“Jesus was a man of His generation. He was not a man of the previous generation.”
Dr. Bunsen the new pastor of Squarespire Baptist Church, in A Year with the Harrisons, has just arrived to a large congregation that includes the title family. He is a sincerely religious man. Despite appearances otherwise, I never intend for you to think he’s not sincere. He might be a bit aggressive, but sometimes religious people are. I know from the inside that they care passionately about their culture. They don’t view themselves as marginalized, but as proudly independent.
Dr. Bunsen’s sermon isn’t funny because his beliefs are being mocked—it’s because he’s SO sincere that he’s getting a little out of hand and firing bullets at the congregation without getting to know them first. His wife, Mrs. Bunsen, has the same strong feelings when she talks to the music minister about instituting a band. (Actually, it’s not hard to imagine Mrs. Bunsen with an actual rifle.) But though she might seem a little hostile at first, Mrs. Bunsen is a loyal and devoted mother and a good friend to people she agrees with. If you’re her friend—probably in that case you have the exact same thoughts about music—you can trust her absolutely, and that’s a great quality as opposed to duplicity. In this aspect, at least, the Bunsens really are living out the Christian message.
At the end we still don’t get to know the Bunsens or many people in the church very well, as the Harrisons decide to go to another church. But we do know they are go-getters. If there’s an old abandoned grocery store, before you know it they’ll turn it into another little Bunsen church like their old one at Rocky Creek. And in a world where Christians are often shown as shy and self-conscious (people would rather say you had a bar mitzvah than that you were baptized!), I wanted to show something more realistic. Church people can be FIERCE.
And there will be more updates.
I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.