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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (11/21/13)

TITLE: I wonder, is that a wolf in my coffee?
By Mike Phelps


The smell of espresso, the sound of froth being made, and my quiet corner to enjoy the morning, these are things I enjoy. Oh crud, someone’s got the corner table again. I just wanted my coffee, no drama, especially internal drama.
Who is this kid cloistered in the corner? He is occupying the entire corner with a laptop, theology book and open bible. Obviously, a minister, No, I think, from his youth, a minister in training.
As I walk by, I causally notice, highlighted; Matthew 7:15,
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Is this his morning study, maybe a seminary assignment? I’ve seen him before, often, always the same corner, coffee in hand, piously contemplating, or seemingly so. Devotion or decoration, one cannot immediately tell. His future is as uncertain as my evaluation. To some he’s admired, even envied. To some his Bible displays intimidating truths that threaten. To me, even beyond taking my spot, he becomes a question. Is he sheep or wolf? What is his nature? Is he false or true? What kind of minister will he become? Will he capitulate to future pressures of the pack or will he be sensitive to his shepherd’s voice. So I wonder, yet I consciously avoid eye contact.
I also wonder on the very nature of wolves and sheep. Does the wolf know he’s a wolf? Wolves are ravenous, pack animals working together to bring down their prey. Whether by instinct or purpose they do what they do for survival, survival of the pack. Wolves then present a mortal threat to the keen senses of sheep. Sheep by comparison are herd animals, secure in the company of likeminded sheep. They would not knowingly put themselves within danger of wolves. Enter deception, a trait foreign to the natural wolf. Speed, agility, and teamwork are the tools of the wild wolf. Not camouflage. This deception is unnatural to the wolf. Not natural at all, but rather supernatural, Sinister in nature, requiring supernatural discernment, spiritual warfare.
I wonder, does this young man have discernment enough to understand spiritually what he is reading, let alone what awaits him in ministry. I can’t get involved I convince myself. Yet, I know how easy, how quickly believers accept a Christian lifestyle without accepting truth. And I know what pressures await this young man. How easy to act the part without being the part.
Still, I wonder about that verse. Strange indeed for Jesus to end his first public message, the sermon from the mount, a sermon emphasizing, “ye have heard, but I say unto you.” Stranger still is it for Jesus to warn of wolves out of character.
Jesus no doubt was warning the unsuspected, the indifferent, the herd of complacent, to beware of familiar sounds and phrases, words cloaked in different meanings. Jesus made it clear, in the verse following, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Jesus was warning about the action that doesn’t match the word.
I hear my name called, my coffee’s ready, time to find a seat. Still crowded. I fight the urge to join the corner table. My conscience wrestles with the thought of sharing victories and failures with someone I don’t even know. I don’t want company, I just want coffee. I stop in my thoughts and struggle to see, that he is me, thirty years before now. I wish someone had guided me through the maze of ministry that surely awaits him. But, I should not offer advice, where none is asked for. I should leave it alone; I should find another place to sit.
Wolves would not warn sheep.
And so I wonder am I wolf or sheep?
Before my mind could change, my heart has moved my hand, extended, and I say, “My name is Mike, can I sit with you? Whatcha reading?”

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This article has been read 285 times
Member Comments
Member Date
PamFord Davis 11/28/13
Insightful and on topic. It would help the readers if you break up article into paragraphs. I loved the phrase, "act the part without being the part!"

Wing His Words
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/30/13
I think you did a great job of building the character. You took me on a delightful journey through the musing of the MC. He left off the page and came to life in my mind's eye.

The main red ink I'd offer is to go back and count the times you used wolf or sheep. It was over ten times. Many think it's important to use the topic words in their articles, however, some of the best on topic stories never mention any of the words. This quarter has been particularly challenging since many are taking the sayings literally. You managed to avoid that pitfall.

You have a natural knack of breathing life into your MC. I'd challenge you to try to write on topic next week without using topic words. Read some stories in Masters to see how some can accomplish just that. I have discovered the more I comment, the easier it is to see what I like or what doesn't work for me and apply it to my own works. It's helped a lot. There is an excellent thread on the message boards called Jan's Writing Basics. She gives great tips for all levels of writers. If you do her "homework assignment" She will make a point to answer all posts. I've learned quite a bit from this thread.

Keep writing what God lays on your heart. Together you and Jesus together will touch many hearts.
C D Swanson 11/30/13
Great story and great job with this entry. I loved your descriptions and the internal dialogue of the MC as he took in his external surroundings.

I especially liked the internal conflict as he pondered whether to join the "young man"

Excellent work here!

God bless~