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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)

TITLE: Sermon on the Mound
By Marie Cashion


In our town there's no garbage pickup. Trash is handled by the homeowner. You are not issued bins for your trash; you are expected to have enough sense to sort it into bags and remember what you put in there. When your bags smell ripe, you load them in the pickup and visit the “recycling” center.

A rundown building sits near the gate and Ernest waits inside. When you pull up to show your permit card, Ernest often pokes his head out and inquires, “You got anything in them bags that ain’t all used up?” If you have brought an old lamp shaped like a chicken, or a roasting pan or a boxful of jelly jars, Ernest will help you tote them inside and lay them out on the dust-covered tables so others can take them home for free. I have been the beneficiary of a pair of salt and pepper shakers shaped like farm animals, a bedside table lamp, and four hymnals.

On a recent trip, Ernest barely glanced up when I stopped at the window. I went inside and he was scribbling away on a thick yellow pad. Browsing for some wine glasses for my Arbor Mist, I commented “You certainly are busy up there today. You writing a book?”

“Yes ma’am. You are entirely right about that one.” Ernest smiled. I figured he was writing about mountain life, or trout fishing, or hunting with hounds. Ernest resembles many men in the community. Stout, with thinning hair and graying beard, T-shirt and chinos with his belly dun-lopped over the elastic waistband.

“What’s it about?” I asked. “Well, now", he said. "Its about the history of mankind and his relationship with the Lord, why we are what we are and where we are going in the end.” These were the most words I had ever heard Ernest say in three years of dumping. “Deep subject,” I replied. “How long you been writing it?” " Been researching it for nigh on forty years and writing it out for a few more. Figure I can wrap it up this year,” he replied.

A few days later, I went back in to check on the wine glasses. Ernest was busy at the desk with his pen and paper. “Working on your book?” I asked. “Well, no, I’m not. I’m doing dump business. Cain’t hardly work on my book down here now. I’ve come to the hard part where I’m tying quantum physics into the scheme of things.” “Quantum physics?” I questioned. That was all Ernest needed to launch into an oratory about how the atom was not the smallest particle of matter at all, that there was something much smaller and that was called life. “It’s like this. What kinda water is in this here glass?” he queried. “Fresh water?” I guessed. “Exactly right. And what kind of water is in the ocean?” He continued. “Well, salt water, right?” I answered. “You got it. Now, if I pour this fresh water into the ocean and mix it right on up with that salt water they would be the same water, but the molecules, they'd all still be there, right? You following me? It’s like that with the Holy Spirit. Once Jesus comes into your heart and mingles with your life, there’s no sorting him right back out again. You got your life, He’s got his, but the both of you are wrapped up together until you enter into reality.” “Reality?” I questioned. “This here life ain’t reality. It’s what we do getting ready for reality. Reality is when we join up with the Lord forever. I just got back into town yesterday from burying my youngest girl. Got hit by a truck and was burned up to ash. My older girl, she was grieving and having an awful time with it and I just explained to her how Bethanne had gone on into the Great Reality of the Kingdom of God that we all aspire to and she wasn’t to worry no more about it. She’s become one with the Lord.” “My, that must be comforting”, I replied. “Keep working on that book and I’ll see you next trip.”

"You got it." Ernest replied.

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This article has been read 403 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chun-yen Stillman03/19/09
Wow! What a story! I like it. The old man could use a little more polishing in his writing about the quantum physics part, but he is such a vivid character.
Dena Wilson03/19/09
This story was well written. I would start a new paragraph each time a different character spoke, this would help break the story up to make it easier to read. I enjoyed the old man character; he had a view on life.
Jena Beecher03/20/09
What an intriguing character Ernest is. I enjoyed reading your story.
Sonya Leigh03/20/09
This is a very well written story--very vivid and engaging.

If I may make one or two suggestions,

1)I agree that your sentences need white space between them, particularly in a dialogue exchange. When you read the upper levels, you will notice that the spacing is done regularly within those entries, giving the reader a much needed break for the eyes...there's so much to read here at FW.

2)The only part of your story that didn't ring accurate was in the last spoken phrase of your female mc. Her response to Ernest seemed a bit trite after the deep things he divulged. I'm not sure if her comments were supposed to reveal something about her, but in this case it came as a jarring statement from an otherwise very likeable lady.

These are indeed small observations because, as a whole, you have a keen ability to tell a story well. Keep it up!
Lynn Jacky 03/20/09
HI - I really liked your story - so much so I didn't even notice the spacing - but it is true easier to read etc... Thank you so much excellent writing and Good luck.
Deborah Porter 03/26/09
Hi Marie. Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, "Sermon on the Mound," actually did very well in the Kingdom of God Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 7th in that Level. Competition in Level 1 is always very intense, so well done.

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

Again, well done. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)