James Blatherwick, the only son of Marion and Peter Blatherwick, is an arrogant, self-centered, independent individual who is firmly convinced that he requires no outside assistance, not even from God. He is proud, self-possessed and has no doubt that his intellect will guide him through the direst of circumstances.
It is, while disappointing, not at all surprising that such a one as he is preparing to enter the church as one of God's ministers. Is he dedicated to God, does he revere the Almighty Creator, are his motives pure and altruistic, does he ache for the lost, hurt for those who hurt, cry with those who cry? Not hardly. The ministry offers him the opportunity to display his intellectual prowess and scholastic achievements as well as provides a vehicle by which he may readily obtain prominence, position, power, influence, and a quite comfortable living with minimal exertion-not unlike many pastors, priests, and ministers who I have personally had the distinct misfortune to encounter in this century.
Rather than called of God, for he does not know God, to minister to His flock, Blatherwick has chosen the ministry as a profession. He cannot minister, for he cannot love. He cannot heal, for his heart knows no compassion. He cannot do anymore than repeat, from the pulpit, the words that he has memorized, the words that hold absolutely no meaning for him, the words which he himself does not truly believe.
There abides, however, a loving and patient God who will take whatever steps He deems necessary to redeem and recover His lost sheep. While Blatherwick feels himself quite safe and secure within his thin veneer of pride, the Almighty begins to work.
There resides in the same town in which Blatherwick is comfortably ensconced, a humble cobbler and his daughter, both, having never attended seminary, know more of God than Blatherwick could have conceived possible. It is through the love, patience, understanding, and lives of these two children of God that Blatherwick begins to enter the 'fiery furnace' of redemption and repentance.
The redemption of a single soul is, indeed, a process of rebirth, for intrinsic to this procedure is often to be found agonizing and excruciating birth-pangs. It is doubtful whether it could be accomplished otherwise. The old must die, and he does not die willingly, while the new struggles midst cries of pain, sorrow, and suffering to the surface. As the new birth is taking place midst the death of the old, there are prayers innumerable ascending toward the Throne of God. The angels and saints in Heaven, the children of God on earth-all participate in this glorious event.
You are cordially invited to attend both the death and the rebirth of James Blatherwick. In attendance there may be many with whom you have had no prior experience. I ask that you pay particular heed to one old cobbler and his loving daughter, Maggie. I also request that you not be shy, for this is truly a wondrous occasion. The Blatherwick family will be only too pleased to welcome you to the birth of their new son.