Roger Dimmesworth walked through the parking lot on a Wednesday night, a self-satisfied smile on his face. He did have a beguiling smile, even though the crooked teeth and sharp incisors added a sinister touch. But Roger was good at hiding that. It was rare his students ever noticed that about him…until it was too late, anyway.
Roger was pleased with himself this Wednesday evening. To be honest, though, Roger was generally pleased with himself all the time. However, this particular Wednesday evening he was more than pleased; he was downright delighted. Roger always was when he got the opportunity to give sermons.
He had based his sermon on Ephesians 6:11-18. Who could doubt that we were living in a world created and ruled by schemes of the devil? He had thought things were bad enough during the decadence of the 1990s. Surely the world had become as bad as Sodom and Gomorrah by then. But since the ‘90s the world had gotten so much worse. Roger figured Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing on the United States today. And people needed to be in Church as many times as possible to keep the Armor of God pulled tight around them. Roger figured he was just the guy whose thoughts and ideas could keep this sad little congregation of fools on the straight and narrow.
The sermon had just the right balance of scriptured reasoning and passion, he thought with satisfaction. People always liked passion. Especially the women. And Roger knew a thing or two about women, although he kept the fact that he had that knowledge to himself. There was not much point in letting others know he had it, now was there? It was very useful to be underestimated, Roger thought. But then again, Roger always made sure he was never underestimated for long.
As he walked to the car with Millie in tow, Roger relived his well-received speech to assuage the constant irritation he felt towards Millie. It was so difficult to keep patience with Millie and her histrionic tendencies, but Roger understood that the very thing that irritated him about Millie insured Roger was the one in control – just the way he liked it.
“Look at the world in which we live today, brethren,” he’d started out quietly from the pulpit. “There is no doubt that Satan is firmly in control of this carnal plane of existence. We live in a society that abhors God. One that makes sure that our children are offered every temptation available to mankind. Our schools teach acceptance and tolerance of homosexuality, yet they refuse to tolerate prayer! Tell me how cunning a demon Satan has become over the centuries to be able to convince people of something as backwards as that?! And these worldly fools have blinders over their eyes that they cannot see! Remember what John 12:40 tells us! ‘He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts…’ They have been convinced by these unwitting and pathetic agents of Satan in our society and the government – yes, brethren, the reach of Satan has penetrated even into the White House – that tolerance is a virtue. But we know it is not!! We know what Peter taught us in 2 Peter 1:4 that we need to ‘escape from the corruption that is the world…’ And, brothers and sisters, there can be no doubt of the fact that the agents of Satan are fully in charge of this world and manipulating their unwitting subjects so they can PAVE THE ROAD TO HELL WITH THEIR SOULS!!”
Roger was particularly pleased with that last line. He had crafted it to make sure that his sorrow for these pathetic sinners was palpable even as he told of their satisfying damnation. Of course, that was only done to make it look like Roger had the ability to feel empathy for others. In Roger’s mind giving the impression of having empathy for these hell-bound saps was every bit as good as actually caring for them. It wasn’t as if anyone could tell the difference.
And that, like most things about himself, suited Roger just fine.