Saul of Tarsus: The Gossip Chronicles-Presage

   Associated Slander Press (ASP)-In the Valley of Sin, somewhere just south of the Slough of Despond, a dedicated team of researchers recently unearthed a labyrinth of giant pots. The diggers were excited to begin opening the huge earthen vessels, which had been buried under centuries of shattered dreams and broken lives. So far under the surface were these pots that only the merest chance enabled the researchers to find them.

   "We smelled a real noxious smell while digging a few meters away," Sophia Wisdom said. "We thought we were about to uncover an ancient library. We were distracted, however, by the malodorous wind wafting down to us through the wilderness to our south."

   "That's when we found the chamber pots, by digging in transverse fashion to the juxtaposition of what we actually sought," she added.

   "Whatever," said lead digger Hal Tosis. "We found the good stuff mixed in with all the nasty stuff."

   "Yes," Dr. Wisdom continued, only slightly glaring at her dirt covered companion. "And what caught our eyes, after we fought through the smell, was some of the pots that were sealed differently than the chamber pots. Some of them were closed up with the kind of material the ancients used to keep weather out rather than to keep smells in, so we knew we had to look at those pots carefully."

   "You can actually burp them at the top," Dr. Tosis added. "Ancient tupperware; we believe they were sold at house parties…"

   "He's making a joke," Dr. Wisdom interjected. "He really needs to get back to digging in the ground now."

   Her glare was a bit more pronounced this time.

   "What did you find when you opened the first important pot?" I asked.

   "The King Tup pot," Tosis said, helpfully.

   "Go. Dig. Be happy," Dr. Wisdom said in an unfeignedly dismissive tone.

   "He is happier," she said, when Hal had left us, "when excavating. His mind wanders too much when above ground."

   "I have a brother who is just like that," I added, though I am an only child.

   "Yes," Dr. Wisdom said, seeing right through my transparent opaquity. "To be sure."

   "Well," she told me, "To get back to our find…"

   "Yes," I exhorted her.

   "We found a series of two thousand year old manuscripts. Among them were various communications between two Early Church leaders, discussing  a common set of problems, arguing back and forth, setting action plans and enacting proposals," she told me.

   "You mean?" I asked, almost unbelieving.

   "Yes," she answered.

   "Can it be possible?"

   "It is," she affirmed.

   "No," I gasped.

   "The first Christian memos," she assured me.

   "And," she continued, "they all seem to be about the same fellow. He was perceived to be a very real problem in the Headquarters of the Early Church. You could never guess his name, not in a century of guesses," she told me.

   "Paul, the apostle," I told her, "nee Saul of Tarsus."

   "Someone told you," she accused me.

   "All the evidence is there in the letters he wrote," I told her. "He was beloved by the pagans he converted. He was naturally, therefore, behated by some of the religious community."

   "You mean?" it was her turn to have the frightful truth dawn on her.

   "Yes," I answered. "He got too big for his toga."

Tomorrow-A Partial Translation of the first memo.

Remember, more baptists get their (bad) news from Associated Slander Press (ASP) than from any other source.


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