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A Conversation in Letters That Will Never Take Place

Dear Charles, It has been many months now since you sat before me in your office, in your little kingdom, in your fledgling empire and informed me that I could not be a member of your church. Not unless I fulfilled certain conditions.

Dear Kate, I hear you are out of the country now and will be for some time. I was surprised, seeing as you never mentioned it. You didnt visit us before you left. I hope its going well for you.

Kate: Do you remember those conditions Charles? I do. I still wake up with our conversation choking my mind. You said, I hear youve been going to the Charismatic Churchs camp. I replied, Who told you that? Then your expression changed. I might have had you there. It was guilt I saw. Ive always been too soft. I let you off. I said, Never mind. And no, actually. I didnt go to that camp.

Charles: Im glad we had that little talk before you left, arent you? It was good to discuss things.

Kate: You always were a bit sneaky Charles. I used to watch you playing Risk with the young people. You made everyone fall in love with you right up until you annihilated them all.

Charles: The youth took your decision well. We still play Risk by the way.

Kate: You mean, I cant attend any other meeting that doesnt back up your theology? I asked. You squirmed Charles. Did you know you physically squirm when youre wrong? I used to think it meant you had a conscience. That is what Im saying, you said.

Charles: You probably wont know that I am officially ordained now. Yes. I am a pastor. Pastor Charles. My main concern is that the church receives correct teaching and do not come under the influence of more Charlatans.

Kate: I used to think you were deeper. Remember that night I visited? You were so angry. From the moment I came in you were ranting about the false teachers and the Charismatics. Even though I sympathised with you, I knew it wasnt right.

Charles: Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

Kate: I said something. Something like, Dont cut them all off. God may use you among them. That made you go quiet.

Charles: I believe things are changing. Our church and our sister church currently have some holding in the Unified Churches Act. Now, at least, they cant do what they want without answering to anybody.

Kate: I begged God to still your anger that night. I had no idea that only two weeks later you would sit there and tell me I did not belong because I wouldnt hate them like you did. And I wont Charles. I wont choose to hate. Not after my past.

Charles: Sometimes, Kate, it is hard here. I have always been a logical man. Never emotional. However, now and again I become very disappointed with those around me. I must confess, I was disappointed in you once. Angry, even.

Kate: Id like you to make it clear to everyone that you are not a member of this church. Thats what you said. Those words still ring clear. Oh, I didnt care about being a member of your church. It wasnt God rejecting me. It was you. A friend. Rejecting my belief, my gifts, my spirit. My very core. I would never admit those words broke my heart that day. But they did.

Charles: The thing is, you said one thing then did another. I couldnt understand why you attended a church whose beliefs you disagreed with. And then there was your trust issue. I dont trust pastors. Thats what you said. So you didnt trust me I suppose.

Kate: You broke me. And you did it all so effortlessly.

Charles: I cant say I truly trusted you either Kate. I didnt know what you were telling people. I had to protect my church and its name. As I said then, it was for your own protection too.

Kate: You never knew I stood up for you did you? To my then boyfriend, your friend, though you were both divided by theology. He questioned your faith. I fought so fiercely for you. You probably would never have guessed that.

Charles: I suppose I did want a commitment from you. Us pastors dont like the ones who flit around. I wantedI hoped to know where you stood.

Kate: Ive always wanted to tell you; the Charismatic Church threw me out too! I wish we could laugh about it. Their reason was the same as yours. Maybe you wouldnt laugh. Church politics always took away your infectious laugh.

Charles: Someone mentioned something about you and that church. I heard it ended badly. What happened?

Kate: Youd say, I told you so. But it doesnt matter. You still acted just like them and you hate them. I know you do. Does it hurt when I tell you youre the spitting image

Charles: I am sorry if you got hurt.

Kate: sorry. Youve hurt enough. I always saw pain in you. Buried away in that logical heart of yours. Sometimes just looking at you made me want to cry.

Charles: I hope you were able to keep relationships with your good friends from that church. Like you always wanted to. I remember you had a fear of losing them.

Kate: I lost everyone. I knew I would. I just always thought somehowyou might stay.

Charles: I will finally admit, I got a shock that day in my office when you said you couldnt accept the conditions. Perhaps thats why I bluffed. And lost. I just always thought somehowyou would stay.