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Monday, May 6, 2024

Khepri, the Truth Telling Bettle

I wrote a fictional short story, drawing inspiration from recent developments within the United Methodist Church. My story explores the timeless theme of truth challenging authority. Over the past year, thousands, including myself, chose to disaffiliate from the UMC due to essential differences the denomination's direction. In North Georgia, our efforts were almost thwarted by staunch resistance from conference leadership. Despite insurmountable odds, over 260 churches miraculously exited the UMC in North Georgia. This struggle and eventual liberation drew clear parallels for many of us to the Biblical exodus of the Israelites from

Reflecting on last week's General Conference of the United Methodist denomination and its significant decisions to redefine traditional Christian views on marriage and human sexuality, I was struck by how leaders throughout history have often reframed difficult moments in a favorable light, similar to how Pharaoh might have portrayed the Exodus of the Israelites. After enduring ten devastating plagues, witnessing his entire army drown in the Red Sea, and losing the empire’s slave labor force, Egypt was left broken and in severe decline. Yet, it's likely that the hard-hearted Pharaoh spun these calamities positively to his people. Born from deep contemplation, "The Tale of Khepri" aims to provide a thoughtful exploration of the nature of truth and leadership.

"The Tale of Khepri, the Truth-Telling Beetle"
In ancient Egypt, beneath the towering shadows of the great Pharaoh’s palace, where the golden sands of the desert met the lush, verdant banks of the Nile, there lived a humble dung beetle named Khepri. Named for the Egyptian myth about the rising of the sun, this small creature was destined for a task as real and inevitable as the dawn itself. Each day, Khepri rolled his ball of dung across the sand, a daily ritual observed by all beetles of his kind. However, Khepri was no ordinary beetle.

Khepri overheard the truths Pharaoh wanted buried in the sand—the true tales of despair from the disaster at the Red Sea, the voices of the people’s suffering, and the silent tears of a kingdom burdened by heavy loss. So Yahweh, who always stands for truth, imbued Khepri with supernatural power to be His witness: with each roll of his dung ball, Khepri etched the truth into the sand in patterns and symbols, clear to those with eyes to see.

Every morning, as the sun took its place, Khepri began his laborious journey near the entrance to the palace gates. The guards, amused by the little bug’s determination, paid no attention. But soon, they noticed the patterns drawn upon the ground by his little ball of dung. It told the true story of the Pharaoh’s misdeeds and the divine intervention of Yahweh the rulers tried to erase.

Word spread among the people about a dung beetle who revealed the truths Pharaoh's words swept away. Each day, more gathered to see Khepri’s daily revelations, written in hieroglyphs upon the sand traced by Khepri's rolling sphere.

Troubled by the growing attention Khepri attracted, Pharaoh commanded his sorcerers to stop the beetle. Spells were cast, but none could deter the crawling creature's work, for his mission was protected by Yahweh Himself. The beetle simply wrote the truth and a messenger of God is not easily silenced.

As days turned to months, Khepri became a symbol of persistence and truth. People saw the beetle was of the earth but also a messenger from God. He rolled the truth before them everyday to remind them that no power, not even that of the Pharaoh, can bury the truth forever.

As the tale of the truth-telling dung beetle spread across the land, it was a poignant reminder of the kingdom's declining fortunes. The departure of the Israelites, under divinely dramatic circumstances, marked the beginning of the empire's downward spiral. Not only had the Israelites left a significant void in the workforce and economy, but the catastrophic events that facilitated their exodus—the ten plagues and the loss of Egypt's finest soldiers at the Red Sea—had left an indelible scar on the land and its people. No amount of propaganda by the people in power could change the real condition of their “kin-dom.”

In the years that followed, Khepri continued to roll his ball of truth across the land. The decline of Egypt became more and more apparent. The story of Khepri is not only about the triumph of truth over distortion; it also exposes the vulnerability of a people who, despite monumental achievements, cannot escape the consequences of their hubris in trying to defy God. Pharaoh is gone with his ancient empire. It once appeared strong, but vanished like the trail of a dung beetle amidst the wind in the desert sands. But the Word of God remains forever.

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