Friday, February 19, 2016

Life in the compound

Once upon a time, a few devout Arminians established a compound in a remote, wooded location, to keep themselves unspotted from the lubricious enticements of high Calvinism. 

The buildings were encircled by fields for grazing and farming. And the fields were encircled by forest. Everywhere you looked was a wall of trees. The settlers bought enough acreage so that civilization was nowhere in sight. 

In the course of time, children were born into the compound who knew not the existence of the outside world. Knew nothing beyond the woods.

As a deterrent to the curious, their elders told them spine-tingling stories about the many monsters lurking in the woods. The Black Forest of Calvinism. In this enchanted forest were man-eating trees with tentacles instead of branches. Forty-foot pythons. Spitting cobras. Arboreal vipers–with flesh-melting venom–that would drop from trees onto passersby beneath. Giants spiders. Fire ants the size of deer. Three-headed hyenas. And anthropophagi. These were the demon-spawn of Calvinism! 

Although you were allowed to cut trees facing the compound for firewood, to venture any distance into the woods, even in broad daylight, was fraught with peril. And to go into the forest at night was courting unspeakable horror. Indeed, everyone was always safely inside before darkness fell.

In time, even the elders began to believe their cautionary tales. They carved wooden statues of Arminius, John Wesley, and Paige Patterson, to ward off the monsters of the Black Forest. 

Boys and girls were duly catechized. Calvin's God was worse than Hitler. Not that they knew who Hitler was, but they figured he must be nearly as bad as sour milk.

Calvin's God was worse than Satan. When a girl inquired about Satan, they told her he was just like Calvin's God. When she inquired about Calvin's God, they told her he was just like Satan. But what the answer may have lacked in illumination, it more than made up for in symmetry. 

Girls, attired in ankle-length dresses, milked cows and made daisy chains, while boys were sternly admonished that if they must swear, only to use Batman exclamations ("Holy bat trap!"). In all, twas a veritable paradise on earth. 

Yet despite these pious precautions, a day came when three adventurous boys, overcome by curiosity, and rankled by repressive discipline, decided to explore the forbidden forest. For miles they hiked into the woods. Every snapping twig or falling walnut left them in jitters. Yet all they saw were a few squirrels, deer, and rabbits.

Finally, they emerged on the other side of the forest. It opened out onto a sandy beach with pineapple trees and coconut trees. 

Soon they lost all track of time as lazy days lengthened into weeks and months, while they feasted on fruit and shellfish, waded in the waves, or sunned themselves on the sandy expanse. 

Finally, after two or three years, they returned to the compound, manly and tanned, to share their thrilling discovery. There was a world beyond the woods. And a wonderful world it was! 

The elders denounced this news as witchcraft most foul. Whatever else it be, it can't be that! The boys were under a spell. The "beach" could only be some phantasmagoria, conjured by the Black Forest sorceress.  

So the elders stayed behind, as did some of the kids, but others left the compound to see for themselves, and never came back. 


  1. So hilarious! I lost it at "symmetry." :-)

  2. Pineapples don't grow on trees.

  3. lu·gu·bri·ous



    looking or sounding sad and dismal.

    synonyms:mournful, gloomy, sad, unhappy,doleful, glum, melancholy, woeful,miserable, woebegone, forlorn, somber,solemn, serious, sorrowful, morose,dour, cheerless, joyless, dismal;