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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: It's a Colorful World (12/03/09)

TITLE: Christer
By larry troxell


Duct tape over a crack in the glass of the storefront church, surprisingly, caught my eye first, not the African-American who was smoking a cigarette as he leaned against the brick wall of the adjoining Mexican-American Restaurant, flirting with a white woman painted in far too much makeup. Taped to the glass entrance doorway, an orange piece of construction paper with black block lettering welcomed visitors to free coffee and donuts at 9:30 followed by worship an hour later.

“Welcome,” a tall silver haired man beamed as I entered the church, offering me a bulletin, then his outstretched hand, callused from obvious decades of hard labor. I nodded, surveying the couple dozen worshippers and my surroundings, including the broken green tile floor and the brown metal chairs. An Asian woman, dressed in purple from head to toe, was playing an out-of-tune piano as three young girls rehearsed a song, something about the blood of Jesus.

The greeter pointed me to the side of the former billiard hall where a small, almost frail looking lady, was serving glazed donuts and steaming black coffee. Her hair was braided and wrapped in a crown; her smile brighter than her yellow print shirt. I attempted to smile, only accepting a cup of coffee.

As I sipped the very hot, almost scalding, coffee, I read a sepia newspaper clipping taped to the gray painted concrete block wall. The article told of the opening of Everyone Is Welcome church with Bro. Paul Jeremiah as pastor. Located in the Save Money Shopping Center, the church planned to reach out to all walks of life and only the Word of God would be preached.

More newspaper clippings announced the opening of a soup kitchen on Wednesday evenings before Bible Study and a jail ministry on Thursday nights.

Paul Jeremiah finally caught my eye. I knew him as the Christer. I had worked with him at the tire plant years ago. He always went around telling everyone “Jesus loves you!” He preached, and preached, and preached about Jesus. In anger, one day, I called him a Christer. I meant it in derogatory terms, but he had smiled, and said “Jesus loves you.”

He saw me too, with disbelief, and then his black face broke into the biggest, most loving smile I had ever seen. My tears spotted my glasses as I ran into the arms of this minister of the gospel. He embraced me in the most loving bear hug of all eternity.

“Thank you,” I sobbed. “This white boy wants you to know something. Now, I’m a Christer too.”

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This article has been read 524 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 12/15/09
This is a creative take on the topic with ethnicity of the people being the "colors". Your ending is heart-warming.
Aaron Morrow12/16/09
I'm with Lisa on this...more, more, more! Wonderful work that seems like it could be an awesome short story with some unfolding of the back story of the MC and the Preacher. Nonetheless, extremely vivid and realistic descriptions of the church, down to the out-of-tune piano :).

Very nice as usual Larry!
Rachel Phelps12/16/09
This is great, love the rainbow of wonderful characters.
Catrina Bradley 12/16/09
I agree with the others - and I want to turn the page for the next chapter. Compelling.
c clemons12/16/09
A little bumpy meaning the consistency was lacking, specifically with the colors. Has promise if fleshed out a little more. Keep writing.
Colin Swann12/16/09
Yep, me too - I liked and enjoyed your real to life account in this interesting story. Colin