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NOTHING NEW IN THE WEST


J. Mamana


I'd known in my younger days a bishop who wore open-toed sandals and an hibiscus patterned Hawaiian shirt—Father Bugleweed—compelling man, devoted to muscular Christianity, he'd found international fame as a young man in the forties giving speeches around the world on scripture and appropriate worship. I'd heard, for example, that while on a train tour of the Holy Land he spoke of the Book of Revelation—what he called ‘Coming Attractions’—and standing like a cowboy, with hands on both Old and New Testaments, he would say in sonorous prayer: ‘Beware the allure of listless worship; use a planner!’ (The crowd, punctuating, ‘Hosanna in the Highest!’) And echoing Isaiah: ‘As the heavens are higher than the Earth, your ways are low as hell!’ (‘Hosanna in the Highest!’) And firing his rifle into the empty valley: ‘Here lies Christ the Redeemer! I’d rather be living in Philadelphia!’ (‘Hosanna. in. the. Highest!’) Having worked the crowd with his blustering sermons, he would dance the two-step and play pass the hat, generally winning favor from all except the Arabs, who would pay him in sumac.


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