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The Reverend and the Seeker

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[I]Let me once again state that that man and the man I am now married to are not the same person. I will leave that man before the end of this story and meet the man God had chosen for me. This story is about what happened along the road to meeting the man God had chosen for me.[/I]

Ok.... on with the story. I went back to work because I had to pay the mortgage, utilities and more. I was pretty pre-occupied at work but it made the day drag on so I didn't get home until I was exhausted.

That man was still trying to get me "to understand". You see the way he explained it was that's who he was and I should understand what he had gone through all his life. I should also understand how badly he needed to appear like the person his parents thought him to be.

Then the following Saturday evening he told me of a church. He wanted me to go to meet the reverend who held services in a bar down town.

Remember now, I couldn't make my way to understanding the Bible. I was running off of Bible stories I had learned as a child. I knew that Jesus had gone down to where the sinners were.... so it wasn't too far of a stretch for me to accept the fact that a reverend would have services for those like that man in a bar. I was really, really, really na´ve. I was all of 20 years old when this happened. Stupid is what I would call myself today.... but hey.... hind sight is always 20 20.

So on Sunday morning we went to "church". I got dressed up and we drove into the city. When we walked into the bar the reverend was wiping down the chairs. I thought he was going to line them up in rows but he just kept putting them back at the tables.

The reverend was a big guy. Dark hair and he wore a long sleeved shirt, a tie, and dress pants. He seemed ok.

I kept waiting around for the service but no one came and it just kept getting later and later. Then the reverend disappeared and so did that man.... and my car. A couple other people had arrived. One went behind the bar and started serving drinks. So the other one at the bar got a glass of old crow and I got a chevis neat.

The guy behind the bar started talking to me. He asked me what I was doing there. I gave him the story. It was good to be able to tell it to someone. I hadn't been able to talk about it at work.

Then the guy behind the bar began to warn me about the reverend. He told me that he met the reverend several years ago. He had hoped that the reverend would be able to lead him to Jesus. He said it was almost impossible for a gay man to walk into a church. He wanted to learn more about Jesus but the reverend never did get around to showing him the way in all these years.

Then the seeker came around from behind the bar, since it wasn't very busy with only the three of us there and sat down beside me. We talked for what turned out to be hours. When it got late and my car wasn't back, he offered me a place to stay. He lived only walking distance away. So when the bar closed down, and I was still stranded, I walked through the city to his apartment in an old building.

Stranded, I also made up my mind that I would not return to the house anymore. The seeker offered me a place to stay. I called into work and asked for some time off. I bought a couple changes of clothes and stayed in the city.

The seeker and I walked back to the bar about noon so I could get my car.... if it was back. It wasn't yet so once again we sat at the bar and talked. I told him what I knew about Jesus and we talked about the Bible some.

That man showed up the next afternoon with the reverend. I'd like to think they were talking about salvation but I doubted it seriously then and I still do.

The reverend sat on the stool next to me and that man sat down beside the other man who had come back from the day before.

The reverend told me that man had confided in him. He told me that he use to hold services in the YMCA but really hoped to gather more people in the bar. He told me that most of the people he met in that bar were not welcome in any churches around.

One thing he did say to me.... that really made sense.... was that he did not believe that the men and women who came into that bar were welcome anywhere else. He also said that he believed that Jesus didn't want to leave any of them out.

The seeker stepped up then and said... "come on now... that's a real load of crap... you only claim to run a church here.... you've never preached or taught since you walked in the door....

You see, the seeker met the reverend at the YMCA. The reverend convinced the seeker he really wanted to reach those who were not welcome anywhere else. The reverend convinced the seeker to go in with him to buy the bar so a new church could be formed. Only years later.... all they had was a stocked bar and some microwave food.

There was no congregation. There were no sermons. There was nothing.... absolutely nothing.

Then the reverend asked me if I would do the bookkeeping for the bar. One of the things the seeker had told me the night before was that there was never very much money in the till at the end of the night. He said it concerned him. So I agreed to stay at the seeker's apartment and do the bookkeeping for the bar. I knew I could figure out where the money was going.

The next day... I put the house on the market... and let my old boss at the Mall know that I wouldn't be back. It was time for a change and I had to get on with the understanding. I was still married to that man, so I had to figure things out and I wasn't going to do it rattling around in that house that I hated so bitterly now.

First my mother and then that man..... I might be married to someone I really don't know but I didn't have to be tied to a house that I was never going to be happy in.

That man stayed at the house. Someone had to. I stayed in the city. I saw that man at the bar a lot but he didn't speak to me very often.

It was easy to see where the till money went. The reverend was giving away food and drinks. Some of the guys that came in there probably depended on the reverend for the only food they would eat safely.

This bar was down near the Block.... not far from the waterfront. As a matter of fact it was on Water Street. There were a lot of people who were just lost. It's a shame I didn't have my sword back then. Man I could have led a revival... but I couldn't get past the thees and thous.

The reverend, however, talked a good game but man was he messed up in the head. If I were to run into him today I'd really call him a classic case of bi-polar. The reverend and that man seemed to be consumed by something beyond their control. Those two were, without a doubt possessed.

It's such a shame. If he had really been a reverend... that would have been a perfect place to do a great ministry.... but it was far from it.

About a month after I put the house on the market some guys in suits walked into the bar. They were from the block and they were neither gay or homeless. These guys wanted to buy the bar and run an after hours private club in the bar.

The reverend and the seeker couldn't resist the money. The bar remained open as usual 11-2 and then at 2 the doors closed and private parties would take over. One of the stipulations the seeker added to the deal was that I could stay on as bookkeeper and he would work the day shift. Done deal.... the reverend is out.

The seeker and I had a day off. The first one since I first walked into the bar. So we got some fresh bread and some steaks. We charcoaled some potatoes and corn with it. The seeker brought over one of his friends.

She was a couple years older than me. She was straight, he was gay, and they were really good friends.

After dinner we were sitting in the living room. It was one of those living rooms with no TV. Bummer..... So the seeker's friend went into a closet and brought out candles and a ouiji board. A chill ran down my spine. I knew this was not going to go well at all.

She sat the board up on the coffee table. Then she lit the candles and turned off the lights. I could hardly believe what happened next.

The seeker was sitting on one end of the sofa. I was in a rocking chair at the end of the sofa. The seeker's friend sat down on the other end of the sofa. The candle lit room was pretty for a second. Then the windows flew open and a big gust of wind came in. It blew out the candles, and knocked part of the game to the floor. That gust of wind went right down the hall, through the kitchen and out the back door. Then the lights came back on and not one of us had left our seats the whole time.

And I said.... Far Out!



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