The Milk & Honey Gazette
Local Couples Greed = Death Sentence
by Glenn A. Hascall
Jerusalem - The local sect that are now known as Christians are growing in numbers and astonishingly in influence. However, an incident that occurred recently has left some scared and other's baffled.
It seems that many of these Christians have agreed to communal living. The premise behind this idea is that any of their members that have any needs, should reasonably expect those need to be met by their fellow members.
Many have given up land, wealth and other possessions to assist others in their time of need.
A noble challenge to be sure. Which is why the recent death of two of their members, Ananias and Sapphira to be precise, came as a surprise to many both inside and outside this new organization.
Pricilla who is a member of the group said, "They had sold a piece of land and brought some of the money for the good of the other members."
A nice gesture.
So why did they die?
"They didn't bring all the money to Peter," Justice was quoted as saying. Perhaps now you can see what this is so baffling. It seems somewhat inhumane that two members should die simply because they didn't bring all the money to their leader.
The problem apparently stemmed from the fact that, while the couple sold the money for a certain price and could have kept any or all of the proceeds, they apparently agreed to lie to Peter (although he alleges it was the Holy Spirit who was lied to) about the price for the land. In so doing, they not only nullified the gift but paid for the lie with their very lives.
"We have no wish for our brothers and sisters in Christ to perish. But Annanias and Sapphira intentionally tried to deceive God's Spirit," Marcus was quoted as saying.
No charges are expected in this case. Eyewitnesses indicate that no one physically touched the couple until after they actually passed away. Some in our community find this account hard to believe. Other more callous members of society are glad that two more of these Christians are no more.
Regrettably I have no feelings about this story one way or the other, it does occur to me that perhaps honesty is not such a bad thing. For you see, the hypocrisy that is so apparent in this story is just one reason why so many hard working Jews and Romans find this sect so undesirable.
If the Christians can't deal honestly with each other why should any of us believe what they have to say about a savior from Nazareth?
What are the elements of this story; greed, deception and two deaths that were far from typical. For many this incident leaves a bad first impression of an organization claiming to offer eternal life through an alleged risen carpenter.
I can't help but feel as though there are some pieces of this story that I'm missing. However, stories more pressing than this do not allow me to look any further.
Note: This is a fictional news account from a skeptical reporters perspective. This account should in no way be viewed as an accurate portrayal of actual biblical accounts, For the real scoop on Ananias and Sapphira see Acts 5.
I LOVE the angle on this piece! Seems that you've got two different voices, though. One is the passive/neutral news story voice, relating facts, eyewitness accounts, etc. Very well done, by the way. Then it breaks into first person singular. Perhaps you could treat this last bit as an "Op-Ed" piece tacked on to the original story, the only place in a newspaper where the people in the news business are allowed to give personal views. It's a small thing. I love the whole bit, though. Well done.