In this soulful and side-splitting send-up of church life, Pat G'Orge-Walker's hilarious cast of parishioners battle their worst vices, the funny and serious sides of aging, and each other...
Mother Sasha Pray Onn and Mother Bea Blister live on the edge--of Christianity, that is. As senior matrons of the Ain't Nobody Saved but Us-All Others Goin' to Hell church, their devotion to the Lord must compete with their secret passions for gambling, long-held grudges, and their jealousy of Sister Betty.
Both Mothers are put to the test when Reverend Bling Moe Bling gives them two tickets to Las Vegas, where they'll be attending the Mothers Board Conference with Sister Betty. As their bickering, gambling and chaos ensues, redemption will be no small miracle in the city of sin.
"Unsanctified, but comical, antics will have readers asking if the real Christians will please stand up." --The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on Somewhat Saved
"Ms. Walker pens a tale so funny that you'll fall out of your chair laughing, and so poignantly realistic that you'll wipe tears from your eyes...a must-read." --Angela Benson on Cruisin' on Desperation
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June 30, 2011
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Excerpt from Somewhat Saved by Pat G'Orge-Walker
In a posh home located in the wealthiest section of Pelzer, South Carolina, where worries were left to those on the poor side of town, was where Sister Betty resided.
Sister Betty was something of an enigma. She always wore a white ugly-looking hat around town with a strange fluffy white and black feather that waved like it was possessed when she walked. She also wore a large gold cross and carried a Bible with her initials embossed along its spine.
Sister Betty hadn't always lived high on the hog, as some referred to her. She, too, once lived on the other side of the tracks.
However, due to the untimely and embarrassing death of one of her longtime friends, wealthy Mother Eternal, her station in life had changed dramatically. Mother Eternal had succumbed to a heart attack while clutching a cash register. It was attached to the pulpit. Her generosity left Sister Betty with more money than she'd ever had, and more problems than she'd ever imagined. Sister Betty had lived in Pelzer, South Carolina, since her early twenties. And ever since that time, with her well-documented though mostly self-proclaimed experiences with God, she'd also gained something of a reputation as God's go-to woman. So eventually she became Pelzer's moral compass. She was the official, though barely appreciated, chief negotiator with heaven.
Just barely five-foot-two, she'd gained some weight over the years, and only old photographs testified of a younger Sister Betty who'd been a well-proportioned, brown-skinned beauty. Now her shoulders were slightly stooped as she struggled to bare the burdens of others.
She was also the chief prayer intercessor in her church prayer team of two. Just her and her longtime friend and neighbor, Ma Cile, were left. Out of what started as a team of five women praying, three had dropped out from exhaustion. So Sister Betty and Ma Cile would double up on praying and, of course, they'd do it on a daily basis. Now Ma Cile, hospitalized by a stroke, was no longer available. But Sister Betty pressed on as she stood in the gap for her people.
So, when she saw her name and the lie about her running against a woman who some believed was truly a spawn of Satan, she wanted to know, where was her God?
Sister Betty didn't have to wait long for hell to break loose. If she wasn't going to it, it would come to her. And hell had no problem coming to church; it never had.
It all came to a head the following day after the church service. No matter how saved she claimed to be, things got so bad that morning, it was all Sister Betty could do not to put down her Bible and pick up a brick in defense. She'd barely put her hand down from repeating the benediction when it happened. She'd thought that since no one had mentioned the headline in the BLAB that God had taken care of the situation. But if He was going to do it, He hadn't yet.
Current Mothers Board president and resident terrorist Sasha Pray Onn, nicknamed Mother Terminator, and Vice President Bea Blister, called Mother Rambo behind her back, confronted Sister Betty in the downstairs fellowship hall. They'd read the BLAB and took offense to her running for the office of president of the Mothers Board. They'd planned on attending the upcoming Mothers Board Conference in Las Vegas unchallenged.
As they blocked her exit, the two old women reminded Sister Betty that even before the Ain't Nobody Right but Us-All Others Goin' to Hell Church disbanded and was absorbed into the Crossing Over Sanctuary Temple diocese, they'd created and made the Mothers Board what it was.
Mothers Bea and Sasha had headed the chaotic, geriatric auxiliary and had no intention of relinquishing their positions--ever. "We aren't stepping aside for you, the Reverend Leotis Tom, the Taliban, or the United States president," Sasha boasted.
"And you can believe that!" Bea added.
Those two old she-warriors were serious. They would've gone so far as to ask God for His I.D. before they'd move aside. Sasha and Bea were so cantankerous that even old Satan wouldn't battle them without the Lord on his side.
With a toss of their heads, Bea and Sasha backed out of the fellowship hall with their eyes still trained on Sister Betty. Sister Betty had not gotten a chance to refute the BLAB's falsehood. Instead of speaking up when there was a moment of sanity and silence, she didn't; she had a chance to leave the hall in one piece, so she took it.
Arriving back at her home, Sister Betty changed clothes and went into her living room to think and pray. Seated in her favorite recliner, her feet propped on an ottoman, she laid her head back. She tried to meditate, hoping it would help her come up with a plan. She shifted her legs on the ottoman and her boney, arthritic knees crunched like they were made of aluminum foil. And, of course, she knew that those aching signs always preceded a mission from God. She was tired. The last thing she wanted was another battle with those hardheaded church folks, as she liked to call them, because she didn't use profanity.
The young people weren't nearly as difficult to minister as those staunch never-gonna-change-their-minds older ones.
"Why would You let a lie like that be printed?" Sister Betty looked toward the ceiling, waiting for God to answer. "The Mothers Board, Lord?"
She'd dealt with the Mothers Board before. There was always something the women didn't agree with. If the pastor asked for a donation, they'd fuss about the amount. If he said something was going to be free, they'd want to know why there wasn't a charge. Nothing pleased them.
However, as long as the current president and vice president Sasha and Bea led the fray, Sister Betty's ministry life would always be one long, unending roller coaster.
She'd never understand Sasha and Bea. Earlier they'd banded together to confront her and yet the two of them had occupied the same pew each Sunday for the past twenty-something years and couldn't stand one another. The Mothers Board members always reelected Sasha and Bea. It was as though the other women just loved the chaos that followed their rule.
Sister Betty rose and went to her kitchen. She brewed a pot of her favorite cayenne pepper tea and carried it with her into her bedroom. She needed to do some serious praying and the hot peppered tea always gave her a lift in both her spirit and her imagination. For two weeks after the confrontation, Sister Betty fasted, prayed, travailed, and even rolled around like Hannah, thrashing floor-style in her bedroom. Sister Betty had cried until her eyes bulged trying to convince God that He shouldn't put her in the midst of another one of Bea and Sasha's messes. However, God being sovereign always had the last word.
In this case, however, Sister Betty wanted the last word.
"Heavenly Father, just once, can I please go to some third-world country or even the Middle East and spread your message? Please don't put me in the middle of another one of Bea and Sasha's messes. . . ."
Suddenly, Sister Betty's left knee crunched and shot forward as though she were twenty. She howled. "Okay!" She'd have said more but experience taught her that her arms were just too short to box with God.
So she got up from the floor as quick as she could. It wasn't only God that spurred her to move. That cayenne pepper tea was doing it, too.