512 Words

The Hardest Part About Tyndale

M. Stanley Bubien

"The hardest part about Tyndale is spelling his name." My standard joke, designed to ease any tension beforehand, but Mr. Potts frowned with arms crossed. "You don't know Tyndale." I said.

"Actually, I do." Potts tipped his chin toward a collection of bluish paperbacks upon my shelf. "And Barclay, and Chilton. I've read a lot of them."

"A man after my own heart!"

He'd made an appointment seeking "Pastoral Counseling." Not my favorite thing---Bible studies were my forte---but all part of the job. If I'd known we'd be talking Theology, I would've looked forward to this.

"You must be aware of Barclay's exposition on St. John's response to the Gnostic heresy."

He shrugged. "There can't be a heresy if God doesn't exist."

I grinned at his obvious bait. "Ah, but God does exist."

"That's what you say."

"Of course. I'm the Pastor."

"And that's why you believe?"

"It's not just me." I indicated my library. "Look at these books. All these great minds---"

"I've been there," he dropped his face into his hands. "Many times," he mumbled, remaining like that, folded silently in upon himself. My grin began to feel a tad uncomfortable, and in the pause, I recalled a study I'd recently prepared, an argument for the existence of God taken from Kant.

"Is that why you've come?" I tapped my fingers together. "Because you don't believe?"

"Yes." he replied to the floor. "And I wanted to hear why you---" He shook his head. "I'm troubled... By a pie-in-the-sky God who marks "naughty" or "nice" like a great big Santa Claus whenever you do something."

"But that's not what it's about," I mumbled reflexively.

"He keeps tabs on us."

Well, yes, God does, I thought. It's as clear as day from Genesis to Revelation. But something kept me from saying that aloud. "How---" I stole a glance at the blue bindings on my shelf. "How long have you been a parishioner?"

"Three years."

"Three years! And you don't believe in God?"

"I don't know. I'm not sure why I should."

Hadn't he learned anything from me? "Something's happened in your life..."

"No! Nothing new, anyway."

"Well..." I hesitated. Could it be that I've failed? Upon my desk, beside warn pages of Kant sat a volume of Tyndale. Now here was someone who understood God. And I must admit, I'd always felt a tinge of jealousy of the man's intellectual prowess---he argued so powerfully, he could've convinced a Buddhist monk.

And as suddenly as darkness falls in Autumn, my grin returned. Potts knew my library, and therein lied the rub. "I have the perfect answer." I stated. "But, I need a day or two---to give it proper attention."

He remained head-in-hands, and I allowed him a space of time. "Trust me." I said. "I'm your Pastor."

He sighed in response, but sat upright. With that, I knew I had him.

After he'd departed, I began leafing through pages. "Now, where to start..." The answer, I knew it was here. Somewhere. "If not Tyndale, then Barclay. Or certainly Chilton..."

Copyright ©2000 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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April, 2000
Issue #48

512 Words