About Me

My photo
Plano, Texas, United States
The Book, The Burial, by R. Penman Smith is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and directly from Tate Publishing. The Burial is a Spiritual Thriller with a dark twist and a redemptive outcome. The story springs out personal experience; ‘write what you know about’. Those who are comfortable with fantasy and are not afraid of the reality of the spiritual warfare inherent in Christian life will love this book.

Imagination is the faculty through which we discover the world around us, both the world we see, and that other unseen world that hovers on the fringe of sight. Love, joy and laughter, poetry and prose, are the gifts through which we approach that complex world. Through the gift of imagination we have stepped into an ever flowing river where the realm of Faerie touches Middle Earth.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Story from the Parish Bestiary

A Memoir: There many kinds of people in a parish church and all of them are in transition. Some are on their way to becoming saints, and others becoming quite the opposite. I give you Serpent Lady, an outwardly and moderately attractive business woman and a leader of one of our small groups.

            I can be a bit of a bulldog as well as a defender of lost and lonely sheep. Out of a legitimate concern I had invited the Serpent Lady to talk with me in my study because one of those lost and lonely sheep had expressed his grief that Serpent Lady had turned his small support group into a predatorial pack that fed upon juicy tidbits of carrion gossip. 

When I confront her I am quickly informed that it is none of my business, it is her group, her Church; meaning dismissively, not my Church and not God’s either. She is the center of her world. She once shared her renewal weekend with a large group in the church. She had just had a wonderful experience she said, “I was so loved. Everybody served me. It was so wonderful, it was all about me, all about me.”

All the time we talk she sits quartered away from me with her head turned somewhat in my direction. When I challenge her the skin on the back of her hands becomes faintly wrinkled, and gradually takes on a greenish grey hue. She draws the upper part of her body back away from me. Beneath her heavy lidded eyes something peeps out, the eyes flitting back and forth, never quite meeting mine, resting momentarily on an apparently barren upper corner of the room, barren except for a motionless echoing shadow. 

As I challenge her, her face tilts backwards and slightly up, her mouth open with a half inch between her lower and upper teeth and her lips pull back in a grimace. It is then that I notice the fangs as her head tilts back away from me. Retrospectively I realized that I was looking at a viper getting ready to strike. Is it only my imagination, or is it something else? The fanged gesture would be threatening if I did not see it for what it is. 

Silently I say to her, “I see you.” She does not mean to be seen. She only means to threaten on a subconscious level. By grace we will handle serpents. The time will come.  Get the forked stick. Pin it down and milk its venom. Others will need an antidote.

            Later I try to duplicate that grimace in a mirror but I wasn’t even able to come close. “And strange things sal follow them that believe…they sal take up vipers; and if perhaps they drink any deidly draught, it sal be nay ill to them” (Mk. 16:17-18, Braid Scots New Testament paraphrased).

No comments: