I'm sure I wasn't supposed to have heard the conversation. But I really wasn't eavesdropping. Here's what happened — on that dark and stormy night ...

"What do you think of Christianity?" asked Lee Teabag.

"Ah, Christianity!" said the mysterious voice. "It hasn't turned out the way its founder envisioned. The Son of Man never meant for it to be a long list of rules and a set of complex doctrines. He didn't die to finance big church buildings and put crocodile-tear hucksters on TV and damage sensitive people with heavy doses of guilt."

"But I thought the nastier and guiltier we felt, the better," chimed in Sophie Oldview. "Since I was a little girl at church, I've sung about what a ‘wretched worm' I am and gone to the Halloween house to have hell scared out of me."

"Oh, Sophie!" came the voice. "That isn't the message Father God sent his Beloved Son to give the world! Don't you remember how he treated outcasts? Don't you recall his ‘dinner with a sinner' program that so scandalized the clergy? Don't you remember the woman ‘caught in the act' and how kind he was to her?"

"I guess I thought he just had a few moments of weakness," she said.

"Weakness? Yes, that's it, Sophie! You've just stumbled onto a key concept of Christianity as it was meant to be!" said a now-ardent voice. "God made himself weak for you. And poor and vulnerable. He did what nobody could ever have imagined God doing before Jesus' time. He became poor so others could be rich, became weak so you could have power, and died to give you life!"

"So you actually think we've missed the point of faith?" mused Teabag.

"Only by a few bazillion light years!" the excited voice declared. "Could I trust you to tell the truth to others? Give you the secret of ‘The Jesus Code'?"

"But the clergy! And the people they've already duped!" gasped Sophie.

"I know. I know only too well!" said the now-sad voice. "They 'hung me out to dry' when I first broke the news many years ago that God wants a relationship with people that will change their relationships with one another. That he wants to be a Father to them and make them into a loving family for each other. That the proof of their conversion would be thriving communities of peace and joy and love — not exclusive religious clubs where judgment and fear and meanness reign."

"You really want us to tell people something so radical?" groaned Teabag.

"Maybe it is asking too much," said the voice in its final utterance to the pair. "They might reject and kill you — just like they did me at Calvary."