Saturday, April 23, 2011


I remember that old Baptist church that my parents took us to, the hard wooden pews, the large cross bathed in light behind the pulpit, looking ten times as remarkable as it would have if a light had not been shining on it. That was always a major part of my idea of a church, the cross. When I was a child I stared up at it until I got tears in my eyes. I had watched the older women do this, stare into the light, shake their heads down, stoke their arms. It seemed the highest compliment one could give to God—deep distress over his mangled son.

Because we were Baptist the cross was blank to signify the resurrection. I had to imagine Christ hanging there, a crown of thorns wound round his head, his chest heaving.

Pastor Hasper stood before us, a lanky six foot four. I thought it fitting his name rhymed. That indeed he had been called to the ministry, the same way some friends of our, the Doctors, were called to the medical field, each child growing up to become Dr. Doctor. My name didn’t rhyme with anything.

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