Sunday 22 December 2019

Last Bardsong for 2019: "Visions upon the Sands"

(Received a "Highly Recommended" award in the FaithWriters Competition.)

I like to walk along the coast
To breathe fresh air, to walk, to pray.
Early morn you’ll see me most
Before the crowds come out to play.

The Spirit rose, just like a breeze,
Not from the sea but in my heart:
“Look well, my son, on all of these.
My works to thee shall truth impart.”

So then I looked with different eyes
Beyond the smells of kelp decayed
And dirty refuse, smoggy skies.
Enchanted worlds were then displayed.

I saw the sands like tiny sheep
That follow where the currents go.
Some grains may graze within the deep
Or high and dry above the flow.

The restless dunes forever drift
So driven by the gypsy wynd.
With shifting feet both slow and swift
New ground it claims, soon left behind.

But hardy grasses some confined
And held them fast with fibrous ropes.
Then laughing children played and mined
Or slid upon their sandy slopes.

Then said the Wind: “If thou wilt bear
The bonds of love and not rebel,
Then many a blessing thou shalt share,
Abundant more than thou canst tell.”

I found a pile of broken beams,
A grave, a shrine of wood, sun-bleached,
A memory of shattered dreams.
‘Twas here a mighty vessel beached.

Its proud mast once rose proud and tall
Above the waves it thought to rule.
But treach’rous shoals then caused its fall.
The heedless captain was a fool.

Then spake the whisp’ring Wind once more:
“If thou wouldst sail the seas of life,
My course will bring thee safe to shore
Avoiding shoals of sin and strife.”

I saw the sands as battle-grounds.
White-crested warrior-waves that roar,
Roused by deep ocean trumpet-sounds,
Make endless war upon the shore.

The waves lay siege upon the rocks
And sweep away the yielding sands.
The mighty wall it proudly mocks
“Nay! Ye shall never take our lands!”

Relentless white-helms struck again
Until the weaker tower crumbled.
Armour’d cliffs resist in vain,
The stubborn pillars’ pride it humbled.

Yet when the tides of war retreat,
Behold! Th’embattled sands remain!
Around the shattered rocky feet
Serenely spreads the golden plain.

“Thus,” said the Wind, “The hearts of men
Are troubled waters, anger-driven.
Their walls of pride will fall again
In brokenness to be forgiven.”

And so I knelt down in the sands
And bowed my head before the Wind.
“Thy Word, O Lord, forever stands.
O, wash us clean, for we have sinned.”

Friday 29 November 2019

My latest BardSong won a 1st Prize. It's called "Six Jolly Church-Goers"

(With apologies to the “3 Jolly Welshmen.”)

There were six happy church-goers, a-churchin’ they did go,
Each one a dude with attitude, some good and some, not so.
There’s Gary Grump, Grizelda Gripe and Gordon Grouch there too,
Then Charley Cheer and Sally Smiles with Barney Bold, I knew.

Now Brother Grouch’s car got smashed, he had to share a lift
With Brother Grump and Sister Gripe, which made him rather miffed.
But Charley Cheer and Sally Smiles, they came to praise the Lord.
They picked up Barney Bold as well. They’re all in one Accord.

A well-known speaker came that day, the car-park it was chockers.
Detoured to distant, pot-holed streets – so lethal on one’s shockers*.

Bro Grump said, “It’s the Deacons’ fault!” Sis Gripe just gave a groan.
Bro Grouch complained both loud and long, he won’t leave it alone.
But Charles was glad for any spot, and Sally Smiles said “YAY!”
Bro Bold enjoyed the longer walk on such a sunny day.

When they arrived, the place was packed! “No room!” the ushers said.
They offered them the Crying Room with noisy kids instead.
Ol’ Grump, he huffed “Not good enough!” Grizelda gave a sob.
Bro Grouch he growled “Get more seats, or I’ll punch you in the gob!”

But Charles said “There’s still standing room!” and Sally Smiles said “Yeah!”
And Barney said: “If we get tired, soft carpet’s everywhere!”
The songs began both loud and glad. The church was really rockin’.
The congregation came alive. The neighbours they came flockin'.

“Too loud!” then grumbled Brother Grump. “Don’t like it!” said Sis Gripe.
Bro Grouch he carped: “Don’t know these songs! They’re just a load of tripe!”
But Charley’s hands were raised t’ward heav’n, and Sal swung from the rafter.
While Barney shouted “Glory!” then was struck with Holy Laughter.

Once all the people settled down, the speaker then addressed them.
His gentle, bold sincerity and love for Truth impressed them.
“I once demanded privilege,” he said “Now I am thankful.
Surrend’ring all our rights, our pride, there’s blessings by the tankful.”

The message was both strong and clear, much needed in this hour.
One felt the presence of the Lord, Who came in grace and power.
“It’s by God’s Grace,” the preacher said, “that we can be called ‘Saints’.
Repent, now from your selfishness, and cease all your complaints.”

“Repent from what?” demanded Grump. Grizelda was offended.
And as for Grouch, well, he stormed out before the message ended.
Bro Cheer and Sal together prayed, their tears were unrelenting,
As Brother Bold fell on his face while, from his heart, repenting.

When church was done, three glowing faces went to find their car.
“I just don’t get” mused Gary Grump “why they’re the way they are.”
Then Grizzie Gripe she stood and thought, for once, not so self-centred.
It seemed as though some Truth had changed her heart since she first entered.
“Perhaps they win their battles ‘cos they’ve had their battle training:
Their attitude of gratitude, while we’ve been just complaining.”

Thursday 14 November 2019

Latest Bardsong: "The Bard's Quest."

This one rated 3rd in the last weekly challenge.

Northumbria’s might, their cursèd lords,
King Ida and his pagan hordes
Would fain invade fair Cymru’s lands
And seize the wealth from Powys’ hands.

A gifted bard he went to war
And battle ‘gainst the Saxons saw.
His heart was high, his arm was strong,
Well skilled with harp, with sword and song.

Above the tumult rose his song.
He cleaved a pathway through the throng.
He stirred his comrades to the fray.
His valour helped to win the day.

Prince Owain to his father told
How bravely fought this bard so bold.
“To see him fall ‘twould shameful be
And hear his song no more,” said he.

King Urien he turned his thought
From matters of the war he fought.
“I therefore shall him show my thanks 
So bring him forth from ‘mongst our ranks.

In courts of kings his voice belongs
To us this bard shall sing his songs.”
The bard took up his harp once more
And put aside the tools of war.

He now had favour of the kings
Before them many a song he sings.
And courtiers, princes gathered ‘round
Whene’er his harp its chords would sound.

Yet fame and royal patronage
Became to him a gilded cage.
His restless spirit yearned to be
A-wandering, and roaming free,

The path to Wyddfa’s* peak to trace,
To feel the sea-breeze on his face.
The village folk to daily greet
To share with them his daily meat.

The king, reluctant, gave him leave.
“Return thou soon, or we shall grieve!”
So bidding farewell to his hosts,
His face turned t’ward the Western Coasts.

Through valleys green and wooded hill
And forests deep his voice would fill.
The villages through which he passed
They bade him come and break his fast.

Forsaking plough and milling stone
And cooking pot, they came as one,
Assembling at the village square
To hear his tales, his voice so fair.

The young ones came, with eager faces,
Crowding in at meeting places.
At jests they laughed, at sad tales wept.
Such precious mem’ries e’er he kept.

The good folk shared their dwindling meat
Though bread-pots rarely were replete.
Yet thankful and content were they
And freely gave, and brooked no “Nay.”

His heart it deeply grieved, for he
Once felt the lash of poverty.
So, oft aside his harp he laid
And for his bread in toil he paid.

“The rich may of their bounty give.
To serve them maybe I should live,
My friends, that I may wealthy be
That I may pour my wealth on thee!”

He came, one cold and stormy night,
Upon an ancient anchorite.
Though warm his cave, his pot was bare.
Good shelter, but no meat to share.

A frail, but gentle, kindly soul,
He bade him welcome to his hole.
“Though I have naught, I have no lack.
For what I give, God giveth back.”

An hungered waif with rags a-torn
Came begging here this very morn.
The last of all my meat he craved,
But when he left, his soul was saved.”

The bard his travel-bag he ope’d
But found not all that he had hoped.
A small dry loaf and crumbling cheese
Was all his hunger had to ease.

“Take this,” said he, “For I have supped
With former hosts I dined and cupped.
If God is good, then on the morrow
Much abundance I shall borrow.”

The good monk raised the gift up high
And prayed a blessing t’ward the sky.
He broke the bread and gave his guest
Not half, but thrice what he had blessed!

Likewise he blessed the crumbled cheese.
The bard then fell upon his knees.
“’Twas said Saint Dewi** dwelt herein.
Wilt thou resolve me of my sin?”

Saint Dewi shook his head. “My son,
I, too, am sinful. Only One
Can cleanse from sin, that by his blood,
Worth more than gold, for God is good.

God’s kingdom is not drink nor meat,
The whole world’s riches at thy feet.
The gift God giveth, give away,
And thou shalt find true peace this day.

Give Him thine heart, and sing His praise
And serve His kingdom all thy days.
Dost thou desire to bless the poor?
God’s heart now is thy treasure store.”

The bard went forth, his song renewed
With righteousness and power endued.
Enriched he now the rich and poor
With hymns of praise not heard before.

His best was for the poor reserved.
‘Twas said he once King Arthur served.
Called “Bard of Bards”, thus was his fame,
For Taliesin was his name.

* Mount Snowdon
** Saint David

Thursday 24 October 2019

Latest BardSong: "Mirrors, Mirrors on the Wall"

Another entry in the weekly competition. The theme was "Reflection," so I took them literally! I called it "Mirrors, Mirrors on the Wall."
Yes, it has a slight reference to Snow White's evil witch -- not that I identify as her at all. :)
It placed 7th overall with an "Editors Choice" award.

“The Hall of Mirrors” it was signed. “Enter if you’re so inclined,
But will you like what you will see? That remains a mystery.”
Now, such a challenge, such intrigue I thought was quite within my league.
I confidently sallied through – a reckless step I well may rue.

Mirrors! Mirrors ev’rywhere, staring back each way I stare.
And none the same, so it appeared, for every one looked kind of weird.
Some had magic, elf-like frames, while others bore the strangest names.
So was my courage strong enough to look into this eerie stuff?

Now Snow White in the fairy tale, to match her looks I’m sure I’d fail.
Nor the wicked witch-queen, me, with agonies of jealousy.
But I looked good when washed and shaved (except my mirror misbehaved.
And note: before the mirror broke, it showed a decent-looking bloke.)

The first few frames to me displayed some freaks that left me undismayed.
Some showed me fat, and others, thin. One made me look like Gungha Din.
In some, a super-hero stood, like Superman or Robin Hood,
Or evil dudes like Palpatine, the meanest baddies ever seen.

At most I laughed, at some I huffed. At one, I felt extremely chuffed.
A legendary champion – the kind fair ladies swoon upon.
An all-round nice guy. (Anyway, that’s what my employees say.)
Well, it was fun but somehow hollow. Was there something that would follow?

At length I found another room, whose name forbodes some kind of doom:
“The Mirrors of the Soul” it read, “Come through to face the things you dread!”
‘Why should I dread a piece of glass?’ scoffed I. ‘Me, I got too much class!’
With that, I strutted through the door to something I’d not seen before.

There was no roof -- just darkened sky. I saw no twinkling stars on high.
All lighting in that creepy hall came from the mirrors on the wall.
But as I turned in fright to flee, there was no entrance I could see!
So I began to sweat and swear just like a cornered grizzly bear.

In nightmares, I have found one tends to find strange objects are one’s friends.
The nearest screen began to speak: ‘How can I help? What do you seek?’
‘O mirror, mirror on the wall, I dunno why I’m here at all!
So, where’s the exit from this place? Please speak, or I’ll go off my face!’

The kind but glassy voice replied ‘It was your choice to come inside.
But never fear, give this a try. You’ll leave this place a better guy.
To find the exit is your goal? The real door is through your soul.’
So, rather puzzled and amazed, into its neighbour then I gazed.

Above it, fiery words were writ: “Your Ego’s here – beware of it!”
The flatt’ring image shown before was there again, but then no more,
He changed and aged before my eyes. The true Me threw off its disguise.
To my dismay it seems I saw that foolish fabled emper-or.

Without his clothes, his fame, his throne, and no true friends – he was alone!
Emaciated, weak and plain, he strutted like a peacock vain.
I shouted back: ‘This is not Me! Now this is not as it should be.
I’ve done my bit! I’ve paid my dues! A needy hand I don’t refuse!

Encouraging with words of cheer. I always shout my friends a beer.
You’ve shown me this distorted scene. Why can’t you show how good I’ve been?’
The screen went blank, so I moved on. My self-esteem was nearly gone.
The next one’s sign said, clear and brief: “Your Goodness” – much to my relief.

It showed me first as Santa Claus, dispensing presents without pause.
But when each gift they’d gratef’lly open, it was not what they were hopin’.
Just a note they found. One read: “You owe me one for what you said!”
Or: “Sorry! Strapped for cash this year. Instead you’ll get a can of beer.”

I thought the Santa thing was huge, but then he changed to look like Scrooge!
A harsh and calculating face – of my “Nice Guy” there was no trace.
The next was frighteningly bright, and I was blinded by its light!
This mirror showed God’s righteousness! Compared to Him, I was a mess!

But when I got up from the floor, at last! I saw an opened door.
Outside, a cross stood on a hill. The Man who died there calls me still.

Tuesday 3 September 2019

"Love's Labour is Not Lost"

Another entry for a recent weekly writing challenge. This one at least got an "Editor's Choice" award. 
It's called "Love's Labour is Not Lost", but has nothing to do with Shakespeare's famous work.

 Young Johorem, son of Jareh, laughed as he watched his fellow-slave toiling hard at the woodpile.
‘I will never understand you, Eliabin, son of Yonahan,’ he mocked. ‘Master and mistress are gone to Shiloh until Shabbat, yet you still break your back as though Pharaoh himself was behind you, whip in hand. A true slave indeed you are! Are you not a son of Abraham? We have long forsaken the land of bondage! Has my lord Nahshon commanded you this?’

Eliabin paused in the act of attacking the stubborn log before him. He wearily wiped the sweat from his eyes without looking up. He spoke with restraint but gripped the axe hard.
‘No he has not, Johorem, you sluggard! But winter comes on apace, and the household must keep good store of wood.’

‘Sluggard, am I? Ha! At least I am no fool! Will the master thank you for it? I think not.’

‘A fool, am I? Then, so be it!’ retorted Eliabin with an angry glance. ‘I do it for the love of my master, my mistress and above all, for Yahweh the Lord.’
Then honesty compelled him to add softly: ‘…and to keep Bathamah warm.’
He turned his eyes wistfully toward the scullery.

Johorem burst out laughing. ‘You?! Do you still dream of possessing her? When she has eyes for none but me? Am I not far taller and fairer?’

The other glanced at his own plain but pleasant image in the well nearby.
‘It is true,’ he sighed. ‘She deserves her good fortune.’ He resumed his chopping.

‘Good fortune…. yes! Am I not the son of Jareh, mighty man of valour?’ cried Johorem pompously. ‘It is only one moon until the Year of Release. Soon we shall all be free again! The chains of tyranny we cast off! I shall become rich. I shall wed the fair Bathamah and raise an house and name that will rival Nahshon’s himself!’

It was his rival’s turn to look scornful.
‘How shall this be? You have few skills, even though master has tried to school you. His patience is unbounded! He is no tyrant, nor is our mistress. She treats the fair Bathamah more as her own daughter, rather than her handmaid. You chose to be a slave, as did I when our sires died impoverished. My lord will release us with a gift also, as decreed by lord Moses. But what will you do with your freedom then? You boast much, but will you succeed?’

But Johorem was flying high.
‘I shall rise to be an officer in lord Joshua’s army when we defeat these accursed Canaanites. I am bold and courageous! A mere shepherd, farmer or herdsman? Never!’

Observing the lack of enthusiasm in his audience, he paused in his boasting, and sneered.
‘And you, O ant-who-stays-not-his-labours? Will you be content with a few sheep and goats? Will you till the earth until you die?’

Eliabin took a breath and faced him, resolution in his eyes.
‘I shall not leave my master. I shall go to the door, and be marked as his servant forever.’
He returned to his labour with even greater vigour.

The other gasped and stared at him.
‘Are you sun-crazed? The awl-pierced earlobe? Is there no end to your folly? Why?’

‘Perhaps he understands the value of love better than you, Johorem.’
The gentle, clear voice behind them made them both spin around. The axe fell from nerveless, shaking fingers.
Even in modest handmaid’s garments, Bathamah could not conceal her beauty, grace and sweetness. Both men gazed at her hungrily.

Johorem strode forward and took her hands possessively.
‘What, my beloved? Fear not. Soon we shall both be free and wed. Then you shall know what love truly is.’

She pulled her hands away and stepped back, looking solemnly into his eyes.
‘No, son of Jareh. I also shall go to the door, and serve my mistress forever.’

‘Bathamah! Why??’

‘It is true that I was captive to your manly charms when we first met, Jehorem,’ she replied, gently but firmly. ‘I wish you well. But I now desire a man of honour, kindness, diligence – not a wild man of war.’

She glided slowly over to Eliabin, who stood stunned, and took his roughened hands between hers.
‘You have laboured long and hard for six years to win my heart, little though you knew, son of Yonahan. It was a labour of love for our master, for Yahweh the Lord, and for me.’

Thursday 18 July 2019

"The Weird World of Wigs."

This month's BardSong actually won First Prize in the weekly FaithWriters Challenge.

As the department stores
At night, close their doors,
And the staff have gone home to their rest,
All the products arise,
Shake the sleep from their eyes
And they hold what is called a “Stockfest.”

The beauty/hair section
Has its own resurrection.
All the wigs become quite animated.
Shoppers compared – 
How they looked, how they fared,
And the heads they have liked or have hated.

Now wigs, I admit,
They have more hair than wit.
For variety, they take the cake.
From the wildly artistic
To the sheer narcissistic.
O, the folly of follicles fake!

The Long Blond, of course,
(From the tail of a horse)
Is the queen of this glam’rous display.
When asked: Was she proud
To rule over this crowd?
All she’d say was a bray or a Neigh.

The cheeky Brunette, 
Well, she poses a threat.
For her tresses are long and luxurious. 
Moreover, she flirts 
With the bargain men’s shirts
Which renders Queen Blondie quite furious.

There’s dark Lady Afro
(Manufactured by Sapphro)
With ancestors north of the Nile.
See her polymer face
And of pallor – no trace,
Except for her gleaming white smile.

While old man Toupée,
Who has so much to say,
Disapproves of these fashions and trends:
‘Young people these days
And their crazy new craze,
Out-hairing their hairy-lout friends!’

Nearly-bald Number 1
Never has any fun.
He prophesies doom and much gloom.
He’d tear out his hair,
But there isn’t much there,
And he bores ev’ry one in the room.

Young, nonchalant Spikes,
With his 15k “Likes”,
Reads his phone at a 2-degree angle.
He said ‘Hey, dude! Just chill!
Like, the planet’s here still.
So don’t get your tips in a tangle.’

The dark short-bobbed Curly
Is often quite surly,
And agitates for equal rights.
She complains: ‘You’re too Nice!
The poor downtrodden lice!
So put up with their itches and bites.’

There’s a wig for a judge
Who bears a big grudge
Against all those who challenge tradition.
The rich or the poor
Who will brush with the law,
To comb them all out is his mission.

‘Dig my cool Dreadlocks, man,
Wit’ de West Indies tan
On de face,’ said the Jamaican model.
‘I look like Bob Marley
When riding de Harley.
I finally got off de boddle!’

Then, amidst all the boasting,
The clamour, the roasting,
One story reduced them to silence.
Twas the tale of a child
Who had gone rather wild
And had suffered addiction and violence.

For a soft, short brown Rémy
Spoke with tears of young Amy,
A street girl who died from lung cancer.
The treatments bereft her
Of all the hair left her.
She’d hoped one day she’d be a dancer!

‘I, alone, was her solace
In this cruel metro-polis.
She clung to me right to the end.
Not one relation,
On this sad occasion
Would see her! I was her sole friend.

But in her despair
She prayed a sad prayer.
Was she hopelessly lost, God-forsaken?
Then a kindly old guy
With a smile in his eye
Called in to help hope reawaken.

From his Bible he read
That One rose from the dead
Bringing grace and forgiveness to all.
If repenting we take it
To heaven we’d make it,
No matter how far we did fall.

Then Amy believed him,
And gladly received Him
Whose love had brought hope to her story.
Then Amy departed
This life – but light-hearted,
And now she is dancing in Glory.’

Then vanity vanished
And pride was soon banished.
The hard, plastic faces were shamed.
For His grace makes us humble
And pride it must crumble
Wherever the Saviour is named.

Thursday 23 May 2019

"Biological Warfare (in the Heavenlies.)"

One of my latest entries to the Writing Challenge. It was given a "Highly Commended" award.

Demon Prince Kankerworm was furious.

He was progressively subjugating those Christians (the smug ones anyway) in his city. Suddenly, “reinforcements” arrived in the form of that arrogant and meddlesome Prince Pestilence.

‘If it hadn’t been for orders from Below, I’d tell you to get lost, Prince Pest!’ he fumed at the grinning newcomer. ‘Why‘d they send you here, anyway? You’ve already spoilt our operations in Africa, driving so many to repentance! Then they formed their strong Christian communities!’

‘Oh yeah, WartFace?’ retorted the horrible apparition before him. ‘We might have succeeded if you Subversives had done your job! If all your whisperings and Feel-Good Indoctrination had been effective, like you boasted it would, then they wouldn’t have sent all those fanatical Western Missionaries! So, now the Boss is sending in his Big Guns – Me – to disrupt and discourage your pathetic little saints you’re so spooked about. Show me where they are. I’ll fix ‘em!’
He dumped his huge pack of toxic explosives in front of his colleague.

‘Oh! “Big Guns”, is it?’ snarled the other sarcastically, though secretly impressed. ‘Well, let’s see how you cope with those saints Who-Know-Who-They-Are! Then you’ll understand what we Field Units are up against. C’mon, then!’

They flew down to the city below, and Pestilence immediately targeted the big cathedral with the tall steeple, dropping an Influenza virus-bomb through the walls. It exploded invisibly on the congregation inside, infecting them all immediately. He laughed uproariously.

‘No! You idiot!’ shouted Kankerworm from above, exasperatedly. ‘You can have your fun on unbelievers and compromisers in your own time. Very few Bible-believers there. We got work to do! You’re wasting your ammunition!’

He indicated a neat-looking Bible College down the street, then folded his arms sceptically, waiting to see what Pestilence would do.

‘Oh, I can handle religious people with a lot of theology in their silly heads!’ snorted his rival, and plunged through the walls to the lecture halls. He got as far as dropping a bomb inside one, but a heavenly warrior appeared and sat on it. It fizzed and infected only a few inattentive students nearby. 

The next lecture hall, he was stopped short by a huge, shining heavenly guard. Glancing fearfully at the notice board at the door, he saw “Principles of Faith – Biblical Perspectives” by one of the most feared Bible Lecturers that ever shook the gates of Hell. He was one who prayed fervently before his lectures. Throwing what toxic dust he could past the angel, he fled to the next lecture.

Here the notice read “Higher Criticism, and Including Other Religions.” No guards there!
‘That’s more like it!’

Getting ready to hurl a big one in amongst the attendees, he hesitated. What good would it do? Most were evidently entangled in their conflicting philosophies anyway and couldn’t do any damage. Kankerworm was right. Wasted ammo.

Scattering virus-dust on individuals he passed, he returned to where Kankerworm scornfully waited for him.
‘Not that easy, is it? Come this way, then.’

He flew off to the other side of the tracks, his fellow demon grumbling after him. Biblical Christians (those who knew their God at least) were hard work to subdue, little though he would admit it.

They came to a tidy but unprepossessing hall in the outer suburbs. 
Pestilence remembered. It was in a seedy, impoverished neighbourhood where vice thrived. A fledgling mission had begun there. He and his minions had blanket-bombed it previously with Cholera, AIDS and more, to put a stop to any evangelism. 
‘Ha! I bet many turned their back on this Saviour of theirs. Any figures on that?’

‘Sure have!’ came the grim answer. ‘Five oldies died and went to heaven.’

‘Only five??’

‘Yep! The moment the outbreaks came, the little mission reached out with medical help and fell to its knees in prayer. Miracles happened! Soon one family after another fell to the Enemy, the neighbourhood got cleaned up, the brothels closed down, the dealers and mobsters left town. The church is thriving! I’d show you if it wasn’t for the hordes of angel-guards. It was a disaster! So much for your blanket-bombings!’

‘Well, what happened to your gossips and scandals and such!’ yelled Pestilence, red-faced. ‘Aren’t you supposed to divide and conquer in that clever little way you boast about?’

‘You gotta give it time, you fool! Wait ‘til they get comfortable, complacent and fall for prosperity teaching and all that. That’s real sickness.’

‘Your pathetic praying missionaries didn’t catch it, though, did they?’