Mood Of The Nation

A regal southern church was the background for the handsome young reporter with chiseled features. He had been assigned the responsibility of following the religious rumblings of the nation. He played around with the microphone while waiting for a prompt from the receiver hidden in his ear. There was enough wind to create a vanity panic for most on-air people, but not him. His thick mane only slightly waved in the breeze. The red and gray paisley was not so sedate. The tie blew out of control across his shoulder, sometimes reaching his face and hiding a mouthful of perfect white teeth. That was why he was here. He looked good. Never mind that he was not the most compelling reporter to hold a microphone.

The church grounds were worthy of notice as well. Cut, shaved, and manicured giving it the appearance of a Hollywood studio set. Flowerboxes with multicolored annuals were symmetrically positioned along the front side of the bricked building. Trimmed hedgerows lined the sidewalks leading to the large glass entryway. The young broadcaster was standing just to the right of the bricked announcement case strategically located on the front lawn next to the parking lot driveway. Today’s message, in bold, black letters read: “PRELUDE TO ARMAGEDDON”.

The prompt finally came. “I am standing in front of the Patriot Crossing Baptist church in Williamsburg, Virginia, the home of the American revolution. There’s a new revolution taking place today in Williamsburg and throughout rural America. A religious groundswell is beginning to ripple through the nation like a shockwave since the destruction in Houston. Leaders of the evangelical movement are calling for the country to pray, repent, and seek forgiveness, or suffer the wrath of God. They are saying Houston is a warning that cannot be ignored and that the end is near. Churches throughout protestant America have been packed to capacity the last two nights. Ministers from mainline denominations are saying they have never seen anything like it. The end of time is being preached across this nation and people are buying into it; hook, line, and sinker.”

The youthful reporter, his tie still flying aimlessly in the wind, looked quizzically into the camera as if asking for help. A perceptive Jenkins, sensing the young man’s plea, offered an intuitive question. “I mean no impertinence, but haven’t we heard this before? Every time there is a catastrophe of any kind, be it man initiated, or natural, this sort of religious fervor follows. What makes this different?”

The reporter nodded in approval as though the question was prearranged. “Well, Stuart, I had a chance to talk to the minister holding these meetings at Patriot Crossing a little earlier and here is his response.”

The picture morphed to the earlier interview. “Pastor, are you surprised at the remarkable show of support among your patronage, and what do you credit this unusual zeal to?”

The evangelist was the guest speaker at Patriot Crossing and considered to be an expert on the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-times and the second coming of Christ. He was a distinguished looking middle-aged man with a disproportionate amount of white hair. Both hands were adorned by rings that conjured memories of Super Bowl victories. He was comfortable in front of the camera and sported an air of confidence when he spoke.

“Isn’t it obvious sir, for the last sixty years we have witnessed the creation of destructive run-away power shaped by a generation without the slightest idea of how to harness it? The inevitable has happened. Madmen who renounce Christ are now in possession of this force and threaten to extinguish the very existence of life. Couple this with the increasing amount of natural disasters, most likely the result of our failure to preserve the earth as we were commanded, and a culture with the moral equivalent of hell and, well. . . Simply put, young man, we are on the last page of history. Jesus put it this way when speaking about this moment in time. ‘Iniquity will abound.’”

There was a moment of reflection while the interviewer paused, expecting more of his tirade, and then realizing an opening, he asked the obvious question. “But hasn’t iniquity been abounding for a long time now?”

The amiable evangelist was looking for a venue, not a fight. “You’re absolutely right my young friend. Evil has been a part of life from the beginning, but not until the nuclear age have we had the capability to destroy ourselves. We need a savior sir. We need the promised return of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The reporter, uncomfortable with the answer, pressed for an explanation of the timeline the Evangelist seemed to be following, and at the same time trying to hide his own skepticism. “But if the detonation of a nuclear bomb on a populace is a warning that the world is ending, why didn’t it end when we dropped the atomic bomb on Japan?”

The experienced preacher was not surprised by the inquisition. Non-believers never understand. He chuckled, suggesting a slight sense of elitism as though he knew something no one else did. “It is not one incident that we focus on, but a combination of predicted events, which have come to pass in recent history, that we draw our conclusion from. Not the least of these events was the restoration of the nation of Israel in 1948, four years after the Hiroshima bomb. Start your timeline there young man. Now, I must go.”

“Thank you for sharing some time with us sir.” The pre-taped interview faded back to a smiling, wind-blown reporter in front of the Patriot Crossing Baptist church. “Some religious pragmatism to chew on from Williamsburg, Virginia. Now back to you, Stuart.”

“Well, it was certainly rational to a large segment of middle America,” Jenkins said, trying to soften the context of the inexperienced reporter’s mildly arrogant manner.

“Thank you from Williamsburg. I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more about these gatherings in the days to come.”

The camera came back to the New York studio and an even Stuart Jenkins. “The doomsayers have been with us throughout history. I suspect they will remain long after I’m through reporting the news. No impudence intended to the millions of fundamental Christians that help make up this great nation. This is what the forefathers intended when they penned the first Amendment to the Bill of Rights.” Jenkins quoted the passage, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” He paused momentarily to collect his memory. It was an amendment he was familiar with, the one that provided the buttress to his own personal journey. It moved him. His voice quivered as he finished the quote. “Or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Jenkins was a proud and grateful American and would never deny the rights of others to think or worship the way they want; in so doing, he exercised his own right as a journalist to tell the story as he perceived it.

Killer Motion 2009 ©. All Rights Reserved.