Clay Studybaker surveyed the sad remains of his would-be wheat field. He wanted to give up on it because his evil rototiller had run amok the day before and crashed into a tree. Clay hoped no one had seen the way he yelled, screamed, and kicked the blasted thing before flinging it into the town dump. “I know I got a little out of control,” he admitted to himself, “but I sure hope my face doesn’t end up on the nightly news.”
These morbid thoughts were quickly brushed aside as he watched a bedraggled man coming toward him. He looked like he was running from a mad bull. His suit was torn and tattered and his face covered with mud. He must have taken the path that ran through the nearby swamp and carelessly tripped over a log.
“Who is that klutz anyway?” Clay thought.
The ‘klutz’ turned out to be Clay’s best friend Clem. “Hide me, quick!” he yelled.
Clay shook his head. “I’ll try, messy guy.” He looked all around, but all he saw was dirt, grass, and a banged-up tree. The swamp looming in the distance looked spooky. Then he spotted it. “Run!”
An old, white shack with peeling paint awaited the arrival of two paranoid men. Like a bullet, Clem burst through the door and knocked it off its hinges.
With a sigh Clay picked the fallen board off his clumsy friend and set it back upright. “There. Now we’re safe. Any wolf that tries to crash this place will have to knock first.”
Clem’s mud-stained face grew white as a sheet. “No, don’t let the wolf get me! I don’t want to die.”
Clay handed him an old dish rag to wipe off the dirt. “There’s no need to get uptight. Just tell me who the culprit is and I’ll run him out of town – after I pray for him, of course.”
Clem plucked a burr from his hair. “But that’s what scared me – the prayer. It was the church’s grand opening and I thought I’d check it out. As was standing in line at the altar some big dude in overalls pushed me down flat on my back. My head hit the floor with a big bang. They called it ‘being filled with the Holy Ghost.’ Oh, what a headache! As soon as I heard the word ‘ghost,’ I ran out of there as fast as my two legs would carry me. I hope no ghosts followed me here.”
“No, Clem, there aren’t any ghosts with you. That’s just a figment of your imagination.”
“What figment?” Clem yelled. “Do you mean the thing that hijacked your rototiller? (I heard about it on the nightly news). You sure did throw a fit. I mean -”
“No!” Clay exclaimed, his cheeks red with chagrin. “Bad news reporters! If any of them ever show up at my doorstep, I swear I’ll – I mean, wow! I just noticed how swollen your head is.”
The bump was huge. Clay, who had never hugged anything in his life besides a tree (and that was just so he could measure it before chopping it down), threw his arms around his frazzled friend and wept. “The Jesus I know would never whack anybody over the head in order to fill them with the Holy Ghost,” he said. “The purpose of the Holy Ghost – or Holy Spirit, as I like to call Him, is not to spook you or to whack you upside the head, but to comfort you.” Clay went to the refrigerator and got an ice pack to put on Clem’s bump.
“But the pastor in that church said that sometimes Jesus needs to whip his sheep, like he whipped the money changers in the temple,” Clem said.
Clay shook his head. “The money changers in the story weren’t the sheep. They were like wolves, and wolves eat sheep. After Jesus kicked the wolves out of the temple, the sheep came to him and got healed. Jesus is nice, you see, unlike some people who go blabbing about others’ misfortunes over at the local television station. I wish I didn’t have to forgive whoever did it.”
Clem’s eye twitched. “WH – Why?”
“Because if I don’t forgive, I can’t be filled with the Holy Spirit. But oh, the nerve of that good-for-nothing bum who videotaped me. GRR, ERRR!”
Clem could take it no longer. “I’m sorry!” he exclaimed. “Please don’t be mad. I’m the one who filmed the rototiller thing and sent it to the news station.”
Clay’s eyes narrowed. “I knew it was you. You’re always spying on me, waiting for me to do some crazy stunt so you can make money off it.”
“But – but can you forgive me?” Clem asked.
“Of course,” Clay said. “But don’t ever do it again.”
“With the Holy Spirit’s help, I won’t,” Clem answered.
And they both lived happily ever after – well, for the most part, as long as they stayed filled with the Spirit.