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Slouching toward Zion and More Lies

Robert Flynn

Publication Year: 2004

Robert Flynn has gathered twenty-three stories that have hope, faith, and love as their common denominator. They are funny, political, and more than a bit prophetic as well as being superbly crafted. Included in the collection are “The Rest of the Story,” wherein the author retells select Biblical stories and parables supplying heretofore expurgated details with an exquisitely agonizing truth; “Ten Mistakes God Made,” which treats with candor religious politics, elitism, and the unexplained nature of what makes us believe; “The Trouble with Eve” and “Redemption,” which are at heart stories of how one grapples with, avoids, questions, and finally resigns to—love; and “Chicken Soup for the Damned,” a fable corporate biography retelling of the Savior’s story. “Flynn’s prose cuts like St. Michael’s sword slicing through the smug heart of a believer too comfortable in his faith. He is to southern Baptists what Flannery O’Conner is to southern Catholics. He is raw, woolly, and wild-eyed, and very necessary.”—Jill A. Essbaum, Concordia University, author of Heaven

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

It is a long way from Chillicothe, Texas, to early sixteenth-century Rotterdam. But since Bob Flynn has started writing it is not as far as it used to be. Bob, born and raised in Chillicothe, a very small, dusty West Texas cow-country town, writes humor and satire in a way that invites comparison with Erasmus of ...

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The Trouble with Eve

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pp. 1-14

America was in the third year of a world war. Young Carter was in his first year of confusion over girls. Everything they did was so . . . confusing. When a girl said he had long eyelashes he had rubbed them, not sure whether she meant a loose one was falling into his eye or that he was a sissy. He was sure “You have ...

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Do You Have a Rapture Lawyer?

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pp. 15-16

The Lord is going to return very soon, probably before the next election. If your chances of being raptured are greater than those of a pecan pie at a Baptist picnic you need a rapture lawyer. As you rise into glory, what happens to your estate? You may think you don’t need a rapture lawyer because you have a valid will leaving everything to your wife. What if the ...

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The Baptist Sex Position

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pp. 17-20

Some of the youth giggled when Brother Whatley mentioned Samuel raising his Ebenezer. Brother Whatley knew right then that they needed to hear the Baptist position on sex. However, Brother Whatley had a conundrum. He didn’t much like sex. He was well past forty and if he had ever been interested in ...

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Reasons for Being a Southern Baptist

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pp. 21-24

You can believe in sole freedom however you feel about soul freedom. You can have church by yourself, preach at yourself, or anyone else who displeases you. You can have Communion by yourself; drink real wine if you don’t get caught buying it. You can suspend or bar from membership anyone who disagrees with you or has skin or money of an inappropriate color. ...

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Ten Mistakes that God Has Made

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pp. 25-30

Haskell Gatewood, an evangelist of the Southern Baptist persuasion came to Chillicothe for a revival. After a tour of the churches, school, water tower, and cemetery—the cemetery had the most people in it—he pitched his tent, ready to save folks from sin, sickness, disease, doubt, and Democrats. Brother Haskell put his tent where downtown used to be, ...

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If You're There God, Pick Up

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pp. 31-36

Billy Mac Wilhite came home from the seminary to be ordained as a Baptist preacher. Tommy Foster, who was fourteen, remembered Billy Mac as a quarterback for the Chillicothe High School Eagles. Billy Mac was Tommy’s hero. Tommy didn’t care that for his ordination Billy Mac wore a plaid coat with gray slacks and a bow tie, had tassels on his shoes, and ...

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Questions Catholics Never Ask

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pp. 37-40

When the Virgin Mary visits the earth, why does she always dress like a Muslim? Other than the halo, how do they know she is the mother of Jesus and not the mother of Mohammed? How old is that dress any way? It’s unlikely there are any fashion designers in heaven but couldn’t Michaelangelo whip up something? da Vinci? ...

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Slouching toward Zion

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pp. 41-58

Thurston Morton was the kind of Baptist who when he said “thirty-ought-six,” he expected everyone to understand what he meant. Elaine was raised in the Church of Christ and when she said Acts 2:38, she expected everyone to understand what she meant. However, when Elaine reached puberty she became a Baptist because the Baptist Church had something every night. ...

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Questions Southern Baptists Never Ask

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pp. 59-62

If being sucked out of an airplane to meet Jesus in the Rapture is devoutly to be desired, why not buy a ticket on Ed’s Cut Rate Airline and meet him sooner? What is the point of the rapture if you can’t enjoy the misery of those left behind? If the Bible is literally true why is grape juice substituted for wine? If the Bible is literally true why didn’t St. Peter turn to stone? ...

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Born-Again Jesus

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pp. 63-74

A clandestine group of scientists, even more secretive than the Masonic Lodge, met at the sacred mounds near Chillicothe. Among them was a Nobel laureate, two who had received Pulitzers—one in Specialized Reporting and one in Explanatory Reporting—one winner of the Intel Science Talent Search, ...

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Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting at the Baptist Church

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pp. 75-82

Wednesday night meant prayer meeting at the Chillicothe Baptist Church. Before praying together, Baptists tried to reconcile themselves to one another over ham hock and lima beans, with ice tea and peace cobbler. First, Brother Wachel announced that he felt pretty good for someone who had a funeral that morning. Next, he identified ...

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Onan Comes In From the Cold

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pp. 83-96

When John was born, his mother said, “It’s a boy.” When Roybal was born, she said, “Another boy.” When John was a child, his mother told friends, “He’s a good boy.” When Roybal was a child, she told strangers, “I wanted another child but not this one.” In Chillicothe Middle School, John was called Big John. John liked being called Big John. Roybal was called Roybal ...

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Questions Mormons Never Ask

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pp. 97-98

When we gave up polygamy did we surrender religious principle to secular humanism? Was the fear of jail the beginning of monogamy? Why didn’t Brigham Young keep going until he got to California where polygamy is popular? Mormons would be as entrenched in Hollywood as the Church of Scientology. If marriages made in the Mormon Temple are not until ...

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Testimonial Time in the Baptist Church

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pp. 99-106

Sunday night meant testifying at the Chillicothe Baptist Church and folks who weren’t Baptists came to see what their Christian brethren had been up to. Testifying gave a whole new meaning to the expression, “No news is good news.” After singing, praying and a short (for him) sermon, Brother Wachel opened the floor to those who wished to bear testimony to what the Lord had done for them. ...

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The Rest of the Story

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pp. 107-112

What will a man do who has one hundred sheep and one of them gets lost? He will leave the other ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go to look for the lost sheep. When he finds it, I tell you, he feels far happier over this one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. ...

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Next Year in Oberammergau

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pp. 113-120

Winnie Wofford accompanied high school friends to Oklahoma to see the Easter Pageant that began at midnight and ended at dawn, and Winnie was so offended she never went to Oklahoma again. It had gotten bitterly cold in the hours between the baptism of Jesus and his arrest, and Millard Moore offered ...

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Mission to Mexico

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pp. 121-146

In Chillicothe, the Baptist Church was pastored by old men on their way to the cemetery or young men on their way to the seminary. Bruce McCoy was on his way from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty College to Southwestern Baptist Seminary with a layover as pastor of Chillicothe. McCoy was so young he could make it through an entire ...

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Radio WWJS

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pp. 147-162

Brother McCoy could find no backing for Station WWJS, “What Would Jesus Say.” He called Brother Harold and enjoyed several minutes of long-distance listening to Jesus rock, sung by Christians who believed intelligibility was gay if not foolhardy. When he explained his problem, Brother Harold offered ...

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Questions Secular Humanists Never Ask

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pp. 163-164

Since there is no God, who is to blame for the bad things done in the name of religion? If I get my credit card bill and need to express my surprise, whose name do I use? Kurt Vonnegut! Since we don’t have God-words, how will I know if I speak in a religious way? Do humanists have glossalalia? Is John Kenneth Galbraith an example? ...

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pp. 165-176

Kyle wasn’t ugly. He wasn’t dumb. He wasn’t disliked. He wasn’t anything. That was the problem; Kyle wanted to be someone. He yearned to be admired. What did he have to do to be noticed? He perfected a dumb look to elicit laughter from classmates when asked a question but no one looked when he did it. The ...

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The Church Softball League

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pp. 177-180

My wife and I visited an aunt and uncle in a West Texas town that is best left unidentified. It was big enough to have two Baptist churches as well as Methodist, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, Bible, and El Sendero churches. It was big enough to have a church softball league, requiring only two ...

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Chicken Soup for the Damned

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pp. 181-184

Jesus was born in the biggest house with the finest stable in Bethlehem. His mother was a member of the Daughters of Jericho. His father, Joseph, was a famous hero who drove a stake through the heart of a Palestinian and became CEO of Nazareth Land Development, employing hundreds of carpenters and masons, ...

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Desert Duel

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pp. 185-207

AT RISE: Three astronomers returning from an international conference discuss the meeting they have just attended. Their servants follow offstage leading the camels ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781574414103
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574411836

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2004