The Crazy Old White Man and the Preacher

The Preacher lived in the apartment next to mine. He and I talked about preaching and my dream of starting a drug and alcohol rehab center and eventually shelters for the homeless, battered spouses and children and runaways.

He asked me, "Have you thought about preaching?"

"Yes, I was thinking about becoming an episcopal minister when I was a child." I answered, "Over the years I have become disillusioned with the organized church and the hypocrisy in the church. If I preached I would not preach the bible and even though I am a Christian I would not preach the Christian religion. I would preach the Christian way of life. I would preach to all mankind no matter what religion they are. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other religions would be welcome. I would not try to convert them to my faith but ask that they let my faith be an addition to their faith."

The preacher said, "That would be good. I can teach you and help you with the skill of preaching. I am with the Council of Churches. I can help you set up your church and raise the funds for your rehab center.

You are accepted by the blacks and the whites. There is going to be a time when God will call on you to bring people together. You will be called to bring blacks and other minorities together with the whites as one race. It will be your calling to fight bigotry and to show all people that we are all God's children and that we must live together and not discriminate against each other.

Do you believe in the Bible?"

Yes," I answered, "I believe that the Bible is a history of the church. I feel that it was written by people of the church and as with the history books it is slanted to their way of thinking. I will not preach that if you are not saved you will not go to heaven. I feel that if you believe in God you will go to heaven. The Christians are the minority and I do not believe that God would doom the majority of the people on this earth to hell."

The preacher said, "When Motown was in town I was the Motown preacher. I got to know the entertainers. I graduated from Yale and I am putting on a concert there with Motown artists and other R & B artists. I want you to help me with the accounting for the project. You will be paid and your expenses for going to the concert will be paid. I will introduce you to people who may be able to help you with your project.

You can become a preacher and with the Lord's help you will reach your goal. I will help you get the donations to get started."

Samantha and her children moved in with me and he fell in love with her. He told her that he wanted to marry her. Samantha thought of me as a father and she told him that he had to ask me first. I approved, he proposed and she said yes.

Samantha went to Indiana to get her divorce. I was seeing Shirley and we were thinking about getting married. I told her that because of my financial situation I did not want to get married legally but we could talk to the preacher about religious service.

I told the preacher, "Shirley wants to get married before we live together but I do not want to get married until I get my financed straightened out. Is there a way we can get married in the eyes of God even though it would not be a legal wedding?"

He said, "We can have a service to bless your union. I can not say that it is a marriage because that would be illegal to say. I feel that God would accept it."

Shirley wasn't too sure about it but as she thought about it she felt it would solve the problem.

When Samantha and the children disappeared the preacher could no longer function. The Yale concert was dropped and went into a depression that effected his ministry. Shirley and I never had our service. The whole building went through a period of worry than sorrow.

A few years later I saw the preacher. He had never recovered from her lose but he was moving on with his life. I still think about her and the children often. There will always be a spot in my heart for them.

© Copyright 2001 Lee W. Gaylord

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