I'm the ding and he's the dong
When we agree we can't go wrong...
Oh dear. The buzzer's ringing. I leave my station at the front desk and rush down the hall. I open the front door.
Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-do-o-o-o-ong!
Okay, so what have we here? A scraggly guy with long, blond hair, absent-mindedly pushing our doorbell while bopping to some bad beat wired through his cell phone. I gently tap his shoulder. He shrinks back with a start and yanks out his ear buds.
"Sorry, I didn't hear you. I, I, I - I mean, hello. I'm Dennis Doing, daring doer of the Word."
"Pleased to meet you, Dennis. I'm Dinah Darling, chief DING here at Raise-a-Praise Deliverance Center. DING stands for Dipped IN Grace, because it's faith in God's undeserved grace that saves you."
"It also helps you do the right thing," adds my better half, who just snuck up behind me. "Hi, I'm Doctor Darren Darling, the Director. I take it you've met Dinah, my secretary/nurse practitioner and lovely wife. She's my DING and I'm her DONG. DONG is short for Doing Good."
"Oh. That's good. I guess." Dennis shakes Darren's hand and smiles. Then suddenly he frowns. "If only my ears would stop ringing!"
"Sounds like you need deliverance," says Darren, whose specializes in discerning and casting out devils, based on a deep sense of spiritual authority thoroughly grounded in the Word. That's what the DONG is all about. In order to activate it, Darren needs my DING, a high note of healing I can only reach through the power of the Holy Spirit, who hovers like a dove over this entire operation. The Word and Spirit work together, you see, just like a DING and DONG.
To discover the source of Dennis's ring, Darren and I seat him in a clear, sound-proof room the size of a prayer closet. I raise a praise to heaven, then pour a few drops of Joy oil into our patient's ears in order to dissolve all discord. Then Darren fits him with a special set of DING-DONG head phones, instructing him to raise his right hand when he hears a DING and his left when he hears a DONG.
I enter the control room and flick a switch, which pipes a series of DING-DONGs throughout our spiritually sensitized sound system. But Dennis just sits idle in his chair. Five minutes pass. Still no response.
Darren deliberates a possible diagnosis.
"Could be earwigs (wig-wearing bugs that like to dance on eardrums) or a big buildup of gossip wax. Or perhaps he's been exposed to one too many cliché pulpit phrases such as 'Turn to your neighbor and scream 'Hallelujah!'"
I shudder. "That sure would nuke my auditory nerves. You don't suppose some wolf clothed in sheep's wool called him a ding-a-ling?"
My husband shakes his head. "That's a definite possibility, especially if he has little awe of the Omnipotent, which is what the O in DONG stands for. I'm thinking he may need a hefty dose of holy fear to clear both ears."
"And what if he can't hear the 'IN' in DING? Is that my cue to sing?"
"NO! I mean, let's tackle this together."
And so we raise a praise and march into the room.
Turns out it's worse than we feared, for Dennis isn't hearing any N's. N's to make things nice. N's to make them new. N's to help him rightly interpret his Bible verses. All he's hearing are mean DIGs from vicious DOGs.
"You must be listening to too many I-tunes," I conclude. "Because smack dab in the center of your D and G sits a big, fat 'I.' That's why you can't hear any DINGs or DONGs. For doing good is impossible when you rely on self. You must be dipped in grace."
"And how do I do that?"
"By joining your life to Christ," says Darren, holding my hand to demonstrate. "He's knocking on the door to your heart. Would you like to let him in and be delivered?"
Dennis's eyes light up. "Why, of course!" he shouts. "That's the best news I've ever heard!"
And so we lead him in a simple sinner's prayer. When we retest his ears, he hears every bell.
It's time to raise a praise.
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