Once upon a time, Good was sitting with Lonely at the local coffee bar. Good spent over ten dollars for the two overly sweet and overly caffeinated coffees and a couple biscottis. They talked about how life is hard. Lonely was grateful because this kind of honest conversation was rare. Good was grateful to be considered adequate company. Although life is hard, the conversation was a break from the harshness of it all. When their conversation ended, Good asked Lonely if they could meet again next week. Lonely agreed, leaving Lonely something to look forward to.
Meanwhile, Right counted out, to the penny, the tithe for next Sundayâ€™s contribution. It had to be precisely ten percent. Taking the time count it out twice was worth it since a mistake was not acceptable. This week precision was particularly important since Right was to speak at the communion table on giving. It would be dishonest to speak of the need of the tithe without being able to, in all humility of course, confess to the congregation that tithing was indeed what Right was doing and had been doing all along.
Good used to do church three times a week, but abandoned the Wednesday and Sunday evening portion of the regime to free up time to develop relationships. Good took a walk with Depressed. Depressed had a slough of troubles that Good had no idea what to do with, but somehow just listening to them helped Depressed. As their friendship took over the weeks, the problems Depressed had got worse, but Good introduced Depressed to Hope and things seemed to get a little better. Now the three of them meet together weekly.
Right, being ever so diligent, not only did the table talk on Sunday, but taught class on Wednesday night as well. Right taught about how people need to trust God in everything. People who doubt merely lack the faith in God to whoosh away their doubts. â€śYes,â€ť Right said, â€śpeople will have doubts, but those people just need to be encouraged with the truth. God is in control of everything. Everyone knows this, but people sometimes are too weak to really believe it.â€ť People in the class gave their appropriate nods of affirmation, but Distressed had some secret self-doubt. God didnâ€™t seem to be in control of everything. Distressed determined it was a faith issue that needed to be resolved. So, Distressed asked Right about it after class. Right prayed over Distressed that God would wipe out doubt. Right used some big words that Distressed did not understand, which gave Distressed another opportunity to feel inferior. Distressed drove home with three rowdy kids in tow to an apartment in a dangerous neighborhood. Rent was due in a week, but the money was already spent. Distressed parented alone.
Good and Right met Sunday after worship service for lunch. Right asked Good about Wednesday eveningâ€™s absence. Good told Right all about Depressed and their conversation. Good talked about how exciting it was to watch Depressed meet Hope and the relationship they are starting to develop. Right was not impressed and wanted to know why Depressed was not invited to church. Good tried to explain that Hope was a church member and since people are the church, that actually Depressed did experience Church. Right was disappointed in Hope as well as Good and is exactly not fond of the word experience since it conjures of relativistic theologies which are contrary to the pure orthodoxy of the ages.
â€śWhy do you put so much stock in your experience?â€ť asked Right while cutting through a steak.
â€śWhich would you choose to have taken from you, your words or your actions?â€ť asked Good.
â€śYour theoretical questions are meaningless. More relativistic drivel,â€ť responded Right as he brought his fork full of steak to his mouth.
Good grabbed Rightâ€™s wrist, his bite of steak inches from his watering mouth, â€śWould you rather eat this bite or have me tell you what it tastes like?â€ť
Right resisted Goodâ€™s hand for a few seconds, but then relented allowing the fork to rest on the plate. Right laughed with mouth closed - a little nervous, a little embarrassed. â€śYouâ€™re the Pied Piper, and many will follow you. It saddens me to see how little substance you have, yet how many will believe it to be weighty.â€ť
â€śYou almost sound interested in what I have,â€ť said Good playfully.
â€śAre you threatening me with inclusion?â€ť
â€śIs that so bad?â€ť
â€śI canâ€™t believe you would ever think I would be like you,â€ť said Right sternly.
â€śIâ€™m not so sure you can help it.â€ť
â€śDo you not drive people mad with your banter?â€ť
â€śGoodness does not create madness; it reveals it.â€ť
â€śEnough of this! How am I supposed to enjoy this steak with you meddling with my mind?â€ť
â€śWhy eat the steak? Donâ€™t you know enough about it without the experience?â€ť
â€śCheck please,â€ť Right said waving down the Service.
â€śToo late, I already took care of the check,â€ť said Good
â€śNo, I canâ€™t let you buy my steak,â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t think you have a choice. Itâ€™s already paid for and there is nothing you can do about it.â€ť
Service comes to the table and tries to explain to Right that the bill is paid in full. Right insists on paying anyway. Service, caught in a bind, refuses to take Rightâ€™s money. Right becomes angry and attempts to stuff a wad of money in the Serviceâ€™s shirt pocket. Service, now insulted, moves out of the way and lets the money fall to the floor.
â€śThere, Iâ€™ve paid my bill,â€ť said Right.
â€śWhatâ€™s the matter with you, dude, the bill is paid. Youâ€™re kind of freaking me out.â€ť Service said, now kind of afraid of Right.
By now Right has made such a scene that everyone in the restaurant was taking a look to see what was all the commotion. Right looked around, trying to be invisible. He stood there, money at his feet, a spotlight lit him up.
â€śCome on,â€ť said Good reaching out with his hand trying to save Right, â€śletâ€™s get out of here.â€ť
Right brushed Goodâ€™s hand away and ordered Good to leave. Good left Right Alone.