First Baptist

The grass had grown up a bit around the old stone church building. This was the least of Deacon Smith’s worries, though. He wasn’t really even very much worried about the workers from the moving company who were loading the pews into their yellow truck. Mostly what he worried about was the people of First Baptist Church. Ever since Reverend Thompson had passed into eternal life, the church had been shrinking. People had wandered off. Old Mrs. Wilson had stopped coming because her arthritis had been acting up. Doc Lassiter left because the preaching wasn’t really to his liking now that Reverend Thompson was gone. Deacon Smith had tried to preach a little, but he was no Reverend Thompson. There’d been a few interim preachers, but most were young and none could support their families on what First Baptist could afford to pay them, and that amount was dwindling every week as more families left. In the end, First Baptist couldn’t even afford to pay the mortgage they’d taken out on the old building. They had sold the bus first, but it hadn’t made much. The man from the electric company was apologetic, but before the dirt road’s dust had settled after he drove away, the power was turned off. The man from the bank hadn’t been especially spiteful either, but as he put it, “If you can’t pay, we’re going to have to repossess the church.” Continue reading

Gold Spade

The Five Spades of Christmas

A short story by David Schell

What you are about to read is entirely fictitious. Okay, not entirely. The parts that are historical are historical. The parts that aren’t obviously biblical are entirely made up.


I heard this legend from a friend, who heard it from a friend, who claims he heard it from a monk friend of his, who heard it from an archbishop, who found it in a really old scroll that claimed to have been written by St. Augustine in some monastery in Turkey. I’m inclined to believe that this is a true story. I’ve taken a little artistic license with it, but the details remain the same.


Everyone knows that the Romans built roads. But hardly anyone remembers the Romans who actually built those roads. This particular Roman’s name was Claudius. No one really remembered how Claudius got on the road-building gang. Claudius barely remembered it himself. But that is hardly important. The soldiers watching over the diggers and making them work were tired, but they kept going through the early night.

Claudius was exhausted. He stopped for a breath, and one of the soldiers shook his head and started walking toward him with a whip. Then the soldier stopped. Froze, actually, one foot still in the air. Continue reading

Hope’s Cry

His name was Ariel. At least that’s what I’m going to call him. I don’t know if it’s a historically accurate name, or a Hebrew name, or if it was even HIS name, but that’s what I’m going to call him.

He wasn’t the littlest shepherd, or the biggest shepherd, or the anything that ends in -est shepherd. He was just Ariel. And Ariel had had quite a shock the other night when the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” With the rest, he had run to find the baby in the manger wrapped in cloths. He had stopped long enough to recognize the sacredness of this moment. The birth of a baby, though routine, was also something sacred, and it always made him stop. But this one… this one was different. He didn’t look different. No halo appeared over his head, and when he’d awakened and cried, he cried just like any other baby.

“So you’re Messiah, eh?” he’d asked. “You’re gonna have to get a lot bigger than that before you can take on Rome, kid.” He’d smiled at the boy’s mother.

“His name is Yeshua,” she’d said.

“Our Lord saves. A good name for a Messiah.” And with the rest, he’d spread the news of what he’d seen and heard.

But now it was the day after. Continue reading

Palentalia (or) The Divorce

by David Schell
based on a re-re-re-re-reposted message some friends posted. 

THE divorce was complete.

Hardly had the ink dried on the separation papers before the great migration began. “Liberals” from the east coast were moving west, and “Conservatives” from the west were heading east. Both had decided that the other could not be saved. A conservative law student named John J. Wall had written up the terms, and after some discussion, the conservatives and liberals had agreed to them. The text was as follows: Continue reading