As little Martyn Minns understood when he finally realized that the nagging purple itch in his heart wasn’t ever going to be scratched by legitimate means, desperate times call for desperate measures. While we’re not doing as badly as poor dear Bernie Madoff, there’s no denying the St. Onuphrius’ property and investment portfolio has recently taken the kind of battering usually reserved for conservative women with vocations, so a few weeks ago I found myself called to venture forth in faith upon a short-term ministry trip to Columbia.
Like all good hit-and-run evangelism, my visit should have been a simple one, but both the Lord and Colombian Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad move in mysterious ways. In spite of my best intentions, a number of small but immensely valuable packages of a commodity much desired by customers of Conseulla’s more entrepreneurial relatives, happened to be detected during a chance inspection of our ministry aircraft by a gentle team of paramilitary thugs working in conjunction with the DEA.
Much like that Japanese soldier who spent 29 years hiding in the jungle we'd all become friends again, these fellows were entirely ignorant of the fact that St. Reagan won the war against drugs years ago, and that these days decent people are now all committed to a war on foreigners with beards. Doubtless the heavy Roman Catholic presence in their quaint and steamy land had also hardened their hearts against doing whatever a Righteous Teacher tells them, or perhaps as a result of the Pope discouraging believers from reading the Bible for themselves they lacked sufficient English skills to understand what I was saying, but after a 16 hour journey in the back of a truck our tête à tête was adjourned to an unregistered prison somewhere in a charming light industrial suburb on the outskirts of Bogotá – by “light industrial” I mean a place with lots of broken concrete, toxic chemicals stored in rusting drums on behalf of responsible multi-national corporations, and neighbours not inclined to ask questions should they imagine they hear anyone screaming in the middle of the night.
All in all it proved a refreshing retreat, and while the cavity searches weren’t quite as invigorating as Brother Richthofen’s high colonics, it was satisfying to finally learn what happened to that figurine of Joan Crawford missing since the early sixties. Sadly my fellow retreat participants at first seemed unable to enter into the spirit of what proved a golden opportunity to recharge the old spiritual batteries, although they gradually cottoned on to things when I organized a marathon choir-singing of “Shine Jesus, Shine” designed to prevent our night-wardens from enjoying their customary paid naps: things seemed a little shaky at first when the water canons were brought out, but having long ago committed Preissnitz’s excellent work The Cold Water Cure to memory I was able to encourage everyone to keep singing by delivering impromptu recitations concerning the life-giving benefits of our being sprayed; these and the judicious distribution of a few stimulants sown into the folds of my clerical shirt ensured everyone had the stamina to keep singing until the wardens’ will was broken.
Eventually, thanks largely to Bishop Quinine’s untiring research, I was able to recognize that a fungus growing on the walls of our toilet block as one blessed with simply marvelous hallucinogenic properties, and working together with inmates and guards alike was able to demonstrate this substance has the potential for an immensely lucrative new cottage industry – hey; if the sum total of your job involved poking felons with a cattle prod for a few lousy pesos a month you’d be open to a career change as well. Providing the Colombian medical system can cope with the inevitable increase in chemically-induced psychosis I predict great things for this project.
Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end, and thanks to Consuella’s relatives making a number of economic intercessions on my behalf, yesterday morning I found myself being deported. Now, can you believe it, I’m back here in dear old Ichabod Springs, seated at the computer and once more guiding you all in the ways of GAFCON wisdom. As dear old big Pete Akinola always says: “the difference between patent medicine and drugs is just a matter of legislation, and when god’s the only one making the laws the sky’s the limit if you’re not afraid to put words in His mouth.”
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.