Bar Stool Prophets

Tavern Scene-1658-David Teniers II
Image via Wikipedia

Billy Burns was preaching again, something Mickey just could not stand.

“Give me a f#$@ken break. Give yourself a break! Give me a break.” That said, he drew a ponderous drag off his cigarette, and regarded me with that twinkle in his eye that told me I was in for it now. He did not disappoint. “The Bible isn’t about the history of Jesus. It ain’t about the prophets, the disciples, Satan, what’s been, or what’s to be. Not that it doesn’t address these things, mind you, but if that’s what you’re looking for, stop wasting your time, not to mention God’s time. Give me a break!”

We paused halfway into our conversation, as Al appeared to refresh our beers. I always loved Saturday afternoons at Cunningham’s off the avenue.

I threw a side-long glance at Alan, sitting in the center of the crescent booth we had claimed as our own. He answered me with a brief glance, then we both returned our attention to Mickey , Kearny’s Prophet.

Blue jeans and a balding round head, piercing blue eyes and a respectable paunch, weather beaten, but not beaten, Mickey looked like Santa Claus in a Hell’s Angels motif. Flicking a quarter-inch ash from his cigarette, he leaned in as if to gain our confidence. “The Bible, I’m tellin’ ya, is a living book, not about times past, but about right here, right now. The Bible’s about you, about me, it’s even about lovely Tiffany over there.” Pointing to the bartender’s girlfriend.

“Dunno,” Alan chimed in, “There’s a lot of Jesus said. . . Daniel declared. . . and Paul wrote. . . in there. I don’t once remember seeing my name being quoted in the Bible. Those prophet books could be talking about today’s times, but most of it is stories about the doin’s and deeds of a buncha biblical characters.”

“Sure enough those are the stories it relates, but that don’t make them what the Bible’s about. You seenin’ what I’m saying? Now I’ve read the Bible backwards and forwards and sideways and inside out, and what have you. And I tell you that if you can’t find yourself reflected in those pages, you are wasting your time. If God is just ruminating upon the experiences of peoples far removed from our time and experiences, then he’s wasting his own time.”

“That’s bordering on the blasphemous, don’t you think?” I interjected.

“Only if I’m wrong. Blasphemy is for the literal-minded, but you are older now, and you have put away your childish things.”

“The living Word of God is within each of us,” Mickey continued, “leave it to its own, the Bible is merely good writing. People make the mistake of seeking the Holy Spirit in its writings so that it may fill them. What they don’t realize is that it is they who must fill the Bible with the Holy Spirit. The Bible only yields what you yourself bring to it.”

“So what good is the Bible, if you have to do all the work?” Alan questioned.

“What good are you, if the Bible has to do all the work?” Mickey countered. “The real question worth asking is what does God want of it all?”

“That we may all be saved.” I offered.

“Huh! Saved from what?”

“Saved from sin and an eternity of everlasting darkness.”

“And what’s sin?”

“Doing what is not the will of God.” Alan joined.

“So what’s this so called will of God?” Mickey persisted, downing a shot of whiskey.

“That we may all be saved.” I again offered.

“Now you’re just takin’ me in a bunch of silly circles.” Mickey reproached me. “Give me a break.”

“Okay, then God’s will is that we might enter into a fulfilling relationship with him.”

“And just what does it mean to be in a relationship, with I mean anyone, as well as God?”

“Well, it means. . .” I faltered.

“It means,” Alan asserted, “that you get to know the person. You care for them and about them. You treat them as you would yourself, because you can relate to them.”

“Relating to someone. Means that you share experiences with them, am I right?” Mickey pressed.

“Sure, yeah.” We agreed.

“Therefore, the Bible must be able to relate to our experience. You gotta see yourself in it. The more we see ourselves in the Bible, the more we can relate to it, and therefore relate to God. It only follows that the Bible, in its entirety, it’s not so much about all them- King David, Solomon, Peter, John, Judas, Samson, Adam and Eve. . . It’s about you, insomuch as it resonates with you. The Bible doesn’t point us to them, it points them at us, like arrows. You see? Every time one of these arrows, these character archetypes breaks through, we can identify with its essence, the spiritual resonance comes into tune with the perfect harmony that the Bible represents. And here it is- The Bible is the sheet music of our souls, and it is up to us, you, me, and Al to become the instrument through which our personal theme might be played in harmony with the numinous symphony.”

There was a pregnant silence as we digested his words.

Whew!” I felt as though a low current was coursing through my body, but I still didn’t feel I was getting the whole point. “So the Bible is about me?”

“You bet! Here and now, as we sit.” He lit another cigarette. I followed suit.

“I always thought the Bible was the story of God.” I mused through an exhalation of smoke.

Mickey regarded us with a whimsical grin, “Who am I talkin’ to? Weren’t you listening? That’s what I’m sayin’!”
bar

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-8782830-1”);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}

Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: