Remember Cowboys & Indians?

 

Of course, today itís all Star Wars, but the stories of the conquering of the Wild West still stir the hearts of little boys and girls of all ages.

 

Now you must remember some of the stories. Who did you identify with? TheMayor who played safe and tried to compromise with the baddies, or the whisky drinking gun slinger who risked his life every day? Sure I can guess! Was the heroine the safe schoolmarm, or the loose woman who made good by risking everything to ensure the heroís safety?Remember the wagon-train out there, crossing the badlands, and wondering whether the Injuns would get between the train and the next freshwater creek? And, oh goodness, that raw buffalo meat that they didnít know whether to eat or sole their shoes with?

 

Right, youíre getting there now, arenít you? Good. Bet you didnít have images of the Christian Church in your mind as you watched those films or read those comics. Well, have I got news for you!

 

Wes SeeligerThe Reverend Wes Seeliger

 

I have just discovered that a distant friend of mine has just moved a little further away, On May 3, 2000,Wes set out on his final trail from this good earth.He rides now with the Trail Boss, The Scout and The Buffalo Hunter. He was one of the good guys. And he has left us a remarkable legacy. A book! Iíd like to say a book that changed my life, it wouldnít quite be true. God changed my life, and you can read about that elsewhere on this web site. I came across a synopsis of a remarkable book in 1982. It changed my view of the Church. But all I had was a name and a title, and I didnít even know whether the title I had was the title of a book. It was ďSettlers and PioneersĒ. After eight years of hunting, I tracked him down in Houston, Texas. He kindly sent me a copy of his book, plus another one for the person who introduced me to it, for, he too, had only seen a summary. What amazed me was the drawings too, were all by Wes. What a talented guy! I got really excited and bought a raft for UK distribution Ė because itís a book that all Christians should read Ė in my humble opinion. Wes even said that if I found a UK publisher, heíd go half on the royalties. But that wasnít important. What was important was that everyone should be able to read it.

 

A Book no Respectable Publisher would touch!

 

A book that no respectable publisher will publish. I know, Iíve had the UK rights for ten years and have been hawking it around. Why? Because publishers have to think of their readers, and they leave issues of imagination to their writers. The fact is, this book is scandalous! It makes fun of the Church. It implies that there might be more than one type of Christian Church. Well we canít have that, can we? After all, we all know that our denomination is the right one, and the way we do things in our home town is pretty well the best way. Oh yes, we might like a bit more of this and that, and rather a lot less of, oh well, you know! Weíre agreed arenít we?

 

So along comes Wes, and ruins his own career, by having a ridiculous sense of humour. And then he talks about one type of church having meetings in the town hall, and serving ice cream, and people start taking offence. And when he starts suggesting that Bishops are either Bank Presidents or Washers up, itís no wonder people get upset. To suggest that the Holy Spirit comforts us like a Saloon Bar girl, it really is going too far. But then it could be that the Holy Spirit is really a Buffalo hunter, serving up what the Pioneers on the trail need to sustain them, and the clergy are there as cooks to make it nourishing. Thatís just too, too over the top. And then some fool like me suggests to publishers that it could be serious Theology. Yes, Serious Theology (remember this is the serious site!), and the publishers cannot imagine what sort of person would want to read a book that is challenging, theological, uproariously funny, and moving. The only person it might offend is your Bishop (not mine, heís got a sense of humour) Ė or if youíre of the non-hierarchical flavour, you can guess which of your elders would be.Nope. They canít imagine real Christians.

 

Whatís your view of the Holy Spirit? Comforting Saloon Girl or Buffalo Hunter? Neither? Sadly the web site (managed on his behalf) has closed so I'll plan to add more to this in due course. Wes' thoughts are too good to let go!

 

 

 

 

And yet thatís who itís for. For people who take Jesusí message seriously, and really need to be challenged to think about what sort of Church we need today in the Third Millennium.

Thatís Wesí legacy.

 

Thanks, Wes, and now youíve got His ear, keep praying for us in His Church.R.I.P.

 

Mike Davis

4th February 2001

 

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