Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)

TITLE: Playing "Church"
By James Dixon


Playing “Church”

It was a scene of utter devastation. A battlefield was littered with abandoned siege equipment: upturned buckets, half buried spades. Turrets were crushed by titans’ feet; walls were breached, smashed into grains of sand by thrown rocks. The generals lay wounded in the grass, their plastic weapons cast aside. Sir Thomas Johnson and Sir Simon Johnson bawled for their Mummy as though mortally wounded.

Mrs Johnson trudged out of the kitchen and triaged the casualties. “What happened?”

“He started it.”

“No, he started it.”



“Never mind.” She took the garden hose and flushed motes of sand from smarting eyes, hair and clothes; she smirked at the bedraggled warriors. “You can stay out here until the sun dries your clothes. You’ve been baptised, so why don’t you play a nice game, like Church?”

Thomas and Simon thought this was a splendid idea. They decided that the steps to the garden terrace would be the pulpit. A pew was made out of a plank set upon stacks of bricks and a picnic table served as the altar. They sang the snatches of songs they could remember and passed a plant pot round to take an offering of snail shells, twigs and other treasures. They prayed for a plentiful supply of ice cream and then took turns preaching to one another. Thomas concluded a particularly fine homily with the observation that there needed to be more than two members in church, so they decided to embark on a mission to invite their friends to join the congregation.

After lunch, the church grew to such an extent that the ministers had to request an offering for additional materials, in order to expand the nave. The collection also yielded the loan of a portable stereo and a collection of rock CDs donated by Thomas’ friends. This faction pressed for their use in the service. Simon’s followers argued for the traditional hymns and sermons about doing good works, but Thomas had more friends and loud speakers, so drowned out the other.

This resulted in schism. The Church of St Thomas set up on the patio near the mains supply, was more celebratory in style, whilst St Simon’s moved to a contemplative cloister on the garden terrace. The sermons became more competitive, remonstrative, hostile…

“You’re irreverent.”

“You’re unbiblical.”



Each church vied to demonstrate that it was the ‘True Church’ ™. St Thomas’ promoted its seeker friendly, party atmosphere. It measured success by shear number of enthusiastic converts, who flocked to the beat of the music and the lashings of ice cream served up at the after service social.

St Simon’s was altogether more earnest. They did the shopping for old Mrs Goodwin at number 92, cleaned up the litter from the patch of wasteland at the end of the street and undertook chores to raise money for charity. This righteous effort gained the admiration of many, who said that it was just the kind of church that they would want to join, if only “Church” were the sort of game that grownups played.

Events came to a head, when St Simon’s returned from weeding a neighbour’s garden, to find that their pews had been pillaged. They were hot, tired out from their exertions and the weather had become oppressively close, liable to ignite thunderstorms and tempers. The Rev. Simon Johnson, who could not contain his rage, boiled over with righteous anger.

“You stole our pews.”

“You weren’t using them.”

“We were doing good works.”

“We believe in salvation by grace.”

“Faith without works is dead.”

Theological reasoning turned into a crusade. Simon grabbed the last beam that remained in his desecrated church. Thomas similarly equipped himself. Their friends formed themselves into a circular counsel, to cheer on their respective representative as they prepared to thump orthodox theology into each other.

Their staves were wrenched from their grasp as Mr Johnson interposed himself into the middle of the controversy. He was still dressed for work and looked stern as a judge. There was an awed silence as he demanded to know what was going on.

“He started it.”

“No, he started it.”



“I don’t care who started it.” Mr Johnson said wearily. He sent all the friends home before anyone was martyred, and wondered about the rows of seats on the patio.

“Why can’t you two just get on with each other?” Justice Johnson summed up, as he imprisoned the defrocked ministers in their rooms, “Play nicely; together. Build sandcastles or something.”

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE

JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 701 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/09/08
A fun read, and I do believe I detect more than a hint of satire. Excellent.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/10/08
This was a favorite--creative, amusing, and with a message.
Lyn Churchyard05/12/08
Ahhh a case of 'art imitating life' or perhaps a modern day parable. This was extremely enjoyable. It was well written and I loved the voice. Well done, very well done indeed.
Mariane Holbrook 05/12/08
You did such a great job on this! It was such a pleasant read!
Debbie Fuhry05/12/08
Great story! I loved the symbolism of the father showing up unexpectedly, looking as stern as a judge.

I hope to see this on the winners' list.

One comment: words like Mr. and St. get periods after them.
Debbie Wistrom05/12/08
What a day these brothers had, I am guessing there were many more like this.
"Play nicely" was perfect, how many times did we all hear that growning up.

Is there a sequel in the works? It would be a run read too.
Bill Obenauer05/12/08
I enjoyed reading this. I love when the boys were arguing and the one brother says, "We believe in salvation by grace." Hearing children argue like this reminded me of "The Lord of the Flies."

One question that I had at the end of the story was how were the boys supposed to build sand castles in their rooms?

Nice job.
Joshua Janoski05/13/08
I loved the satirical tone of this piece. You demonstrated a real problem with the church in such a way that it was fun and engaging for the reader.

I hope this one places high, because it is exceptionally good in my opinion. Thank you for sharing! :)
Laury Hubrich 05/14/08
I loved this. You have wonderful descriptions, also. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 05/14/08
ROFL! So much happening here between these two brothers! I had to chuckle at some of the words tossed back and forth between them. My only note, was that I wasn't sure how much time was passing. ^_^ Otherwise, good job!
LauraLee Shaw05/14/08
Creative and fun!
Joanne Sher 05/14/08
Oh, FUN! And truly masterfully done. This is amazingly clever with a touch of wit and more than a touch of sarcasm. VERY well done!
Aaron Morrow05/14/08
Wonderful article! Excellent, imaginative frame for a very relevant commentary.
My favorite part was the prayer for ice cream, nice touch :).

I think my only nits are these:
I kind of lost track of time and thought several days had passed.
This line: "You’ve been baptised, so why don’t you play a nice game, like Church" as the logical transition behind the commentary it made sense, but as part of the article it made me stumble a little.

Nonetheless, outstanding entry, I loved it...
Chely Roach05/15/08
This was super fun to read...I loved it.
LaNaye Perkins05/15/08
I too detected a bit of satire in this fun read. I love the message you wove into this story. Well done.
Sheri Gordon05/15/08
Congratulations on your 1st place. I really like the satire in this piece. Great job with the topic.
Terry Walker05/15/08
Congrats on 1st place James, good story, I loved the ending.
Lollie Hofer05/15/08
One word comes to mind after reading this story - alegory (I think it's spelled correct?) While I was laughing at the brothers' antics I was also feeling sad about the state of Christ's church today. It truly is divided. You did an excellent job creatively while addressing such an important topic.