ANTI/CHRISTIAN FICTION?- ALTERNATE OUTTING
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Its true I have no idea when I will enter the mainstream media. I have been trying for awhile but either the world wasn't ready for me yet or my plan of the moment was half-baked. Its all trial and error and, more importantly, timing but I get surges of urgency and I come up with fun ways of getting attention, this one is more of a lesson than a plan.
This town was packed with Christians of many denominations, an ideal place to make a scene.
My name is Ezra _____ and I am the owner of a Christian / New Age bookstore (it used to be just a Christian bookstore) here in _______ ___. I am also a reformed Christian; now I AM. The change happened 2 years ago today, I opened the store as usual, I did the chores and paperwork as usual, and it was an average slow day, so it was with some enthusiasm that I should see a scruffy young man with long hair walk in (I was taught to profile the non-conformists to witness to). He had a slight grin and when our eyes met he said, "Where's the End Times and/or fiction?"
I headed over to him and lead him to the specified shelf, a little wary now I inquired, "Can I help you with something?"
Without looking up the young man replied, "I'm looking for inconsistencies."
Thrown off by the contradiction in his appearance and demeanor I pried some more, "In what?"
"Inconsistencies between Left Behind and the Bible as well as the 3 dozen books you have here regarding AntiChrist, 666, Beast out of the sea, earth, the mark and so forth."
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Ada, uh I mean Mathew, glad to meet you." He reached up a hand and smile to me.
"So have you found any inconsistencies?"
"Well I've read most of these books, they are all pretty redundant so now its just logging the numerous spins, interpretations and theories. Its funny, I was watching TBN last night and the host had some prophecy guys on, the first was all about the pre trib and the host agreed fully, the second guest was post trib and the host again agreed fully, they are all talking out their ass - oops sorry!" Mathew had said "ass" as a little girl walked by, I didn't have to make a fuss.
"Well yes, there is a significant amount of disagreement within the church as to how it will all happen but we all agree these are the end times."
"WE? I beg to differ, a lot of preachers and pastors are afraid to bring it up!" Mathew exclaimed.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. I work here in this store and I see how popular this section has gotten lately, my opinion was based on sales."
"Can I ask you a hypothetical question?" Mathew inquired sincerely and then without pause continued, "What if The Christ himself (mental note: he did not say JESUS) walked in here and you recognized him without a shadow of a doubt and he asked for your help even though it may hurt your sales and estrange you from the christian community, would you help him?"
"I'm afraid I don't follow..."
"Look" he said impatiently, "How well has the Left Behind series been selling for ya?"
"Very well actually," I said with a bit of pride.
"Have you read it yet?"
"Yes I have"
"Are you going to be raptured?" Mathew asked with a glint in his eye. I was puzzled by this line of questioning, but he continued, "What if Christ told you that the authors of all these books have sinned?"
"I'd ask him to explain." I said defiantly.
He walked over to the Bibles, grabbed a NIV, opened it to the last page of Revelation and pointed:
"18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."
I understood instantly that it was true: Hal, Tim, and their contemporaries have taken away and added to, and Lord knows how many before them in antiquity. How could The Omega Code and its sequel - mere movies - do justice to the most inscrutable of prophesies and still translate into a profitable screenplay?
Mathew looked at me. "They call it a prosyletizing tool, its really the Disneyfication of prophecy."
"What?" I said.
"Meggido: Omega Code 2." He pointed to the store display. "Now Ezra, would you rather risk a loss of profits and estrangement from the church or the wrath of God? You are after all the one selling this crap, you are an accomplice in the crime."
Flustered by his interrogation, this did not feel hypothetical anymore; he was no longer smiling. I sheepishly asked, "How would I help him?"
"He wrote a book," Mathew paused, and then continued, "I wrote a book..." I sensed he was relieved at being able to speak as the Christ now, "that will enable all people to judge me according to my testimony, fulfillment of prophecy and fruit I have to give. The book will be disgusting, an abomination to most Christians because it requires discernment and digesting of more esoterica than what's found in this watered down fluff, which of course makes it 'evil'. "
"I see, you want me to stock your book?"
Mathew grinned with a happy satisfaction. "Bingo! Ya see, this book stands where it does not belong. If it were not for the advent of P.O.D. (Print On Demand) publishing it would not exist. No publishing house would accept an unedited book, much less one that discusses science, religion, politics and technology. Barnes & Noble was smart enough to get on the POD express, most small chains don't bother because these authors who go through POD are still deemed amateurish. In fact some of the best literature will come out of it because..."
I finished his thought, "...because most publishing houses reject manuscripts outright, and POD houses could care less about content."
"Exactly! I must say, Ezra, in our brief conversation here you have displayed, for a self professed Christian, a very open mind, but I don't expect you to go through with my plan until you order a copy and get the whole story."
"And if I don't agree with what you claim and say in the book?" I asked in order to really test him.
"Somehow our Father's will will be done, if not through faith - as is required in this situation now - then later through humility." he responded gently.
I raised a brow, amused. "So you wouldn't punish me?"
"You'd be punishing yourself," was his honest reply.
I paused a moment in thought and then asked, "Do you really need me to get popular? Can't you do a miracle or something?"
Nodding, he replied, "The miracles serve a critical function, to replace an antiquated infrastructure, their social influence is secondary although equally important. I do need someone to witness for me, as you know my own is invalidated by the obvious bias."
"I get it!" I exclaimed.
I hadn't fully bought his story... I was just going along to see where it went, but I ordered the book and read it. It was and is pretty good, as good as if not better than most of what I had on the shelves. So Mathew came to the store a week after we first met to lay down the plan.
Mathew had me arrange to have one of the authors of one of the prophecy books (it did not matter who) to come to my store to do a promotional book signing event. _______ agreed to do the event and a date was set, ads went up, the word was sent out.
The night of the event roughly 40 people showed up. The author did a little speech and signed some copies he'd sold. Not a minute into the Q&A, a young scruffy man abruptly stormed into the place (I grabbed my camcorder from under the desk and began recording), walked straight to the prophecy section and withdrew a Hefty garbage bag from a back pack slung over his shoulder. The young man then proceeded to fill up the bag. By now everyone in the store had focused on this disturbance and stood slack jawed curious. Right on cue I yelled, "EXCUSE ME, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
He yelled right back "WHAT WOULD SHIVA DO?"
His bag now full of the entire prophecy/fiction section, and the man now headed to the front door. A few men followed him out not sure if a crime had been committed, perhaps to get a license plate number. I maneuvered to get a better view of what was about to happen.
The man stood opposite the store, about 20 feet out into the parking lot. From his back pack he withdrew a can of lighter fluid and box of kitchen matches, a bible, two rolls of paper and a can of spray paint - and finally 6 road flares. He unrolled the rolls to reveal two templates and he taped them to the ground. Then he emptied the Hefty bag into a pile, arranging the 6 flares around the pile and templates. He sprayed the templates and removed them, revealing "WHAT WOULD SHIVA DO?" and "NEO TAO." At that point he started to preach old school style:
"The men who wrote these books know no more than you or I; they have tainted the written word so that you would fear and hate me. They say I will deceive you, but how could I if you're so certain of their eschatological treatises! If you know Gods plan already what use is discernment? You see, that's what they take from you - discernment. And now I take their lies!"
He then dumped the lighter fluid on the books and lit them.
A car pulled up in front of the store just a moment later. Mathew got in and threw a big cardboard box, a gross worth of HIS books, out the window as he sped off.
I put the camera away and went over to get the box. "WAIT!" some woman shouted, "It could be a bomb - call the police!"
Disregarding the warning, I tore open the box from Barnes & Noble exposing the literary contents. I picked them up, brought them in and restocked the empty shelves.
"What are you doing? You can't carry that book!" a customer huffed accusingly.
"I'm sorry Mrs._____, but that man, whoever he is, just torched about $700 worth of merchandise. How do you propose I cover that loss?" Mrs.______ just kinda shrugged her shoulders and left disgusted.
The next day this all made the papers, and the following Sunday it was the main topic of discussion. Three days later I sold the tape to three newscasts and a tabloid show. The church I had been attending gave me the cold shoulder for stocking that book, but new customers started coming in - because of all the free publicity I was getting.
Today Mathew asked me to tell the whole story - he did pull a Shiva. He destroyed my false beliefs and rebuilt a New Way.