Wednesday, January 29, 2014

23. War of the crosses

"Hey, look mom!" shouted the boy from the back seat of the motorcycle on its leisurely Sunday morning ride.  There was a Fall chill, the air was crisp, and he was well bundled up.

The woman rider took her eyes momentarily off the road, and, following the boy's pointing finger over her shoulder, saw a white church with a stark blue cross mounted flat on the steep slate-grey front roof.

"What?" she shouted back.

"That cross, it is made of solar panels!"

"Really?  This I've gotta see."

She pulled her black and red Kawasaki Ninja over on to the shoulder of the semi-rural road, dismounted, removed her helmet, with the boy doing likewise and, hand-in-hand, they walked the hundred yards back to the "Jefferson Hills Catholic Church", as the sign at the entrance of the drive way said.  The sign also contained the message:  "THOU SHALT NOT KILL MOTHER EARTH".

Up close, they saw that the cross was in the final stages of making, still with workmen dangling precariously from the steeple.  There were dozens of cars in the parking lot, and people at the front entrance received by a kind-faced, grey-haired blackman in his priestly attire.  

After all the people had gone in, and the man was about to close the heavy oak doors, the boy said to him, "Hi, I just want to tell you I think your cross is cool."

"Ah, young man, yes, it will keep the church cool in the summer by powering the air conditioners," the man said with a warm smile.

"I mean the idea is cool," said the boy seriously.

"What is cool about it?"

"Well, it will help to slow down global warming."

"You believe in global warming, son?"

"I have lots of friends who don't, but my mom convinced me of it."

"Wise mom."  He extended his hand to the woman.  "I'm Rev. Robert Lowry.  My parishioners call me Father Bob.  Nice to meet you and this enlightened young man."

"Nice to meet you, Reverend.  I am Shannon Stone."

"Hi, Father Bob, I'm Trevor."  And they shook roundly on it.

"Why don't you come in?"

"Uh, thank you, Reverend, but we're just riding by and saw your solar cross.  Perhaps another time," said the woman somewhat coolly.

"What my mom means is that we don't go to church," said Trevor matter-of-fact-ly.

"May I ask why?"

"My grampa and gramma go to church all the time, and one of my uncles is a preacher, and they are the most bigoted people I know.  And my cousin is a school yard bully too."

"Trevor, you can say whatever you want to say, but watch how you say it," said Shannon quietly.

"Oh, there is nothing more refreshing than blunt honesty," said the reverend.  "What church do your folks go to, young man?"

"The Southern Baptist church down in Texas."

"Well, all churches are not the same.  In fact, there are lots of differences among them."

"But the Catholic Church burns people alive at the stake, doesn't it."

"Trevor, that's enough!  I'm sorry, Reverend, we'd better be riding on," said Shannon.

"No, it is okay.  Yes, Trevor, the Catholic Church used to do that, but that was several centuries ago.  It no longer does it."

"My dad says that he couldn't belong to a religion with that kind of history."

"I understand.  I used to feel that way.  But I have come to see it as someone getting lost in the woods.  Now he is back on the path again.  Anyway, the service is about to begin.  Next time you ride by, please feel free to knock on this door."

"Thanks again.  Good bye, Reverend."

"Bye, Father Bob!" 

The next Saturday, Shannon and Trevor were watching the evening news when they were horrified by a story titled "WAR OF THE CROSSES".  In the background was Rev. Bob's church with its solar cross faintly visible in the flickering fire light which emanated from the burning cross in the foreground surrounded by men in white robes with arms raised forward at 45 degree angles.

"Let this be a warning to this church, and all churches that may consider following its ungodly example of sun-worship!  And damn those who poison our children with their evil global warming lies!" roared the masked man at the TV camera. 

Then the camera panned over to the front door of the church, and there stood Father Lowry, alone, defiant, resolute, and black.  None of the white-robed men approached him.  When the reporter and TV camera did, the Catholic priest said, "It is time for Christianity to come fully awake to our crimes against nature and against humanity, and own up to our responsibility of causing severe global environment damage.  It is time for all concerned, and that is all who breath, and love, to join forces in healing Mother Earth herself."

"What should the relationship between religion and science be?" asked the reporter.

"The relationship between religion and science should be one of Holy Matrimony.  It is the only way for us to perceive Universal Truth and conceive in our mind the Meaning of Life."  

"What about evolution?"

"Evolution is God's way of Creation."

"Is Global warming a hoax or real?"

"Global warming is not only real, but coming at us like a freight train."

"Is it caused by human activities or just a natural phenomenon?"

"Both.  Global warming has always been here, which is why we are standing in 70 degrees plus weather rather than minus 243 Fahrenheit as on the dark side of the moon.  By Global Warming, we are referring to the EXTRA warming above the natural norm, and this extra warming is caused by man."

"Your Solar Cross, what would you say in its defense?"

"As I have said before, the relationship between religion and science should be marriage.  The Solar Cross is an offspring of this marriage, with its planet-saving physical structure and Earth-healing spirit."

As it happened, this incident was a shot across the bow of the Reverend Lowry's solar ship.  The next shot would be meant to sink.

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