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Keep the Faith

by Keef 

Posted: 01 September 2014
Word Count: 742
Summary: The Reverend is off to work at a mini-golf course.

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"I guess this is it, the end."
Forty years in the clergy had amounted to this, nothing; somebody had left a book on the collection plate and The Reverend read it.  Pretty comprehensively - if you understand the fourth dimensions and particles that make up the fabric of the universe - the book had discredited the existence of an existential being and forced The soon-to-be former Reverend to take up a career at the local miniature golf course, where the only religious icons would be the ones who get a hole in one at the end in order to receive a free game next time they visit.
"It doesn't have to be", said Tim, the area manager of Foundation Churches "Only two more years at the altar and you're set for a director role."
It wasn't that The Reverend didn't want the director role, a nice office job after spending so long facing a rotating congregation consistently let down by the non-appearance of answers to its prayers, would have been perfect.

In the end, the book was just one test of faith too many, how can God work in mysterious ways when science can offer a solution?
The type of followers the church attracted had also changed.  Prayers for health and wellbeing had switched to games consoles and shiny cars.  One man even asked if God would be so willing to grant him an endowment enlargement.
Most of the regulars were from hundreds of miles away anyway and just came to one sermon a month so The Reverend could eventually marry them, with the promise of a meal at the end of the day as well.
His church also bought into a franchise agreement to stay open, a company that promised to bring religion back to the masses.  Foundations Churches had of course also promised the desk job, but at what cost? 

In the last month alone The Reverend had made six videos discrediting global warming as a scientific issue and blaming homosexuality, while Craig and Tom (the couple from next door) helped him deal with the rain-caused flooding in his kitchen.  
The church was also hot on press appearances and put The Reverend in the local paper; something he found out as he read the following headline over his morning Bran Flakes:
Most understood it wasn't his fault, multi-billion-pound corporations always made the people on the front of the business say the wrong thing and deal with the fallout, and The Reverend had given up hope that getting into that director role would remedy the situation. Four directors had been sacked for comments in the name of God in the last six months alone.
He let out a sigh as the cloak was removed for the last time. To be forever replaced with an itchy green polo top and high-vis vest for when a ball got lodged in the infamous clogged windmill.
"It's over, Tim. The church has changed, Foundations Churches - bringing them to the masses again, it's not..."
"I'd like to remind you, Reverend, of your outstanding debt of £1,200 for the new knee cushions provided by the Foundations Franchise agreement."
"I've given you everything from the collection plate as agreed, I even put a little more in there myself."
"A few pieces of copper, half a digestive biscuit, an old Sunday TV guide and a book of lies is hardly going to cut it, Reverend."
The Reverend looked into the bulb surrounded mirror that Foundations Churches had also provided, as Tim fiddled with a clip board behind him, making notes.
"Look, I'll cut you a deal Reverend, you pay £400 by the end of the month and Foundations Churches will allow you to remain a registered man of the church.  You just won't be able to conduct any weddings, funerals or sermons for 12 months, nor will you be allowed to obtain any clergy members from Foundations Churches for the next 24 months."
The Reverend said nothing as he picked up his backpack, filled with a few photos of family members that had passed away years ago and headed for the local hostel. He'd asked the longest serving member of the clergy whether he could perhaps have a bed for the night. But was told no, as it may impact on his chances of eventual promotion within Foundations Churches. 
"Goodbye, Reverend,", said Tim.
"Keep the faith."

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Comments by other Members

BILLINGTON at 10:44 on 02 September 2014  Report this post
As regards credibility:

The plot appears to be set in the UK, but the church described comes over as far more like the US Bible Belt style, ie, we'll take care of your soul and your bank account at the same time.

"Most of the regulars were from hundreds of miles away"

I am attempting to put out a positive take on this story, but is this barely credible, people driving from the West Country or Scotland to come to church once a month?

It would have been interesting to hear his reason as to how he thinks homosexuality could cause global warming.

Maybe I've missed the point.

I think were it to be set in the future, some grammar/syntax issues addressed  and tweaked a little...?

Keef at 16:27 on 02 September 2014  Report this post
Hey Bill, 

Cheers for the feedback. This is the first piece of work I've written in a very long time, so it was defintely rushed and I think I was probably more interested in getting something written than reworking it! 

The points you've made are hugely helpful, I think the story does miss the point a little - a corporation taking over the little guy and using them for their own means. 

I think more than anything I wanted to get something written.  For me the basis works, it'll just need a little honing in the long run! 

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