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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Omnishambles (05/01/14)

By Joe Moreland



It was the question that kept going round and round inside Dave's head. How had he gotten here? Not here in his late model sedan, driving aimlessly around town. But here. In this situation. Maybe that's why he was in the car for no apparent reason. To figure things out. Inside the car seemed to be the only place he ever got any time to himself. Time where he could think things through, figure things out.

Everything came back to Greg. Young, clever, got-it-all-together Greg. Ever since he had started coming to their small group, it seemed Dave and Greg were destined to have it out. He contradicted every point Dave made in their lesson. Argued every stance Dave took, and put a spotlight on every small error Dave committed.

Sometimes Dave could remember that there was a verse in Galatians, or Phillipians, that backed up his statement, but Greg always wanted to know exactly where that verse was.

What verse was that again? Can we go there? Read that right now?

Ughhh! The man was so frustrating. Dave couldn't remember specific verses very well. Truth be told, he didn't read his Bible as much as he should. He was a good small group leader, though. Everyone respected him. Liked him. Trusted him.

Except, lately he had felt his leadership role being eroded away. Greg knew his stuff. Knew where all the verses were and exactly what they said. He related them to their current discussion and people listened. They were gravitating to his conversations and being impacted by his knowledge. Dave was losing his group.

After a while, Greg came to him privately. At first Dave assumed it was because he wanted to apologize for hijacking the group. But no, he wanted to address other things.

“Dave,” he began innocently enough. “I've noticed signs of stress in our small group lately. I was wondering if maybe work and hosting the group week after week aren't starting to become a burden to you. I was wondering if I could help out some, maybe host at my house once in a while, take the lesson off your hands here and there. You know, give you a bit of a break. See if that helps.”

Dave couldn't believe it. Greg was making a blatent effort to steal the group away. “What makes you think it's a burden, Greg? I love hosting this group. I'm where God has called me.”

“I'm not trying to say anything different. I just thought you could use a break now and then, and I feel I could be of help. Sometimes, it seems like things are a little rushed for you, and you didn't quite have time to really prepare.”

“Don't worry Greg. You have a point – I need to prepare more. I'm going to refocus and do better. You'll see.”

But Dave had no such intention. He was just buying time. Time to speak with the pastor and some elders about Greg. He explained how the young man had been undermining him in small group, trying to embarrass him in front of the others. Dave also hinted, subtly, that Greg held to some fringe beliefs that bordered on false teachings. No details, of course – small group confidentiality, and all. But possibly dangerous leanings that Dave was worried could mislead people. Already he feared that Greg was trying to steal people away to start his own study - away from the church.

A meeting was called. Dave had outlined everything vaguely enough that Greg couldn't really defend himself, and he strangely didn't seem inclined to. Afterwards, it seemed almost anti-climactic when the young man announced that he and his family would find another church home and left.

That first meeting afterwards had seemed different. Nobody said anything, but Dave could tell they all knew he had instigated Greg's departure. Even worse, God said nothing. But Dave could feel it nonetheless. It was like when you did something really bad, and you knew your father knew about it. And you knew your father knew that you knew he knew about it. It hangs between you, this silence that separates you from him until you make things right.

Dave looked up from the steering wheel. His car was stopped.

Where am I?

Looking around, Dave's eyes focused on one house. Greg's house. With a sigh, he realized why he was out driving around aimlessly tonight.

Time to make things right.

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This article has been read 342 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/10/14
Great message in this well written and interesting story.

God bless~
Judith Gayle Smith05/12/14
I love this. I have seen similar small groups lose their focus through ill-preparedness and disabling jealousy. Very well written.
Graham Insley05/13/14
I loved what happened in Dave's heart and the message of honest soul searching.

For me, I would like to have seen a little of that in Greg's life too. The omnishables could have been reflected better as both guys saw their mistakes. But that's only my thoughts.

Having said that, I think you did a great job of reflecting Dave's emotions as he realized the shambles he'd made. The message that he could have handled it better came through loud and clear.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/14/14
I really enjoyed this and could relate to Dave more than I would care to admit. The main red ink I have is the beginning was a lot more telling than showing. Perhaps if you had put some of Dave's thoughts in italics or actually shown his emotions as Greg took over.
The ending brought the story full circle. Though it's sad that Greg only saw himself as a victim, but the story is told from Dave's POV so we don't know what happens when he goes in to apologize. I like that because it is open-ended and each reader can think it out for herself. I totally enjoyed this and think you did a great job of the topic.
Bea Edwards 05/14/14
You did a nice job making this piece feel like it was a real dilemma and subsequent realization for the MC.
Leola Ogle 05/15/14
Good job, Joe! Congratulations and your well deserved placement. God bless!
Judith Gayle Smith05/16/14
So very well deserved - thought and content outstanding.

Hebrews 10:26-31 KJV
Tracy Nunes 05/16/14
Wonderful writing Joe. I'm sure everyone reading this could relate in one way or the other. Congratulations!
Gregory Kane05/27/14
Excellent. Great portrayal of the underlying psychology