Living at the
Foot of the Cross
It seems that there always is some movement afoot in Christendom to challenge the basic tenets of the faith. Consequently, throughout the world we have countless denominations and independent groups, each with its own dogma and traditions and many of which proclaim themselves to be the one true religion and the only way to the one true God. What you are about to read is a fictitious story of one group of believers, who begin to question the traditional teachings of their local church and soon discover that their religion of love and peace holds some dark, self seeking attitudes within its midst.
The basic question that runs throughout this story is a legitimate one, one that is stirring throughout Christendom today: Did Jesus Christ come to redeem all people or only a select few who are willing to jump through the religious hoops required of them by traditional belief systems? Is the Grace of God truly the free, unmerited, unearned, undeserved, unconditional, no strings attached gift of the Creator of the Universe to those who populate His Creation or does it come at a price? Is the shed blood of the Christ of God sufficient to redeem all mankind from all of his sins, including the sins of unbelief, unrepentance, unacceptance, denial, even rejection?
Underlying this story is an evil that reveals itself from within each of us whenever we find our personal religious paradigm being challenged from without. Is the love of Christ sufficient to recognize that evil for what it is? Is Christís finished work at Calvary sufficient to overcome it?
This book is not intended to be a treatise on any particular religious doctrine. I should point out, however, that our hero is a preacher whose spiritual evolution closely resembles that of this writer. His preaching often gets him into hot water with his congregation, to whom he lovingly refers as ďThe Folks.Ē So, yes, the story does have a message. It is this writerís hope that you have fun discovering it for yourself and enjoy the journey along the way.
Because much of the conflict in the story stems from our preacherís preaching, I debated using footnotes. Itís not often one will find footnotes in a work of fiction. After much internal struggle, I decided upon putting endnotes at the end of the story. If youíre reading this through some form of electronic device, you should find that each note comes with a convenient interactive link to get you there and another to bring you back to the story. The same is true of the Table of Contents. Ainít modern technology grand!
Some of you are bound to take issue with some of the doctrines presented in this story. Thatís okay. Some of the storyís characters also do, as does this writer. Thatís the whole point of the story. Itís not my objective to convert anyoneís God view. God is perfectly capable of doing that without any help from me. If you have a pleasant reading experience I will consider my mission accomplished. Anything beyond that is between you and your God.
You wonít find any car chase scenes, exploding buildings, or torrid love affairs here but a couple of cars do get totaled, somebody sets fire to the county jail, and Fred and Elvira kiss on the lips. Oh yes, there also is a physical tussle in the back of the church Sanctuary during a Sunday morning service resulting in one of our churchmen getting thrown in the slammer.
Finally, donít let the title throw you. While the Cross is indeed an instrument of death, this is a story of Life: Abundant Life, Resurrection Life, the very Life of the Son of God being lived to its fullest in and through mortal mankind. The only way to this Life is through the finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ.