Tuesday, 14 March 2017


His first name is Saul, his surname is unimportant.
When he came up from England to work in my home town
back in the early 1970s (I think, could've been earlier), his wife
didn't quite fancy 'upping sticks' and therefore didn't accompany
him.  Saul is what is known as a 'charismatic', born-again Christian
(trust me, he hasn't an ounce of charisma) and believes that God
talks to him.  He also 'speaks in tongues' and believes in modern-
day miracles, like raising people from the dead - though the last
time he tried that in the company of the group you read about
in a previous Teenage Tales episode, him and his merry
band met with a singular lack of success.

Saul is basically a good person, given to acts of charity
and kindness, but, in my opinion, is seriously deluded, even
mentally ill.  He fits the pattern of many religious fanatics of a
Christian persuasion, being sensitive, highly strung, emotional,
and 'socially awkward' outside of his own group of like-minded
friends.  He once told me that God had informed him that he and
his wife would one day be reunited, believing the situation to be
a test of his faith of some kind.  After many years (around 12,
I think), his wife decided to join him in Scotland and he was
convinced this was the fulfillment of God's promise to
him.  Alas, the reconciliation was short-lived.

After more-or-less leading separate lives for all those
years, his wife now expected him to put her first in every-
thing.  However, Saul had a routine, established over several
years;  he had prayer meetings to attend, church business to see
to, work commitments to deal with, etc.  His spouse decided that
he wasn't making her his priority (not that she'd ever accorded
him the same courtesy) and pretty soon pissed off back down
to England.  Eventually, they divorced and Saul married a
younger woman in his church, got a dog, had some kids,
and is presumably extremely happy with his life.

I say 'presumably' because I jettisoned him as a friend
over 30 years ago and haven't spoken to him since.  Nor do I
want to, but I can't help but wonder how he explains (away) his
former conviction that God intended him and his first wife to be
reunited and live happily ever after.  Obviously, he was mistaken
about that (in the same way he was 'mistaken' about God raising
Mrs. Cowie from her deathbed), so how does he now account for
his years of waiting for God's 'promise' to be fulfilled, only to
find that it was based on nothing more than his own wishful-
thinking?  Any normal person would put up their hands
and admit they'd been a bit of a pillock, surely?

Here's an interesting insight into his type of mentality
though.  Some time in the late '70s, Saul told me that God
spoke to him one night and commanded him to fill up his bath-
tub (Saul's, not God's, as the Almighty obviously has no need of
such earthly amenities) with water from the hot tap, untempered
by cold water, and climb into the bath.  Saul dutifully did as he was
ordered, nearly scalding himself in the process, then, having satis-
fied God with his humble act of subservience, climbed out.  Next,
the Lord told him to fill the bath with cold water (after the hot
water had been emptied of course) and climb back into the
tub.  Saul obediently did so, almost giving himself a
heart attack in the process from the shock.

I gazed at him in stunned disbelief.  "Do you seriously
suppose that God, in the unlikely event He'd ever actually
speak to you, would instruct you to do something which had
such potentially harmful consequences to your well-being, if
not your life?" I asked him, incredulous at the man's stupidity.
"Oh, I no longer believe God was speaking to me" he replied.
My relief was short-lived. " I think it was Satan!" he said,
with no sense of the absurdity of his statement.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions about that true
tale from my teenage years, but it's a shocker, isn't it?  Just
imagine, someone like Saul could be living next door to you.
You'll just have to hope that 'the voice of the Lord' he hears in
his head is a benevolent one.  However, whatever you do, if he
(or she) ever tries to give you marriage guidance - or, worse -
offers to run a bath for you, make your polite excuses and re-
move yourself from their presence right away.  Those types
of people often run hot or cold (little joke there) in the
mental stability stakes, I've found.

Well, gotta go - the small voice in my head is calling,
so it's time for me to take one of my little red 'Smarties'.
If you know someone like Saul, feel free to record your
  experience of them in the comments section.


And make of the following verse what you will:

"The Devil exists, of that there's no doubt - but
    is he trying to get in us, or trying to get out?"   


John Pitt said...

The thing is, a lot of people DO hear voices in their head ( usually telling them to do horrible things ), so I guess people who believe these voices to be God or Satan are afflicted by an offshoot of schizophrenia?
Unless they actually ARE possessed by a demon, which, like Ouija boards, etc. is an area left well alone!
Unless you're a priest.
But not one like Fthr. Dougal Maguire!

Kid said...

Who has a lovely blue jumper.

B Smith said...

It's obvious - God changed his mind.

Kid said...

More likely to be that the Devil deceived him by impersonating God, BS. That was his cop-out for the bath nonsense.

Colin Jones said...

Didn't God do horrible things to Job in order to test his faith so perhaps Saul felt the same about God telling him to get in a scalding then freezing bath. These fundamentalist nuts have an explanation for everything - 81% of American evangelicals voted for Trump and claim that the orange messiah was especially chosen by God to make America great again ! The only fundamentalist I knew was, as I mentioned recently, my teacher in the final year of junior school, Mr. Jones. I also knew a black mormon called Ade and I asked him what he thought about non-Christians like Muslims and Hindus - "They are just wrong !" he confidently proclaimed.

Kid said...

Strictly speaking, CJ, God allowed Satan to do horrible things to Job to test his faith - if you believe that particular interpretation of the reasons behind Job's suffering. Incidentally, Muslims and Hindus think that Christians are equally wrong, so fundamentalist Christians don't have a monopoly on that particular attitude.

TC said...

Thank God I'm an agnostic.

Kid said...

That's a bit of an Iron Man impression, isn't it, TC? In that it's 'iron-y'.

Phil S said...

You don't have to tell me! I love the circular logic.

Kid said...

No wonder they go around in circles, eh?

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