Doug opens the chapter by telling us that they are all going to Covelo so he can take care of some business. He doesn’t tell us what the business is, exactly, and it’s probably irrelevant to the story.
Everyone is very excited to go back, especially to see Pastor Joe and Mrs. Phillips, who are apparently like grandparents to the young Batchelors.
Apparently, the Phillipses helped out the Batchelors when Doug couldn’t get a loan. See, he had no credit. Please do not ask how he was supposed to get credit without getting a loan first, because that’s a tough question to answer in 2016, and was probably much harder in 1970 something. In any case, when Pastor Joe heard, he sent Doug a check for $300, which was worth more than that would be today. Doug paid Joe back as soon as possible, of course.
Pastor Joe never retired. He kept doing ministry until the day he died. Which, by the way, happens by the end of this chapter. Doug and Karyn go on another few trips down memory lane, recalling that the Phillipses lived simply in order to give 50% of their income to various ministries.
Remember the time we saw a car coming the wrong way on the freeway, and it turned out to be the Phillipses?
“Do I! That was scary,” Karyn laughed. “It seems funny now, but they could have
Killed someone else.
Fixed that for you! In any case, this story is not funny, it’s horrifying. Pastor Joe’s mind was clearly slipping, which is a very sad thing.
In any case, they spend some time with the Phillipses, because the next thing they know, pastor Phillips has died.
Afterwards, Doug gets a call to go work in Covelo.
Karyn kicked me. “Say yes!” She whispered.”
Doug tells the Northern California Conference he’ll pray about it.
Karyn said, “I’ll pack while you pray.”
Good for her!
When I finally got there, I discovered how much I didn’t know about pastoring. I didn’t even know how to conduct a board meeting. I made motions and then seconded them myself! But the people bore with me patiently…the congregation grew and prospered. We bought the property next door and built an addition on the church.
I…don’t know enough about church board meetings to comment.
On top of all this, Doug holds evangelistic meetings. These end up taking so much of his time he steps down as pastor, because it’s all too much.
Doug tells a few stories about converts, then talks about going to Easter sunrise services. On the way home, Doug passed the Pentecostal Faith Tabernacle. Doug said he felt a strong urge to stop and go in, because he felt he was supposed to preach there that day.
Using his brain, he thinks that that’s nonsense and drives on by. He drives by several times arguing with himself before going home to eat breakfast. He then decides he’s being like Jonah, and goes back. On the way out of the house Karyn asks where he is going.
“To church,” I said.
“Oh?” That was all she said. She wasn’t surprised, because I often acted strangely.
I’m not sure what Doug means here, this is potentially a red flag.
Doug goes to the church and slips into the back pew. Doug explains that prayer in a Pentecostal church isn’t like an Adventist church. These people believe in speaking in tongues.
The lady beside me sounded like she was talking about Japanese motorcycles.
This sounds very realistic to me. One of my friends used to attend the Assembly of God church, and she demonstrated for me what speaking in tongues sounded like. What she did was speak really fast “I should have bought a hondai but instead I bought a honda.” Over and over. She said she debated with herself whether or not she should fake that she was speaking in tongues herself, but couldn’t quite bring herself to do it.
In any case, Doug prays quietly to himself.
Then a whole sermon came to me, just as if it were being handed out, about Mary Magdalene representing the church.
Interesting. Doug’s subconscious is composing a sermon for him.
After the prayer, the pastor notices Doug, announcing that their “Adventist brother” is here, and does he have a few words he’d like to say?
I stood up. “You know how it is, Pastor,” I said. “We preachers can’t just say a few words.” I smiled and started to sit, but before I could, he came right back.
“Then why don’t you come on up and preach?”
It sounds to me like the pastor is making a joke, but Doug takes it seriously. He comes to the podium with his Bible and actually preaches the sermon that he just came up with during the prayer.
As the last of the people were leaving, Pastor Hull turned to me with tears streaming down his cheeks. “Pastor Doug,” he said with a chocked voice. “God sent you here this morning.”
I wondered how he knew.
“I’ve been sick,” he went on. “I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I’ve been praying about it. I asked my wife to preach but she was scared to death. So you see, Brother Doug, God sent you in answer to my prayer.
Doug blathers on about how God has his people in other churches too, and I think he’s about to talk about being accepting of other religions, but I was too optimistic because Doug says they will all be united as one body who keeps the commandments of Christ, in the end. And by that he means the Seventh Day Adventist church.
This, apparently, is how he met a Spanish lady named Marta, who comes to church even though she doesn’t understand any English, because it is clearly God’s house. Doug invites her to the SDA church, because he has members there who speak Spanish. Marta comes and gets converted.
And then Mrs. Phillips dies. Doug conducts her funeral service and speaks to her son, who is apparently a “hard drinking, rough talking macho man.”
Doug talks about how the Phillipses were saints, and he hopes to be a saint too, and that God will finish what he’s started in his life.
Thus ends yet another chapter with a very strange story that I sort of doubt happened exactly as Batchelor is claiming. I get that truth is often stranger than fiction, but I can still only suspend my disbelief for so long, and this book really does strain credibility.
This chapter and the last really didn’t need to be included, and could have been left out. Nothing of great significance really happened. I get the feeling they were mainly included just so the book could reach a certain length.
This was our penultimate chapter. Next time, we come full circle as we swing around back to the cave Doug used to live in.
Join me tomorrow (or whenever I get unlazy enough to post) for the final chapter: The Return Of Caveman!