So it’s time to put out another chapter of actual novelistic work for you Creepers to read. I regularly lure in 3 or 4 of you with my crappy little Six Word Stories, but the whole point of this is to build up a fan base so an agent will actually accept my novels and publish them. Assuring me of my millions, etc.
The story below is a chapter of my surreal and compelling unpublished novel, “101 Portraits of My Father”. That’s the working title, although I’m kicking around the notion of “101 Portrayts of My Father”. In addition to that spelling being oddly stylish, I’ve noticed that people just love to point out mistakes in people’s blogs. Seems to be a compulsion for some. And I don’t care WHY people use the Comments feature, I just care about website traffic and sh1t like that, because agents do. So it’s a little experiment to check on whether offenses against the Grammar Police drives traffic.
If you like the sample chapter, background and more chapters are at the link below:
Further ado out of the way, please enjoy Chapter 51, “Pope of the Arians” (and no, that is not a mis-spelling, it’s an actual word). Typical salutations follow, to avoid distracting from all the literature unfolding below.
It was quite accidental that dad became Pope of the Arians. His dentist was a huge amateur archeologist, and he had a fascination with history and the ancient world. One day, dad was at his office for a routine cleaning appointment, but he got bumped by someone who had a true emergency, and needed a root canal. Dad had taken off work for the afternoon, and was in no hurry to be anywhere else. So he just sat there and kept reading magazines, especially the archeology ones, with all their pictures.
So there was a story in “Archeology Today” about an archaeologist who had found some Trinitarian graffiti on walls that had been destroyed in a war-torn environment. This was evidence to support the stories of all the riots in Constantinople and Alexandria between the Nicene/Trinitarians and the Arians, and the subsequent extirpation of heretics that happened under Theodosius.
I guess to fill an otherwise short article, there was a fair amount of discussion of the particulars of the heresy. There was the point that the Trinitarians won the conflict, and that despite the previous diversity of Christianity, all debate had basically been ended by the Council of Nicaea. Many modern churches have a periodic ritual recitation of it, and other than a few outliers like perhaps the Unitarians, that is what everyone believes or is supposed to believe. In fact, that’s what defines Christianity.
But in reality, many people are heretics because they do not actually have a full understanding of what Christianity is about. They don’t understand the subtleties of get the Trinity, and they are in fact polytheists, or they think that God the Father came before God the Son. A fair number of people who are Christians don’t fully understand the role of faith and forgiveness, and have notions about “getting to heaven”, generally by keeping sin to a minimum; they might not even remember much if anything about a Resurrection.
And my father was reading a little fact box about common modern-day heresies that was nestled under a picture, and he realized that he was a diehard Arian. And not only that, despite the weight of the authority quoted on those pages, he felt he had Biblical support for his beliefs. So he started the Church of Alexandria out of an office in our basement, later moving to a de-consecrated Catholic Church in Pittsburgh. It was an old stone building with stained glass that fit his beliefs well; his Church was very much old-school, like a Maronite or Coptic Christian church.
You know they believed in many of the old rules. There was only Paul’s voice calling for celibacy in the Bible, and then only as advice; so there was no real problem with him being married to Mom and being a priest. The same went for him being a Pope; Pontifex Universalis. And he was very conscientious about his duties. He was certainly not into it for the money, nor was he an effective proselytizer, but he took great comfort in the sheer scope of his Pontificate. Per some estimates, a full 10% to 30% of all people who call themselves Christians are actually heretics of one stripe or another and therefore under dad’s spiritual and pastoral care. With a billion or so Christians in the world, that means that 100,000,000 to 300,000,000 people were in need of Dad’s help.
And he took that responsibility very, very seriously. Even though many of the people did not know that they were a member of his church, he spent day after day saying prayers, lighting votives, and making offerings for the expiation of their sins.