My iphone buzzed and I knew that the game was still on:
"I'm going to call you at 2- I need to hear your best southern redneck y'all."
I spent the morning wondering what was going to happen- this was an adventure for me as well. This is the type of exam you are never ready for- but my foundation has always tried to stay close to I PETER 3:15; "...but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone that asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence..."
And I have spent a good part of the last 20 years trying to do that- preparing and sharing.
I had a light lunch and prayed, spending some time laughing at myself that I am excited about speaking to House but God is not a respecter of persons- I should be just as excited about sharing with my cashier at Publix.
2:00- 2:03- 2:05- 2:15 the phone never even flickered.
I went on the rest of my day wondering- it should have been so obvious....
My phone rang precisely at 1 o'clock AM - 2:00 eastern and it was somewhat obnoxious at the late time of night.
I tried to gather myself. 'Hello?'
"Did I wake you up?" It was him! He was short and already forceful and rude.
"Yes"- No need to lie now.
"Good. You need more drawl. Say something like 'nice white rice'"
I said it.
"I'm already disappointed- play it up a little for me 'niiiiice whiiiiite riiice'"
"Thank you for responding to my request."
"Well, I have no idea in hell why I decided to waste time on you. All you have done is annoy me. And you are wasting your time- but I thought I might as well spend a little time tearing your tooth fairy boring life view to shreds."
I started to reply when he boldly cut me off in mid breath..
"Here's the game. Time for me to annoy you. I will call you and ask you questions from time to time. No need for pleasantries. I ask. You answer. And I will stay on the line as long as you keep me interested. Do not call me in any circumstance. We will do this until you figure out that there is no God or I decide I am bored or I am finally convinced that you are too stupid to learn truth."
CLICK- He was gone. The game was on.
3:15 AM my phone rang. I pushed the answer button and without even hello he started.
"IF God is good and God is God why am I suffering in pain? Why are there children dying of disease? Why do most of the world not only live in hell but according to your dogmatic doodoo are going to hell as well because they don't worship a naked man on a tree?"
"You aren't asking a question, you are making general and vague accusations. What do we mean by God? What do we mean by good? And who are we to judge where anyone is going- that is the duty of the deity?"
And that was what the next three weeks consisted of. My phone would ring 2-3-4 in the morning. He would pepper me with a question- mostly old school apologetics classics- found in any textbook. I would start to answer and he would shut it off. Sometimes in the middle, mostly right at the end of my quippy response.
The toughest thing was that I didn't feel good about sharing this with anyone- I knew he was going to check me out- and I wanted to assure him that I had not told a soul.
But I was beating myself up pretty good. He was now the one annoying me. I was his toy. The cynical side of me was beginning to convince myself that I was his new enjoyment. Let me pepper and fry this southern hick religious nut.
I imagined him sitting in his chair, with his glass of whiskey, trying to nod off in pain and I was his last little jolt of the day. I imagined that mischievous smirk staring through the ice as he laughed at new game.
My guess is that I received 20 or more calls. He had one a day for me.
3:15 AM BUZZZZZZZ- "Are gay people going to hell?"
"We all are going to hell if we stand before a holy God and no justification for our sin."
"That was your worst answer yet. You are so political. So safe. So polished. These things come out of your mouth like some differential diagnosis my staff throws out. You have no passion- you really don't care about anyone. And your logically flawed and silly philosophy is not even worthy to be sold as horse crap." click
His words stung me. I was no longer enjoying this. My cynical self was now lecturing me about 'casting my pearls before swine'.
What have I done? I just prayed silently, cursed the darkness, and felt my frustration build over another sleepless night.