June 29, 2008

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY: Is There Any Difference Between Parables and Speculative Fiction?

I'm not one to pass on 21st techno-chain-letters. I am leery about the veracity of such things. On the other hand, the one I got recently, while it may not be literally "true", certainly has the earmarks of a classic, Jesus-type parable:

A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable

It was in poor shape when I got it, so I cleaned it up and I'm putting it here because parables are writing. Some people might consider them speculative ficition as well. And I KNOW some people find them irritating -- both Christian and non-Christian alike. I'd be interested in what anyone out there thinks of this:

"This will give you the chills...GOOD chills.

"A young man had been to Wednesday Night Bible Study. The pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice. The young man couldn't help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people?”

"After the service, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he began to pray, “God...If you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.”

"As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said, “God is that you?” He didn't get a reply and started on toward home. But again, the thought came to him, “Buy a gallon of milk.” The young man thought about how the child Samuel, sleeping in the Temple with the Ark of the Covenant, didn’t realize that the voice of God was calling him. He ran three times to Eli, who finally recognized the call of God and told Samuel how to respond (1 Samuel 3:3-10).

"Speaking into the empty car, he said, “Okay, God, in case it’s you, I’ll buy the milk.” It didn't seem like a difficult test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he felt the urge to turn down that street.

“This is crazy,” he thought, driving past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he slowed down and said, “Okay, God, I will.” He turned back and headed down Seventh.He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi- commercial area – not the best but not the worst of neighborhoods. The businesses were closed and most of the few houses looked dark – the people were probably already in bed. Again, he sensed something: “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.”

"The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. He said, “Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I’ll look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give them the milk. Finally, he opened the car door and said, “Okay God, if this is you, I’ll go to the door and I’ll give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, fine. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if they don't answer right away, I’m out of here.”

"He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing in jeans and T-shirt, looking like he’d just gotten out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. “What is it?”

"The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, “Here, I brought this to you.” Without a word, the man took the milk and rushed down a hallway. A moment later, a woman carrying the milk walked toward him and turned in to the kitchen.

"The man followed her holding a baby. The baby was crying. So was the man. Tears streamed down his face. He said, half-speaking, half-crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.

"His wife in the kitchen called out in broken English, “I ask him to send angel with some. Are you an angel?' The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car, tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers.

"THIS IS A SIMPLE TEST.... If you believe that God is alive and well, send this to at least ten people and the person that sent it to you. This is so true. Sometimes it's the simplest things that God asks us to do that bless us if we are obedient to what He's asking. His voice more clear than ever. Please listen, and obey! It will bless you and the world – Phil 4:13. This is an easy test - you score 100 or zero. It's your choice. If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the directions. Jesus said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.”

"Not ashamed? Pass this on."

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