So, you believe in the need for church discipline, ehh? How strong is your belief?
Hey William – Will – come on in. I think you know everyone. We’re having to meet in the library tonight. The preacher, over on your left, offered us the use of his office, but there just weren’t enough chairs.
Well….I guess we’ll just jump right into this. I asked the pastor if I could be the one to lay this out for you. We’ve been through a lot, you and I, and I thought it was only fair that I be the one to, um, do this.
Will, there’s been a lot of concern about your conduct of late. Truth be told, there’s, umm, there’ve been whispers and rumblings for about a year. I think it all started back when Mike Dummer left his wife. Rumor had it that you had a hand in that bit of trouble, but we took it just as that – rumor. Nobody said a word to you about it since, well, since you’ve been a member here so long. Your family is here, and you’ve done a lot of stuff for the church, so the inclination was to give you the benefit of the doubt.
But then after the Eaton girl was picked up for being underaged at the strip joint out on Route 6, you were seen in the background. No doubt that….
Hmm? Please, Will…I’ve seen the photos myself. Don’t make this any worse by trying to lie your way out of it.
I guess I should’ve said something to you then, but as you know, confrontation and I go together about like gravy and popcorn. I just…I just couldn’t. And for that, I’m sorry. I truly am, Will.
You remember, I guess, the next little incident. You know, when the Damerly family asked you not to come around any more because of the suggestive jokes. It was too awkward to say anything then, either.
I finally did address all of this with you when you borrowed my laptop and signed up for, umm..well, there were the websites you visited, with the girls and such. The only reason I figured it out was because of the trojans that infected my computer. We talked then, remember?
Yes, you do. I invited you over for grilled steaks, just you and I. We sat on the back porch and shot water guns at the lightning bugs. I brought up the Eaton girl and the Damerly’s and the computer thing. You sort of apologized for…what did you call it? “Errors in judgment…lapses in common sense.”
Yes….people can change, Will, I agree. What’s that? Yes, I know you’re an adult, and everyone else involved was an adult. I know I can’t exactly sit here and pre….I..yes, I know I can’t presume to perfection. That’s not what this is about, though, and you know it.
At any rate, you didn’t stop all of this nonsense even after steaks and lightning bugs. That pushed Eddie Berlick and I to talk to you about this back just after New Year’s, remember? And then, again as Valentine’s approached.
Nothing changed, man. Nothing.
Look, you’ve lived your whole life around here, and everyone knows you. They know your truck, and they see it parked where you’ve got no business hanging out. You and all your friends have the iPhones with cameras now, and as a result there aren’t a whole lot of secrets.
The long and short of it, Will, is that you’re not welcome here any more. Here, I mean, at church.
Wai…I know you grew up here. I know you were baptized here. You helped lay the tile in the hall, and you’ve already signed up for clean-up duty after the March barbecue. Doesn’t exactly help your case, though. All you’ve done is prove that you know better, and choose to behave this way.
My….those are some choice words. Wow. I suppose you’ve practiced those a while, seeing how easily they roll off your tongue.
Now listen, if you can. I tried to talk to you about this. Eddie came over and we tried together. We’ve tried to get you to come to church meetings where the only item on the agenda was convincing you of the need to conform to the Bible. We invited you out for burgers with a bunch of men from the church so we could address this. Nothing has worked. So…it has come to this. You are no longer a member here. We don’t want you in Sunday School. Worship time is closed to you.
Your, uhh, church family is umm….tired of you. They’re tired of explaining your actions to people in the community. For the foreseeable future, you are spiritually family-less. Not spiritually orphaned, exactly, I guess, but you get the picture.
Now, come Sunday morning, your mother and I will still eat breakfast with you down at Shoney’s, like we have for years. After she and I finish at church, you are still welcome to come to the house and have lunch with us and your sisters. We can still watch March Madness on the couch and eat your famous nachos. I’ll still rebuild your fishing reel, and we’re all still headed up to Lake Sam Rayburn at the end of April. I’m still your dad, despite all of this.
But around here, at this church, you’re not welcome. If you are willing to talk with some folks who can help guide you back to the path of righteousness, then that’s a start. All of us in this room here want nothing more than to bring you back into the fold, and we’ll do whatever we can to help you make that happen. But until that time…you’re out.
So…any questions? No?
That’s it, I guess. Oh, be sure to stop by the house. Your mother has some leftover lasagna for you.
Could you do it?