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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)

TITLE: A United Kingdom
By Lana Mowdy
01/22/09


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Leslie waited for Tom to unlock the doors then she climbed into the passenger’s seat. It had been an exceptionally long church service, and she longed for a moment to relax before it was time to prepare the usual extravagant lunch. She knew that her moment of peace was not to last, though. She could hear Tom’s long breath as he sighed beside her. She had felt him clench his fists several times during the service, and she knew that he was just waiting to get into the car before his ritual rant began.
“I have had enough of this church, Leslie.” He breathed hard, obviously in turmoil. “I’m sorry to disrupt your perfect life with your perfect church friends and bible study group, but I just can’t stand to listen to that guy rant and rave about living a holy life. What happened to our loving God? What happened to washed in the blood?”
Leslie leaned her head back against the headrest. They had this conversation every Sunday. She replayed the sermon in her head, and she could think of no reference that would have insulted him this time. Usually he became angry when the pastor discussed holiness, but this week’s sermon was about maintaining a relationship with Jesus. She knew better than to rebut him, however, for that would only fuel the fire.
“How dare he insinuate that I do not have a personal relationship with Jesus just because I don’t pray every day, and I don’t read the bible every day? I think he is personally attacking me!”
Leslie pursed her lips to hide her smile. She knew that her husband was feeling convicted, but she didn’t dare interfere.
“I tell you, Leslie, I am going to change churches or start my own. Paul did it! He and Barnabas did not agree and they separated. Even the pilgrims spilt from the Church of England and look what great success we have had!”
Leslie’s heart leapt in her chest. Jesus’ prayer came to mind, and she knew she needed to bring up this reference, but she refused. She knew that to speak up would encourage him to keep fuming. The thought and urge would not relent as she bit her tongue in rejection to the prodding of the Holy Spirit.
“That’s it! I have made up my mind! We’ll go to Jack’s church across town. I’ve heard that the pastor’s messages are all about freedom and love. That’s what we need.”
Finally, she knew that she could hold her tongue no longer. She drew a deep breath and began slowly. “Tom, I don’t know about Paul, Barnabas, or the pilgrims. I am sure they had their own reasons for splitting, but I am thinking of us and our children, and God’s will for our lives.” She closed her eyes briefly then opened them again, noticing that Tom’s knuckles had turned white as he gripped the steering wheel. “Jesus prayed for us and this exact situation. He prayed that we would all be one. Jesus willed the glory that he received from God to us, and prayed that we would be perfect as one so that the world would see us and know that Jesus loves them just as the Father loved him.”
Leslie turned just in time to see Tom wipe his hand across his face. He did not speak another word as they turned onto their street and finally arrived in their driveway.


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Sara Harricharan 01/29/09
Hmmm, this story begs more to be told. Nice job. Keep up the good work. ^_^
Karlene Jacobsen 01/29/09
There is definitely a good message woven in the threads of this story. Good job.
Casey Overbeek02/03/09
In some ways, I can relate to your story... I agree with a previous comment... There is more to this story. Well written though.
Josiah Kane02/03/09
I liked the way the husband came across as a very immature Christian--complaining, seeking redemption without a life change, and even thinking that Paul and Barney split due to a disagreement in the church. It might have been more topical if set in England or even Ireland with its host of competing churches, rather than the USA, but this is not crucial to the United Kingdom you've chosen.