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“STUNG! A Theophilus Hornby Mystery” (Ch. 6)

11 Jun

~~ Ch. 6 ~~

Monday afternoon was Hornby’s day to go grocery shopping. His diet included more than tv dinners, but his level of absent-mindedness seemed to be increasing as the years rolled on. He would lose track of time, forget what he came to buy, or get caught up in a conversation about theology.

He was fond of saying, “Theology is not boring. Theologians are boring!” He tried his best to keep his lectures and class discussions relevant and practical and, well, interesting. He remembered his old friend Daryl Busby, a former colleague at a small Bible college in Canada, saying, “Surely it must be a sin to bore God’s people with God’s Word!”

Hornby was always ready to discuss doctrinal matters, because good doctrine, he believed, was solidly based in truth. And the truth will set you free, he thought to himself.

He remembered going grocery shopping one Monday afternoon when he met his plumber friend John Ensel who had also lost his wife to cancer. “Theo,” John said, “got your list?”

“List? Oh, my. Nope. Forgot it again!”, Hornby answered.

“Well, that’s okay, my friend. Somedays without my Mary I find it hard to put one foot in front of the other. But we must, you know?”

“Yeah, I know,” Hornby answered. “I know she’s with the Lord, and her pain is gone, and she’s probably so enamored with the Lord Jesus that she hardly even thinks about me down here.”

“I’m not so sure about that, Theo,” Ensel responded. But what do I know? I’m just a humble plumber, DR. Hornby!”

Hornby and Ensel loved poking fun at each other, especially about their different levels of education. “I’m not so sure how truly humble you are, John. I know that you’re probably more widely read in theology than I am — and I teach this stuff!”

“Theo, you know that I just fix water problems, flooded basements, and clogged toilets. I’m just a small fish in God’s pond.”

“John, you remind me of something said by John Gardner, who was the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson. Gardner said, ‘The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.’”

Hornby and Ensel laughed and laughed at that quote, and for the next hour, they discussed the finer points of God’s omnipresence, the state of believers who were already in heaven, and whether or not those saints paid attention to what was going on down here on earth. Neither was aware that their discussion was taking place in Aisle 7, Feminine Hygiene and Incontinence Aids.

 

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