Come on an adventure with Jack and follow along as he writes his new book in real time! Here is chapter 9.
by JACK DEY
A whisper from the wilderness calling.
Slender, agile fingers blurred across a dark coloured keyboard, typing at a rate that was not only highly accurate but nothing less than a supple ballet to watch. Halfway through the document, Matilda Balisome noticed the flashing light on her desk phone, indicating someone was impatient to gain her attention. Stabbing at a foot pedal with a high-heeled shoe, she silenced the voice droning on through her headphones and dropped the audio device onto her desk. With the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ programmed into her phone against the dear leader’s name, she knew exactly who was calling and how she should address them. Reaching for the receiver, she silenced the cacophony with a jab of a finger before answering with a calm, professional, no-nonsense voice.
“Yes, Pastor Warren?!
“Haha! Must’ve been a word of knowledge, Pastor.
“Yes, all the arrangements have been made for the ‘Working in the spirit’ conference. You and Pastor Jolene are booked on the 9 o’clock flight, and a first-class window seat has been set aside for the General. I have already substantiated your boarding pass electronically, so you and the General should be able to board without delay and avoid rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi.
“Always glad to be of assistance, Pastor. Goodbye and enjoy the conference.”
Matilda picked up her headset once again but before she began to type, Cody’s voice echoed into a place of hurt. The argument had been sharper this time and she felt like he was forcing her to make a decision, choosing between a tired marriage and an energising job which kept her on the go into the small hours for nearly seven days a week. Matilda had tried to explain to Cody the rigours of being a personal assistant to a visionary and a frontier-busting leader like Pastor Warren and his straight-shooting and charismatic wife, Jolene… affectionately known to the flock as the General. Cody, however, had responded with dry, angry sarcasm, intimating that the twin pastors were kooks and shamans, and the church of the ‘wealthy white sheep’ was nothing more than a cult and she had become their flunky.
It’d been almost a year since they’d gone their own spiritual ways, both deciding to worship at different places. Matilda at the lavish tabernacle of the wealthy white sheep, and him at some stiff conservative Bible teaching group that took the Word seriously and treated it like God Himself. Matilda shuddered as she likened his group to the poverty it represented, having to meet each week in a different member’s home. Cody claimed that the Bible was prophetic, and he was caught up in the tedious routine of searching the Scriptures for so-called truth, while the wealthy white sheep relied on the elders and the presence of the spirit to guide and direct them. Matilda didn’t even own a Bible after the elders had assured her and the flock that it was all allegory anyway, children’s stories that didn’t have any relevance for today. Standing her ground and with Pastor Warren’s assurances girding her heart, Matilda’s loyalty was firmly embedded and now the Sunday morning time she once tolerated with Cody had fallen apart completely, and they only saw each other like ships passing in the night.
The wealthy white sheep belonged to an apostolic thread born out of the charismatic movement in the 1970s, but that was the extent of Matilda’s knowledge and quite frankly, that was all she needed to know. The church and the apostolic leadership team were more than family to her and she trusted them implicitly, while they, in return, treated her well, fulfilling a deep emotional need and a gaping hole in her life and she would defend them to the end of time. Resentment and Cody were words that often tangled together in her mind when he constantly used phrases like Kingdom Now, Dominion Theology and Replacement Theology as a weapon against her, as if these idioms were somehow expected to mean something to her. Without the need for a cumbersome Bible in church and its boring study, everything she heard from the pulpit met her needs and tickled her ears, even if she still had difficulties trusting the supernatural god who was supposed to work through her just as the elders were constantly preaching.
Matilda had not only attended the many wealthy white sheep conferences dealing with supernatural healing, but had been exclusively instrumental in assembling the background administration into the venues, advertising, and the nuts and bolts to make the conferences seamlessly work. Even after repeatedly going forward to the elders for prayer and anointing, purportedly releasing the supernatural power within her, Matilda felt like a failure. Everyone she’d attempted to pray and lay hands upon for healing had gotten worse, and even her own secret ailments constantly required the attention of unbelieving doctors. The end result, she became a willing, lifelong contributor and evangelist to the pill-popping dynasty and sorceries belonging to the wicked big pharma. Matilda loved and worshiped her medical idol and the doctors who she considered had the power to heal almost as much as her affection for Pastor Warren and the General. The problem of supernatural healing had become such an issue for Matilda that she had once considered leaving her personal assistant job and taking up a coveted medical role, but somehow the General had gotten wind of her intentions and unequivocally put her to rights. Appealing to her vanity, Matilda felt a great sense of love and acceptance from the General, but hiding behind those deceptively dark eyes lay a shrewd business head and an autocratic, treacherous streak that had become legendary among the members of the wealthy white sheep.
Rumours abounded among the worshipping flock that the General was the real success and powerhouse behind the apostolic leadership team, driving the elastic and spindly Pastor Warren from the back seat. In any case, Matilda shrank from the thought of crossing swords with the woman who seemed to have a direct connection to god. Well known for her words of knowledge and her blunt form of delivering them, the General had a word in season for all of the flock, but when Matilda made the mistake of repeating the supernatural disclosures to her husband, Cody had scoffed and suggested the General’s personal connection to god was little more than witchcraft hidden in an acute understanding of psychology and predictable human behaviour. Yet the constant attacks on the people who were meeting her needs felt like a knife in her heart, and only served to drive Matilda further away from Cody.
Breathing out a sigh, Matilda reached for her headset and placed the ungainly speakers over her ears and then stabbed at the foot pedal to restart the voice recording again. Registering each spoken phrase with a corresponding action, the word processer screen began to fill with the staccato of rapid-fire words, but before she could contemplate finishing another paragraph, the wearisome light on the desk phone began to blink. Pausing the recording for the second time in as many minutes, Matilda dropped the headset to the desk, immediately recognising the Hallelujah Chorus and the dear leader requiring her attention. Stabbing the button and silencing the awkward melody, Matilda repeated her previous greeting.
“Yes, Pastor Warren.
“Oh, those words of knowledge are a speciality of mine, but only when I’m sitting at my desk.
“You need some free legal advice? Okay. I’ll try to locate him for you and I’ll text you once your plane has landed. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about. Your brother’s a busy man and is probably on an overseas trip.
“Yes, Pastor, I guess you’re right. Worry is a sin and your brother’s welfare is god’s problem, not yours. You just need free legal advice.
“Thank you, Pastor Warren, I will. Have a good flight.”
Minimising the document and pushing the headset to one side, Matilda searched her extensive file system and finally located the personal database that Warren and the General insisted she keep. Interrogating the search function and typing in ‘Austin’, the phone number immediately appeared on the screen. Placing a finger against the name and following the row to its end, Matilda reached for her desk phone, reciting the digits for the Austin home while she tapped in the number. Expecting a connection but greeted with a automated tone, Matilda was stunned when she learned that the number was no longer in service and the voice insisted she recheck the source of her information. Next to the Austin home number was a business number, but she was exhorted never to use it and it was purposely marked in red. Unsure of what to do and with no one to check with, Matilda stared at the page for many minutes. Eventually, she decided to play the role of a client, but she trembled as she punched in the number. Matilda wasn’t good at deceit or playing mind games, and when the connection abruptly clicked, her heart raced like a sprint car and her practised skit exploded into stumbling mind fog, forgetting the intricate play she’d carefully put together. Tripping on her words, Matilda tried to speak, but the same automated voice cut her off and repeated its previous message: the number was no longer in service and to recheck the source of her information.
Yak back to Jack