Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Editor (05/27/10)
TITLE: Brainstorming Outside Melchior's Malt Shoppe
By Charldene Ashley
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RALPH: What’s the matter, Gabe? Hopefully not something you ate.
GABE: No, just concerned at how effectively the competition has tarnished our brand. Christians are becoming synonymous with rednecks, geeks and dopes.
RALPH: Cheer up, Gabe. We may lose a battle or two, but we’ve already won the war.
GABE: Then why do so many people think Christianity is for losers? The way things are on Earth, you’d think the Devil was the King of Cool.
RALPH: Yeah, but remember what a pathological liar he was when he lived up here?
GABE: As well as a conceited jerk and real know-it-all.
RALPH: Yep. But his pride got him a one way ticket south.
GABE: And he’s undermined us ever since. Offering humans seven fun and increasingly socially acceptable sins—and no disclaimer about the deadly consequences. (Ruffles his feathers) And what do we offer?
RALPH: Eternal life in Heaven versus eternal roasting in Hell?
GABE: True…but I was going to say "The 10 Commandments"---most of which tell you what NOT to do. Humans hate to be told they can’t do something. Why the Boss made them that way is unfathomable.
RALPH: Well, it can be simplified to one thing. “Love your—“
GABE: Not that bit about “love your neighbor”! It’s a tough sell these days.
RALPH: I was going to say “Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”.
GABE: Too simple. Don’t you see? People like stuff that sounds complex, intelligent, hip, nuanced.
RALPH: They do?
GABE: (Snaps his fingers) I’ve got it! Let’s repackage them, call it “10 Steps to an Eternal Life” or the “10 Attributes of Highly Successful Saints”. Self help programs really sell.
RALPH: I thought it was sex that sells.
GABE: (Sighs) Unfortunately true. Bookstores have racks of bestsellers bulging with sin…and we can hardly give our Book away even though it’s got it all—sex, revenge, action, love, redemption—
RALPH: And animals.
GABE: Animals? Well…there are some goats and sheep and a couple of donkeys. (Cocks his head) Can locusts be called animals? (Ralph shrugs). Unfortunately when it comes to animals, people like dogs and the Bible doesn’t paint dogs in a very flattering light. They’re typically shredding bodies to bits. It’s shocking really…especially in view of all the lovable mutts here in heaven.
RALPH: Uh huh.
GABE: (Jumps up) I’ve got an idea! How about updating the Bible?
RALPH: Uh…I don’t think the Boss would like anyone messing with his literary masterpiece. He’s not only the author, but the Editor-in-Chief…of EVERYTHING. You know… Alpha and Omega of the infinite, etc.
GABE: (Pats Ralph on the wing and sits down) Don’t worry…I would only tweak it a bit, condense it in spots, and perhaps put eye-grabbing graphics on the cover…. Just imagine a picture of David and Bathsheba locked in an ardent embrace—
RALPH: WHAT!!! (Begins to hyperventilate).
GABE: Okay, okay. Nix Bathsheba. Well, couldn’t we at least punch up the title? How about this…”The Holy Bible: The Ultimate Guide to the Good Life”. (Looks at Ralph, expectantly)
RALPH: Well, I don’t know…
GABE: All I’m trying to do is get the Bible into more people’s hands. Then scripture and the Holy Spirit can do the rest. I know my ideas would work! I bet I could increase our soul harvests by 10-15%. Just think! it might get me a corner office on the same floor as the Big Guy. (Stands up with hands and wings outstretched) Oh, the possibilities!
RALPH: Gabe, uh…you’re sounding a little…prideful. Not to be judgmental or anything. I…uh…just thought you should know.
GABE: (Looks horrified) I do? Oh, feathers! (Sits back down on the bench, leans over to Ralph and whispers) Pride really is the deadliest sin, isn’t it?
GABE: Poor humans. It’s amazing we get any souls at all. Why does it have to be so hard to get to Heaven?
RALPH: Well, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be special…and I think you’d agree that Heaven is very, very special.
GABE: (Looks around at the crystalline Celestial City, with its golden streets and walls garnished with sapphires and emeralds. Smiling, he nods, then rubs his belly). Best food in the universe!
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