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Doctrine in dialogue format
10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2Pet 3:)
"It has come to my attention that many of the inhabitants of this condemned building are reluctant to accept the fact that their ancestral home will go up in flames. I intend to interview the various residents of the building to see how they are preparing for the inevitable event.
"Here we are at apartment one. Let's see what they have to say shall we?
"Hello sir, my name is Michael Jay Busybody and I'm conducting an interview of the residents of this soon to be demolished building. I wonder if you might spare me a moment of your time and tell me what you're doing to prepare for the event."
"Certainly Mr Busybody. Let me introduce myself. I'm Gainsay Abnegate and I'm not a bit worried about the prevailing gossip that is being spread amongst the inhabitants of this building purporting the destruction thereof. This building has been here for generations, and as you can see Mr Busybody, there is no sign of it deteriorating in any way. Long after I and my family have left this mortal coil this building will still be here and fully functional. Fear not Mr Busybody, the rumors are based upon faulted information."
"Am I to take it then Mr Abnegate that you are doing nothing to prepare your family and yourself for what is to come? Don't you find such an attitude rather risky, if I may be so bold as to ask?"
"Not at all My Busybody. Have you never heard of the power of positive thinking? I know in my heart that this building is not to be destroyed, therefore it can not be destroyed. The power of the mind and the will is a very strong force Mr Busybody. You would do well to develop your own willpower."
"Yes, well, I certainly appreciate you sharing your opinion and your advice Mr Abnegate. But now I believe I will continue my interviews if you don't mind."
"Not at all Mr Busybody. Not at all. And do have a good day."
"Hello Mam. My name is....."
"My such a handsome young man. Do come into my parlor and stay a while. I always enjoy company, and those of the male species are especially welcome. Would you care for some libation? Or perhaps tea would be more to your liking."
"Nothing thank you Mam. I'm merely conducting an interview of this condemned building and...."
"Hush. Let us not speak of serious matters at this time Mr Busybee. Relax and take your shoes off. Make yourself comfortable and tell me all about yourself. Leave out nothing. If it takes a day or two, it matters not. Just be yourself and make this your home."
"Thank you Mam, but...."
"My name is Ambrosia Epicurus, but you can call me Primrose, everybody does. Isn't the day wonderful Mr Busybee? But then, every day is wonderful when we seek to make the most of the day. Wouldn't you say so Mr Busybee?"
"I hadn't considered life in quite that way Miss Primrose. But I suppose...."
"Life is to be enjoyed. We're only here in these bodies of flesh one time around Mr Busybee. And these fleshly encasements seek to be appeased. It's our duty as humans to satisfy the desires of the flesh, it's ordained by the gods. Wouldn't you agree Mr Busybee?"
"Well Miss Primrose, you have indeed taken me by surprise and I really don't know how to reply to your questions. But speaking of questions, I have one for you if I may be so bold as to ask it."
"Ask on Mr Busybee. Questions are indications of interest. And I always like my gentlemen friends to be as interested in me as I am in them. What is your question Mr Busybee?"
"Thank you Miss Primrose. As you undoubtedly have heard this building is scheduled for demolition in the very near future. I was wondering if you would tell me and my listening audience your reaction to this proclamation and what you are doing to prepare for this inevitable event."
"Oh Pish-posh Mr Busybee. Such stuff and nonsense. Does it really matter what is going to happen tomorrow? It's today that is important. We must make the best of each and every day, satisfying our bodily cravings whenever they arise. That is our purpose here on earth Mr Busybee. Always remember that. It's the dictum of the gods."
"Yes, well, thank you for your candor Miss Primrose, and now I think I had better be going, if you will release your grip on my coat sleeve."
"Do stay a while longer Mr Busybee. We're just beginning to know one another. There is so much more we have to share with one another. Stay a while. I'm sure if you remain a little longer you will see things my way and you will wish to remain forever."
"Yes, that's what I'm afraid of Miss Primrose. Now, please return my other shoe if you will. Miss Primrose....?"
"My, that was indeed a most interesting, and may I add harrowing experience. I find it distressing when I am placed in a position where my emotions are torn and tempted, not to speak of my clothes. Here we are at apartment number three. I'll knock and see if anyone is in."
"Well, good morning young man. I see you have a microphone in your hand. Are you by any chance a microphone salesman? I'm afraid I have all the microphones I need. If you have a speaker on your person you are willing to part with I might be interested in that. Would you care to step in and join me for a spot of tea?"
"Thank you Mam. I would prefer to remain here in the hall if you don't mind. For some reason I have become a bit fearful of apartments in this buildings."
"As you please. I see you are without one shoe and the sleeve of your coat has been torn off. Have you perchance been to apartment two in the recent past?"
"Yes indeed Mam. That I have. I take it that you have encountered this situation before?"
"I have indeed sir. I have yet to have a salesman come to my door appendaged with both coat sleeves and shoes. Considering you have one shoe remaining I assume you did not stay long next door. Often my male visitors have at least one pant leg missing as well. I do hate to call you sir, what might your name be if I may be so bold as to ask?"
"Oh yes, my name is Michael Jay Busybody and I'm conducting an interview of the residents of this condemned building and I wonder if you would tell me and my listening audience your opinion of this inevitable event and what you're doing to prepare yourself and your family for the future."
"Oh Mr Busybody, not you too. Don't you know that is not for us today? That is very old news. I don't know why people have not learned that the destruction of this building is something that has happened in the far past. Come, let me show you something. And fear not Mr Busybody, you are in safe hands with me. Primrose and I have nothing in common, of this you may be assured. By the way, my name is Langsyne Erstwhile. Please, have a seat while I fetch you a glass of nice tea."
"Thank you Mrs Erstwhile, but if you don't mind I'd rather stand here by the doorway. The stale air of the hallway I find surprisingly refreshing if you know what I mean."
"Indeed I do Mr Busybody. It seems all my male visitors find the hallway air reassuring. Here's your tea, and here's the album I would like to show you."
"Album Mrs Erstwhile? What album is that?"
"It's the album of pictures and news articles I've collected over the many years I've lived in this apartment building. Now, look here. If you will take a close look you will see that this picture is from a newspaper article regarding the building that once stood on this very location. See? There's the building next door still standing where it did at that time. This picture was taken well over a hundred years ago. It is not the same building as you see this to be. You do see that don't you Mr Busybody?"
"Yes, I see that Mrs Erstwhile. But what does it have to do with this building being demolished?"
"It has everything to do with this building being demolished Mr Busybody. As you can see the building in this picture is in the process of being demolished. Do you see the wrecking ball striking the side of the building? What you have been told is not something in the future Mr Busybody, it's something that is a past event. It has already happened long ago. You do see that don't you Mr Busybody?"
"I see what you're saying Mrs Erstwhile, but by what you're telling me this building in which we're standing is well over a hundred years old. Don't you think it feasible, and in fact very likely that this building will be torn down as well?"
"No Mr Busybody. What is past remains in the past. I wouldn't concern yourself with things that have already occurred. What's past is past and what's future is future. The past is not the future. Does that make sense to you Mr Busybody?"
"I'm afraid it doesn't Mrs Erstwhile. I was once in an auto accident. I don't assume that I will never be in an accident because I have already been in one. Quite the contrary, having been in an accident in the past is only vivid evidence that accidents occur, and they occur to me. This knowledge causes me to be even more vigilant to the possibility of accidents, they don't close my eyes to the possibility of future accidents."
"You worry too much Mr Busybody. Take my word for it, this building will be around for a long time. You just wait and see."
"Yes, well, thank you Mrs Erstwhile for your time, and I really need to be going. I still have interviews I must conduct, so if you will excuse me...."
"Certainly Mr Busybody. But remember what I said, past is past and future is future and never the twine shall meet."
"Weelllll, what have we here? Hello little man, and what can we do for you today? I see you have a lollipop in your hand. I hope you're not going to try and eat that thing. Hard on the teeth you know. That's a joke, son. Come on in and tell me what's on that little mind of yours, if anything."
"Thank you sir, I'm...."
"The name's Fencestraddle H Babylon, son. And what might your name be? Your pa did give you one didn't he?"
"Yes, thank you Mr Babylon. My name is Michael Jay Busybody and...."
"Michael J huh. A pansy name if I done ever heard one. Well, have a seat and take the load off. There's a cigar on the table if you're a mind to smoke, and I'll get you a beer if you think you're man enough for the stuff."
"No thank you Mr Babylon. And I dare say with the density of the smoke in this apartment, and the way you're wobbling on your feet, you may have overindulged a tad, if you know what I mean."
"Nonsense son. I'm just getting started good. The nights still young. I got the game on the tube if you're interested in that kind of stuff. Love it myself. Manly you know. I like manly stuff. Doubt you do though. You looks rather wimpish to me if you know what I mean. No offence son, but facts is facts."
"Yes, I guess they are. I see you have a well stocked apartment here. I don't think I've ever seen such a big screen TV, and I don't think you've missed supplying yourself with any of the modern conveniences."
"Yep, that I have son. And this ain't all. I got a yacht, a catamaran and a airoplane stashed away somewheres. And my cars ain't nothing to sneeze at neither. Got to take care of myself as they say. If I don't, nobody will."
"Yes, I see. Well Mr Babylon, I'm conducting an interview of the residents here in this condemned building and I was wondering if you would tell me what you are doing to prepare for the inevitable event."
"Do? I don't do nothin' son. No need to. I'm a Christian, and us Christians is taken care of by God. Look around you and you can see for yourself. I got all this from God His self. A prayer here and a prayer there, and bingo, I gots what I pray for. It's all in the knowing how, if you know what I mean son."
"Yes, I see. But Mr Babylon, I thought a Christian was to separate themself from the world and not involve themselves with the pleasures of this world. It appears to me that you have fully engulfed yourself in the world. How might such a turn of events be explained?"
"You got it all wrong son. A Christian is made up of two parts, the body and the Spirit. What the body does has got no effect on the Spirit. My Spirit is in the right place with God, so I can do whatever I want with this here body of mine and it don't mean a thing. Paul his self said all things are lawful to the Christian. I'm a Christian, so anything I do is lawful. Get it son? I teach this to my church too, and they're a happy bunch I tell you."
"You're a pastor of a church then I take it Mr Babylon?"
"You got it son. One of the biggest in the state matter of fact. People like what I have to tell 'em, so I can't keep them away."
"Indeed. And so Mr Babylon, what do you teach your congregation about preparing for the destruction of this building? I'm sure you've given the event careful consideration."
"Nope. No need to like I done said. Time comes and God will take care of me just like He's been doing all these years. The Bible says not to fear. So I don't fear. I just lays back and waits to see what He does is all. That's the Bible way, I tell you."
"Yes, well thank you Mr Babylon. I think I'll be going now. I think the smoke and the alcohol fumes are getting to me. So if you'll excuse me...."
"Wimp, just like a said you was. Sure, go ahead, go baby that there wimpy set a lungs you got. Don't let me stop you."
"Oh, you poor little fellow. Do come in. Such a mess you are. Please sit down on this chair. I would ask you to sit on the sofa but I'm sure you are in far too bad a shape and you will make a mess of it. Were you in a fight? Perhaps you were drug through the gutter? By the condition of your clothes and the smell of smoke and alcohol on you, you must have led a terrible life. Let me fix you a sandwich and bring you a cup of hot coffee. It must have been days since you've eaten a proper meal."
"Thank you Mam, but things are not as they appear. I've been to some of the other apartments before coming here...."
"And they wouldn't feed you? That's terrible. Such a hard life you beggars must lead. We don't realize how fortunate we are until we see someone in your terrible state. I see you're carrying a microphone with you. Is that perhaps the last of your meager possessions you poor, pitiful shell of a man?"
"No Mam. Please, let me introduce myself. My name is Michael Jay Busybody and I have a radio program where I interview people on the streets and in their homes. I...."
"You're a radio announcer? I surely would have thought the radio stations would pay their employees enough to buy decent clothes. But perhaps you smoke and drink up all your earnings. Oh that devil rum. What it can do to a poor soul that becomes entangled with it. But I won't judge you Mr Busybody. As the saying goes, except for the grace of God, there go I."
"Thank you Mrs, Mrs...."
"Oh, how negligent of me, let me introduce myself. My name is Fallacious Machiavellian. Are you a Christian Mr Busybody? Do you attend a church? Perhaps you would like to come with me to my church. We welcome street people just like they were normal folks. Perhaps there's someone there your size who might have an extra set of clothes. Let me get on the telephone and check around. I'm sure I can come up with something."
"That's ok Mrs Machiavellian. Really, I'm fine. I don't need anything. I would just like to ask you some questions if I may. I'm interested in finding out what the residents of this tenement building are doing to prepare for the eventual destruction of the building. Would you mind telling me of your plans Mrs Machiavellian?"
"Plans? I hadn't considered it as plans, but you can be sure that I will be well taken care of when the event occurs. Yes indeed Mr Busybody, I am well prepared."
"I'm glad to hear you say that Mrs Machiavellian. You're the first person who has told me they have made any preparation whatever. If I may ask, just what plans have you made? I'm sure my listening audience would be most happy to hear what you are doing should they ever find themselves in the same situation. I hear there is a very good chance of this occurrence spreading world wide. Please, do go on Mrs Machiavellian."
"It's very simple Mr Busybody. Come over here to the window and I'll show you."
"Show me? At the window? Is it a fire escape ladder you had built perchance?"
"Oh no Mr Busybody, nothing so primitive as that. Look, you see that fluffy white cloud way up in the sky?"
"Yes, I see it Mrs Machiavellian. But you needn't worry. I'm sure it's not going to rain."
"I'm not concerned about rain Mr Busybody. What I am pointing out is the vehicle that will carry me away from this building when the time comes that it is destroyed. Yes indeed Mr Busybody. The plans have been made, and I am fully ready."
"Um, yes. But Mrs Machiavellian, how is that cloud supposed to come rescue you? Clouds are made up of water. I don't think...."
"Silly boy. The cloud won't be my rescue. But my Savior will come on a cloud very similar and whisk me away to His mansion in the sky just before this building burns and I will be with Him there forever. While this building burns, I will be in Heaven trying out my new golden wings. Never fear Mr Busybody, I have been fully assured of this promise. It's a promise that can not fail. You too can have such assurance if you come with me to my church. Will you come Mr Busybody?"
"I will have to give such a proposal some thought Mrs Machiavellian. But I thank you for the kind offer. Let me ask you this if I may, you said you've been prepared for some time for this cloud of rescue. What did you do to prepare yourself?"
"How little you know about the Bible Mr Busybody. I was baptized. All baptized people, who have been baptized the proper way and said the right words, and had the right words said over them are assured of the very same rewards I am assured of. This is an absolute fact, one that cannot be questioned."
"I see. And when may I ask were you baptized and in what church? Is this asking to much?"
"Not at all Mr Busybody. I was just a baby when I was baptized, and as to which church I don't recall. I'm afraid my memory doesn't extend back that far. But I'm sure it was the right church. Have no fear on that Mr Busybody. No fear at all."
"I see. Well thank you for your time Mrs Machiavellian. I'll be going now. I still have some calls to make. For your sake I hope you are correct in your conjecture. I really do."
"Have no fear Mr Busybody. I have been fully assured of my immediate rescue. Life must be hard on one who lives on the streets as you do Mr Busybody. Affection must come to you few and far between. Before you leave, let me give you a kiss on the cheek. There. Doesn't that feel better? I do so like to make the likes of you feel better whenever I can."
"Yes, thank you Mrs Machiavellian. And I think I'll feel even better when I've finished this interview session and can once again be back on the street."
"Old habits die hard, don't they Mr Busybody?"
"Yes, they do."
"Hello Mam. My name is...."
"Quick! Get in here now! Are they still out there? Are they searching the building for you?"
"Mam? Is who looking for me?"
"Why, the thugs who beat you up and stole everything you have of course. How did you escape? Did you beat them off with that club you're holding in your hand? What a farsighted person you are to have carried a club with you, even such a frail looking club as the one you hold. Such a dear little thing you are. Please, sit down and rest while I prepare you some hot cocoa. Would you like a marshmallow in your cocoa? Or do you drink it straight?"
"Nothing for me Mam. And I'm fine. Really, I'm just fine. And I wasn't mugged, I was....."
"Of course, I see it all now. I should have noticed it right away. Did she take you for everything you have? The hussy. You just can't trust a woman nowadays. I suspect she took you for everything except that thing you hold in your hand. Is it valuable?"
"Woman? What woman are you talking about Mam?"
"Why, the woman who left you in such a ragged condition. There's no need denying the truth. It's as plain as the lipstick on your cheek and your collar. The hussy. I hope you have enough sense to drop her. She's no good and she'll just do you more harm. Believe you me. I know the type."
"I thank you for your concern Mam, but really, I haven't had any trouble. You see, I'm a radio announcer and....."
"And you interviewed the wrong woman. I'll bet you asked her a question she resented. It happens all too often. I've seen it a million times if I've seen it once. Women are so touchy these days. But you needn't worry about asking me a question that will offend me. My life is an open book. Yes indeed, an open book. By the way, my name is Credence Ingenuous. And what might your name be young man?"
"I'm sorry Mrs Ingenuous, my name is Michael Jay Busybody and I'm....."
"Busybody, Busybody. Hmmm. There's a lot of Busybodys at the church I attend. Are you by any chance related to Bluenose Nosybody? He looks a lot like you, only a foot taller, muscular and black. But otherwise he looks just like you."
"No, I'm afraid I don't know anyone here in town Mrs Ingenuous. About the interview, as you know this building is scheduled for demolition in the very near future. I have been inquiring as to what the residents of this building are doing to prepare themselves for this eventuality. I was wondering if you might share your thoughts on this matter."
"Certainly Mr Busybody. I would be most happy to oblige. I have taken great pains to make sure I'm fully prepared. I have done all I know to do. Of course there's always more that should be done. But I'll learn of them when I've dealt with the issues I'm dealing with now."
"I'm glad you're preparing yourself Mrs Ingenuous. Are you by any chance waiting for a cloud to pick you up on that fateful day?"
"No Mr Busybody. I'm not relying on a cloud."
"Perhaps you were baptized as an infant and that is your reassurance?"
"I have been baptized Mr Busybody, but that is not my assurance."
"I see, then perhaps your reassurance comes from your Spiritual relationship with God or that you're aware of the historical demolition of this building?"
"Not at all Mr Busybody. I'm not counting on any of those things."
"Then tell me Mrs Ingenuous, what are you doing to prepare yourself for the coming fire?"
"Come with me, I'll show you. Do you see the bag on the bed? That bag contains everything I need to survive the upcoming storm, if I may call it such. I have in that bag a single suit of clothes, my Bible which I read and study extensively, and my prayer book. I don't count on any form of physical preparation, although I take what precautions I can. My confidence rests in my Spiritual preparedness. I never feel so confident in my preparedness that I rest, but I strive to perfect myself as best I can. Each day I grow a fraction of an inch, not nearly enough to be sure. But given time, I will have attained a degree of perfection that will allow me to stand before My Lord. At least that is my hope, and my direction. So you see Mr Busybody, my hope is in my efforts, my Spiritual communication with the Lord. Does that answer your question?"
"Indeed it does Mrs Ingenuous, and I thank you for sharing your story with me. I think you're the first person I've met who really believes there will be a destruction. My day has been long Mrs Ingenuous, so if you will excuse me I will be going. But thank you again for telling me of your plans."
"Not at all Mr Busybody. I'm glad you were interested enough to ask. Now mind what I said before young man. Stay away from those hussies. They will be the death of you. I've seen it a hundred times if I've seen it once."
"I'll do just that Mrs Ingenuous, I'll do just that."
7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Rev 19:)
46The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes..(Luke 12:)
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish..... 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.(Mat 25:)
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Gal 6:)
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