Let’s call him JR for Jack Reacher, Alice’s fantasy man (created by Lee Childs) … in spite of the fact that she doesn’t like guns or war or violence of any kind. Jack Reacher is a good guy; he respects women; and only kills bad guys. Alice hopes JR is the same way.
They met at the Church of How Big Thou Art. Great music, terrific people, and wonderful breakfast for the homeless and anyone else who shows up in time. There is a guy who stands by the stage like a bouncer, all dressed in black, with steel toed boots. He reminds Alice of one of those Soviet guys in one of the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” books.
Then there is the preacher, Slick Willy. Oh, could that man sell! He held the congregation in the palm of his hand, and then told them what God wanted them do to this week. And then reminded them that Jesus took both VISA and American Express. Well, I’ll be! thought Alice as she remembered the Bible passage about Jesus and the moneychangers.
Originally Alice reached out to JR in kindness because it seemed like he needed a friend. She didn’t think about what he might have done during his tenure in the service of his country.
As a young man of 18 from the Heartland of the US, he enlisted because he was patriotic and wanted to become a good man. In return, our military establishment trained him to kill people. And not always in defense of our country … but by picking them off one by one with a scope and a rifle.
Maybe what she saw was the “1000 yard stare” which another Marine Veteran in the same line of work mentioned to her. The phrase was coined during the Vietnam War. Many soldiers are stuck in the 1,000 yard stare after combat stress.
Someone needed to step up to the plate on these issues. It didn’t seem at all right to train young men to do awful things; then kiss them off – perhaps with a big shopping bag full of drugs -- when they had served their time.
And how do these brave men assimilate back into society when people like Slick Willy -- who claim to be speaking the wishes of “our savior Jesus Christ” -- showed no shred of kindness or compassion for this veteran with PTSD?
It’s not the vet’s fault. How is he supposed to spend the rest of his life if he’s not even allowed to volunteer in a church parking lot?!
The music is so uplifting and the musicians are amazingly talented. During the music section of the service, a sense of the celebration of life pulses through her and soaks right into her soul.
She thought this place was different from the Catholic Church of her youth where the priest would serve up big heaps of guilt each Sunday; or the Evangelical Church where talk of fire and brimstone echoed in those down home places of worship and scared the bejesus out of believers.
And this place is different. Here at the Church of How Big Thou Art, Jesus even takes PayPal.
And after seeing that, Alice would have no problem at all believing in Him.