Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Fortune Teller

Here's a wacky and offbeat tale from Moments With The Book, yet another tract publisher. I found this and other MWTB tracts in a Christian bookstore on Finch, where you can buy batches of tracts to hand out anywhere to the Unsaved.

I have to give Moments With The Book credit for this one - finally, someone (the author is credited as W. L.) has found a new and different way to tell the same old story.

Five guys on a train are playing cards, and they ask a friend of WL's to join them. He declines, but he does offer to tell them their fortunes with the five of spades. He warns them that "it may not be very flattering," but the five card players insist that he go on. WL's friend (let's call him Smug Bastard) asks them for a Bible, but the card players don't have one. "You had one once," Smug Bastard says, "and if you had followed its precepts you would not be what you are today." He then produces his own Bible, suggesting he only asked them for one to gain a morally superior position. You see why I'm calling him Smug Bastard?

Smug tells them the five spades on the card represent their eyes, mouth and knees, then he reads Revelation 1:7 where Jesus comeths with clouds "and every eye shall see him." "The eyes are your eyes," Smug says, "which will see Him when you stand before Him to be judged. That is the future of your eyes." Smug Bastard reads another bit of scripture at them, foretelling "that your knees will bow to Jesus, and your tongue will confess that He is Lord of all."

But Smug ain't done, not by a longshot. He has another reading of the card for their listening pleasure. "These five spades," he tells them, "represent five actual spades that may, before long, dig the graves of you five sinners." Wait! There's more. "Then your souls will be in hell crying in thirst for even a single drop of water." Smug goes on to give them the Salvation pitch, assuring them that "I was no doubt worse than you all, and you will escape this terrible fortune if you will do what I did." Immediately after his pitch "the train then stopped, and the five rushed out as if the car was on fire." Can't say I blame them!

I really don't believe this story actually happened. For one thing, WL adds details about the five card players' thoughts that are suspect at best. When Smug Bastard tells them he used to know how to play cards a long time ago, WL writes: "Thinking they could win his money, they continued to coax him..." How did WL, or even Smug Bastard, know what they were thinking? That's guesswork, but WL includes it as if it were fact.

Smug Bastard also makes a lot of judgment calls on the five men. He calls them sinners to their faces, and assumes that they must be so because they don't have a Bible on them. If they had, "you would not be what you are today." Would anyone really make such comments to total strangers? Well, yes, if they were smug bastards.

The story ends ten years later, with one of the five card players catching up with Smug Bastard and wishing him a good evening. "It is a good evening," Smug replies, "if all your sins are forgiven." What a dick. The card guy, let's call him Twerp McStupid, tells Smug "that three spades had already dug their graves, and that the fourth man was anxious to be saved from the fortune he had been given." Twerp had already found Salvation; by a contrived bit of happenstance, his mother had died at around the same time as the fortune telling on the train. Her last words to the junior McStupid were, "Behold He cometh with coulds; and every eye shall see him." Exactly what Smug Bastard told Twerp on the train! Coinkidink? Twerp McStupid didn't think so. Those words followed him everywhere, even though he "tried to drink them away," until one final time that was "more than I could stand."

I know how you feel, Twerp. This tract was almost more than I could stand, too! Like I said, WL provides a new and fresh take on the Jesus message, and for that I say, kudos. However, the intolerable smugness of Smug Bastard wipes those kudos away. Why can't we have a tract in which the Believer doesn't judge people, and is actually open to other points of view?

I guess such a thing just isn't in the cards.

Likely to Convert - 3
Artwork - 2
Ability to Hold Interest - 4
Unintentional Hilarity - 4
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 3

No comments: