely gives us things that we can do for ourselves.  Rick,  if you want to be fit enough to run marathons, you can do that yourself.  It takes eight or ten or maybe 20 generations to begin to grow a tail or some itty bitty wings.  Maybe more, Larry.  The thing that is clear to me is that God is still at work, helping plants and animals adapt to their environments, and God is still at work with humans."

The gang was sitting on the edge of a lake, looking at the night stars, waiting for the next thing to happen.  It was late at night, and getting later.

"I think God is more interested in getting us to be better humans,"  Tim said.  "Maybe we love more or we take care of more people."

"So, the history is this,  and Marcus, lots of this hasn't happened for you just yet."  John-John starts to teach.   "The early Greeks figured out democracy, but they only figured it out for some people.  The Jews were the people who taught everybody about one God,  but it was a God who could blast whole populations of people who lived and worshiped different gods or more than one.  So, there was some room improvement there."

"When Jesus came along, he focused on God's love for everybody, a new idea, and that started lots of churches, and out of those churches came schools and hospitals and the hospitality of the monks and the nuns,"

"Omega," Larry asked.  "Did you know Jesus?"

"Yep,"  Omega said.

"Then the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 A.D.  which required that a nation, England,  follow the rule of law rather than the whim of a king.  It was the foundation for the laws of lots of European nations.  Now, people can't imagine living a life without law and order,"  John-John explained.

"It was the basic for our own government and the Constitution,"   Rick took it a step further.  "That was an immense step in human rights and dignity for all.  It was based on Democracy, but it took it a lot further than the Greeks.  It was Democracy for everybody.  Although we did have that slavery thing going.  That blew up with the civil war and slavery was banned forever within our borders.  More human rights and equality came to fruition in the 1950s with a grand focus on Civil Rights."

"So you've been improving, growing in law and human dignity for a long time,"  Omega said.  "It's a hard, hard fight to make things right,  but somebody righteous said this,  'The arc of history bends toward justice.'  It's not only beautiful, it's right.  Humans have gotten better, stronger, smarter, more law abiding, more generous, more worthy.  You kids have a lot to live for."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Ribbit in Time

"So," Larry said.  "How do you believe in evolution, when nobody has actually seen an animal 'evolving'?"

"We've seen the outcomes of animals evolving,"  Julie said.  "Little bird that have fat beaks and can't get into little cracks in the wood to get the bug they want for lunch.  Couple of generations late, maybe ten or twelve, the beaks get skinnier and sharper.  That's sorta of how it works."

"But," Marcus said.  "We didn't have a theory of evolution in Rome.  But we figured out that you had to grow and change, or else you died.  Or your species did.  That much was pretty clear."

"Who says,"  Larry continued.  "That we're as evolved as people are gonna get.  That's we're the best we can be.   Or ever will be."

"Then we're in big trouble," Cheryl said,  grinning a little bit.

"I think my Dad," Omega said.  "loves you however you come, fat beak and all."

Everybody was on an island in a little river, more of a creek.  They'd been able to wade, and they made a camp fire and were toasting marshmallows.  Now they were sitting around the fire as the day dimmed into dusk.  Larry looked at the sand beside him.  He'd sensed movement and as he looked to see what it was, he heard a little croak.  A little frog was crouched in the sand beside him, looking at Larry with big eyes and a wild tongue that shot out a grabbed flies.

"So, you needed a long tongue, more than you needed wings or an adult tail?"  Larry asked.

"Ribbit,"  the little frog said.

"I remember a song from church camp when I was a little kid,"  Cheryl said.

"What that?"  Larry asked.

"My froggie he am a queer bird.  He ain't got not tail almost hardly.  He run and he yump and he land on his sit, where he ain't got no tail almost hardly," Cheryl warbled.

"Ribbit.  Ribbit."

And the little frog jumped into the darkening shadows along the bay, leaving little ripples where he had been..

"I wonder what he might  need next?"  Larry asked.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Happened, and When Did It Happen? Story 4

"Some parts of this life are one big puzzle,"  Rick said.

"Whaddiya mean?"  Omega said.

"Well, you've got great Christians who don't believe in evolution, and you've got other great Christians who think evolution is a very important clue in how things occur out in the wild." Suze said.  "I'm sorta confused by that too."

"Yeah," Larry said.  "It's like Alpha did everything in seven days, in one big whump,  and then he didn't do anything else.  There's been a change or two in the mean time.  Was he happy with that?  Did he have any part of that?"

Marcus said,  "In my Africa, there are millions of animals.  Million and kazillions of 'em.  Did Alpha design each one of them?  Give them different lives and different things to eat?  Like you either get snakes for lunch or maybe coconuts.  I mean, who knows?

The kids were setting in the backyard of the old, abandoned church.  It had somehow got put back together,  like a dream.  They were sitting around a fire pit, eating hot dogs, and drinking rootsy pops.  It was the time of night when the big questions came out.  Ones that kids like to think about.

"Well, I don't have any trouble with little birds who have a beak  that is the wrong size and the wrong shape to get at it's favorite worm, and in time, the beak begins to get longer and leaner, until, one day, it fits exactly in the worm hole,"  Tim said.  "To me, that's a God thing.  Using  the available biology to get where you need to go."

"Yeah, I think so too."  Julie said.

"It's like you've been doing something wrong for your whole life, and then one day, you understand where you went wrong, and how to fix it,"  Cheryl said.  "So you do.  It's like God finally give you the tools to fix it."

"So, Omega.  Is your Dad still at work on us?"  Larry asked.  "That seems to me to be the big question,"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Big, Globby, Sloppy, Sleepy Monsters

The used-to-be ghosts grew taller and stronger,  more handsome by the moment.  But there were moans,  rattles, whispers, and burps filtering through the stadium.

"We didn't know we were wonderful kids.  We were just trying to get the goods and get out.   These sounds make us little nervous," Jeremy said.  "We didn't know that being Children of Alpha was a big, big help, and that being good-hearted was important.  Just didn't know."

Omega smiled at them and they begin to glow in the light of love, health, direction, talent and learning.  The ghosts actually had a future ahead of them, granted their future was in a very different place.

The noises got louder and louder.  Out of the corner of his eye Petey spotted a big, globby, sloppy, sleepy monster with one eye.  And then another, and then another.   Thousands were climbing out from under the seats, slurping and burping their way toward Omega, and the whole gang.  The monsters were greyish,  flat, circles, more like sting rays.

"What are you guys?  Tim asked.

"We're the monsters under the bed.  Sometimes we hide out in closets too.  We're pretty scary," the first monster said.  And he burped.

"Really?"  Petey said.  "Are you out to get us?"

"If we can catch you. . . "  the first monster said.

"Fat chance!"  Omega said.  And he held out his hands and bolts of lightning flew out of his finger tips, and landed on each of the monsters.  Petey thought they were going to have fried monster for dinner.
But each little blast of lightning changed the monsters into baby angels.  "Putti" the Italians call them.  They were little fat baby angels, and they began to play and tumble over each other.  And the burps and slurps turned into the sweet giggles and a few coos.  Love.

Soon, all the monsters were turned into babies with wings.

Cheryl, Suzie, and Julie were in love with the angels and kissed their little feet and sang songs to them.
The football stadium turned into a great, big playpen for little angels.

Alpha turned the bad monsters into baby angels, and the ghostie boys into tall, strong, talented knights of love and heart.  Omega said, "We get to have adventures, and we get to meet people, and  things more or less turn out for the best.  Now I'm gonna take them all home and check in with Alpha.  Try not to get into too much trouble until I get back."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Your Real and True Self

The stadium is dark and silent.  Omega and the gang, and the three tag-along ghosts are standing in the center of the field.  It's completely silent, odd for such a raucous place on a Saturday afternoon.

Then, almost silently comes the fluff of wings.  The sound, muffled and dignified, erupts until it sounds like the sky is filled with wings.   And then they appear.  Thousands of angels appear, hovering in midair.

They are a different kind of angel.  Most of the angels the gang thought about were sweet, womanly, and ethereal.  These angels were men, masculine, massive angels with golden shields, scarlet capes, and a 50 foot wingspan.  They were the ones singing Hosannah, swells of gorgeousness.

Omega stood up, front and center.  "Why are you here?"

"We are here to escort our three boys home—if they wish to come," the angel said.  "Do you wish to find your real and true selves and your real and true home?" he asked the three ghosts.

"Well, yeah, but,"  Harry said.

"Yes, or no," the angel said.  "Be very clear."

"Take a chance on yes," Omega coaxed.

"Yes."  Harry said.

"Yes," Buddy said.

"Yes, Sir!"  Jeremy said.

The three boys were outlined in silver, as the whispy, flimsy, greyish ghostly part of themselves faded, and the flesh and blood part of themselves, grew more and more solid until the boys were taller, more muscular, and, by the looks of things, utterly handsome lads, whom they could have been had they achieved their real, true selves.

They were magnificent.

"Do you wish to be forgiven for all of the mean, naughty things you have done?"  Omega asked.

"Yep," said Buddy.   All of us do.  I think that doing mean, naughty things changed who we were."

"Good thing," Petey said, "that when you know how to do better, you do better."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Scares A Ghost.

"Anybody remember the ghosts?"  Tim was huffing and puffing.

There's nothing quite like having your  own tornado dismantle the very church you were standing in, leaving nothing but your self intact.  That spurred a hasty retreat.  The kids grabbed Marcus who didn't know what had happened. They raced to the nearest cliff outside of town and hid behind an immense rock.

"Rocks, I understand,"  Marcus said.

Up strolled Omega, Petey, and John-John, calm as the dawn.

"Did that make you all nervous?"  John-John asked.

"Oh, yeah,"  Larry said.  "What happened to the ghosts? Did we leave them behind?"

"Nope," Harry said.  "We were right behind you the whole time.  It takes a lot to scare a ghost.  That did it."

"Is there some place we could hide?"  Buddy said.

"How about the football stadium?"  Larry said.  "It's big, there are lots of places to hide, and the whole thing is set in concrete."

Off they go.  Marcus is still completely confused.  But Tim and Rick keep everybody together, even the  ghosties that are not entirely visible.  In about half an hour, they had found an unlocked door and had squirmed their way into the heart of the stadium.

The kids, Omega and his team, and the ghosts found a place on the football  field, and sat down, knees to knees.  They all felt safer when they could see everybody.  Even the ghosts sat, or softly drifted, inside the circle of knees.

The low rumbles started slow, more of a vibration, than a song.  It kept building, and kept building, until the whole stadium was buzzing with electricity.  The energy coalecsed into a sound, a lovely, multi-harmony rhythm, a song.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.  

A song of Praise.

"No ghost mocks Alpha,"  Jeremy whispered.  "We know better."

Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.

"Doesn't sound like anybody is gettin' fried,"  Tim said.

"Alpha doesn't fry people.  He tries to save everybody.  If there is one shred of goodness, one hint of a soft heart,  one breath that expresses a cares for anybody else. . ."  Omega said.

"So do people get fried?  At all?"  Julie wanted to know.

"The Fallen Angel of Dark Justice fries some people, but those people have to be really, really evil for a long, long time,"  Petey explained.  "They have to know that they are wrong-headed, doing bad, bad things—and not care.  And then, if they figure out they've been on the wrong, dark, sinister side of things, and try to be better, well, it may go better for them.  If they are just pretending, because if there's thing Alpha is good at, it's reading the human heart, then the pretending goes against them."

Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.

"But if there is a sliver of good within you,"  John-John said.  "Maybe a day when you were kind to a kitty-or a kid; maybe you had a life that was miserable but you tried really hard to get even a few things right; maybe your poor heart loved, even a little bit.  Then you stand a chance."

It was one o'clock in the morning, and the place, except where the street light lit up the interior was as black as the far side of the moon.  And then a strange thing started to occur; the objects inside the stadium began to glow, to shine a little bit.  After awhile, it looked like the interior of the stadium was consumed with fire, except for this:  Nothing burned up, nothing was harmed by the heat.  It flared into a stadium-wide flame, floor to ceiling.

"It's a purification,"  John-John murmured.  "I wonder what needed cleaned up in here?"

"What about us?"  asked Harry.  "We're still really nervous around fire and flames.  And this is coming too dang close for comfort."

Hosannah.  Hosannah.  Hosannah.

The Hosannahs made the concrete floor vibrate, in fact, the whole place felt alive with a non-earthly energy.  Big, big, big energy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Good Enough Ghosts

"Do you guys know Alpha?"  Harry asked.
"I'm part of his family," Omega said.  "Why?"
"We had a chance to go visit him when we died, but we didn't go,"  Buddy sighed.  "Hindsight. . . "
"Why didn't you go?"  Omega wondered.
"We  thought we could still get girls and have big fun, but we were wrong,"  Jeremy said.  "Oh, there are girls in our dimension, but I gotta admit, they are sort of creepy.   OK, they are really creepy."
"So we just try to scare the girls on the earth,"  Buddy said.  "Scare 'em real good."

"You guys all got girls,  how'd you do that?"  Jeremy asked.
"Yep,"  Larry said.  "Good ones too."
"How'd you do that?"  Buddy said.
"You gotta be a good guy," Tim said.
"Gotta be nice."
"Gotta be a love."
"Gotta be good."

"That kinda stuff?"  Buddy asked.
"Yep," said Rick.  "All that stuff."

"We thought all you had to be was cool."
"We thought all you had to be was sexy."
"We thought all you had to be was cute."

'You wish,"  Larry said.  "OK, it does help if you are cute."  Larry lifted both his eyebrows, a tease,
and grinned.

"Girls don't like it if you are weak."
"Girls don't like it if you are mean."
"Girls don't like it if you are dumb and lazy."

"Mainly,"  Omega said.  "You have to be alive.  That's basic."

"Oh, all right," Harry said.

Then a roaring sound reached the basement windows and rattled the window frames.  The crew walked upstairs to see what was happening.   The sound of the wind got bigger and bigger, and then bigger again.  Bigger.  The old church began to rattle and cracks appeared in the walls.  Then a turret fell off, and a steeple or two, the front foyer.  Bricks began to fly in every direction at once.  The sound was horrendous.  The screaming heebee jeebees.  The sounds of nails being  pulled out of boards left chills and goose bumps on Larry's arms.  Tim's tummy was queasy.     Hymnals flew every which way.  Pews, or those long benches, flew upwards toward the ceiling, then crashed back towards the floor.

The every thing went quiet.  An eerie, creepy quiet.

The kids walked outside to see what had happened to the neighborhood.

Nothing had happened to the neighborhood.  The tornado had only one landing point.
The church.  The half block where the church stood was the only parcel to have damage.

"Did you do that?"  Omega asked, indicating the three teen ghosts,

"We can rattle tea cups."
"And we can squeaky open a door."
"We can moan and grown in the furnace pipes."

"But, we can do that,"  Harry said.  "We're not good enough ghosts."