Riven

Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins Page A

Book: Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jerry B. Jenkins
Tags: Religious Fiction
church,” Grace said.
    “Same thing.”
    “Frankly, sir, it doesn’t sound like it.”
    “You disagree with God’s Word?” Paul turned to a skinny, bald man on his right. “Ernie, I believe you have a motion?”
    Ernie looked pained and his fingers fluttered as he straightened a small sheet of notebook paper before him. “Uh, yes. Yes, I do. I make a motion that—”
    “You move,” Paul said.
    “Pardon?”
    “You don’t ‘make a motion,’ Ernie. Let’s get this right. You move. ”
    “Okay. I move that the Reverend Thomas Carey be removed from the office of pastor of the Oldenburg Rural Bible Church Circuit until such time—”
    “Excuse me, Paul,” Patricia whispered. “Without the other elders, we’d better just say ‘of the Oldenburg Rural Bible Chapel’ for now.”
    “Well, he can’t pastor the others if he’s not pastoring here.”
    “That’s up to them.”
    “But I’m—we’re in charge of them.”
    “Let’s just do it this way for now.”
    “Fine. Let the minutes show the motion is that Carey be removed from being pastor of just this church. Go on, Ernie.”
    “—until such time as he has proven he can manage his own household.”
    “And in the meantime?” Paul said.
    “Oh yeah.” Ernie looked back at his sheet. “And in the meantime he will be subject to discipline by the board of elders for failure to reveal that he was not managing his own household. Such discipline shall include a confession before the congregations—”
    “Singular for now,” Patricia said.
    “— congregation and weekly meetings with the chairman of the elders for instruction and correction.”
    Thomas leaned back and stared at the ceiling. Then he focused on Paul. “If you think for one second that I am going to—”
    “Excuse me, Tom, but there’s more.”
    Ernie turned his sheet over. “Be it understood by these present that during the term of said discipline—man, this really reads funny—Reverend Carey’s salary shall be suspended and he shall be required to pay rent on the parsonage.”
    “Did you discuss this with Jimmie Johnson?” Thomas said.
    “All in favor?” Paul said.
    But Thomas and Grace were on their way out.
    As Thomas slowly drove back to the parsonage, Grace buried her face in her hands.
    “I’m worried about you, sweetheart,” he said.
    She straightened. “Don’t worry about me, Thomas. Hatred has a way of clarifying things.”
    “Surely you don’t hate anyone.”
    “I’m praying about that, but no, I was referring to the Pierces’ hatred of us.”
    “This can’t stand,” Thomas said. “I’ll get hold of Mr. Johnson in the morning, and—”
    “He’s out of town.”
    “But I’m sure he’s reachable by phone.”
    “This is beyond him, Thomas. You know the hallmark of the association is the autonomy of the local bodies. These people have to stand up to Paul. That’s all there is to it.”
    “The rank and file probably know nothing about this.”
    “You’ve worked in small churches all your life; you don’t think the phone lines are melting by now?”
    “Well, hon,” he said, “I’m not about to turn and run.”
    “And I don’t have the energy to stay and fight. I won’t allow you to be put through this. If there is not immediate opposition to this craziness, we’re leaving.”

13
    Touhy Trailer Park
    Brady Darby felt strangely flat as he made his way home from the Laundromat. His mother was dozing before the television, a freshly lit cigarette in the ashtray. Brady took the smoke and turned down the TV, but as he undressed in the bedroom, he had second thoughts about smoking where Peter was sleeping.
    He quickly finished and stubbed out the butt, then sat on the edge of his bed, just a few feet from his brother. He felt an urge to talk to Peter, to admit what he had done and say he had learned from it and wanted to be sure Peter never made the same mistake. Might things actually start to turn for the better for Brady if he somehow

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