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The Bishop of Souls
Jonsie Brown is a troubled foster child who spends most of his free time defying adults in supervisory positions and in various forms of reprimand and discipline. The few redeeming qualities of his life (which could indicate an avoidance of him becoming an adult habitual criminal offender) would be his lovely girlfriend, who has such a pleasant personality most people are dumbfounded as to what she sees in him as a suitor, and another foster child who considers Jonsie his older brother and is summarily devoted to him. Jonise’s rambunctious life would have probably continued along a history of behavior problems except for an incredible encounter he experiences one night when he was supposed to have been in a form of solitary confinement. He meets a man who, although he does not openly state it, behaves like the contemporary interpretation of the Jesus Christ of traditional Judaic/Christian theology.
The plot of The Bishop of Souls centers around a troubled juvenile delinquent orphan named Jonsie Brown who had encountered an unusual person insinuating himself to be the Jesus Christ of traditional Judaic-Christian theology. Through the initial encounter, Jonsie was amazed to discover the unusual being had actually expected Jonsie to accept or pledge to his bizarre assertions and basically convert to the religion of Christianity. Being a skeptically jaded youth who had been regularly constrained under some discipline ordinance at the school he attended or the orphanage where he lived, Jonsie was reluctant to accept the individual’s contention or even reveal the truth of the incredible night time meeting which had also been attended by some gigantically intimidating characters who Jonsie had presumed to be the conventional interpretation of attending angels. After this strange first meeting, Jonsie had even begun to notice the turmoil of his life had seemed to magnify. When confronted as to how his presence has appeared to coincide with the increasing turbulence of Jonsie’s life, the man casually dismissed the circumstances as results of the proponents of the devout conviction which was to be entering into Jonsie’s life. Reasoning this additional strife as further effective justification for rejection, Jonsie became further repulsed by the idea of any Christian conversion. The man, however, remained undisturbed and behaved oblivious toward this adamant rejection.
Although Jonsie had witnessed some impressive activity upon the part of the Jesus character which could have supported something was extraordinarily unusual concerning the man, he had continued to resist devotion to any sort of Christian creed. Jonsie’s judicial demerits had also continued to increase until he was expelled from the orphanage to a juvenile delinquent school for boys. Unfortunately, rather than this facility rehabilitating him, Jonsie’s behavior had continued to deteriorate further, and his exchanges with the man, who had been mysteriously able to freely enter the restricted facility, had become more calloused. Unyielding in his affirmations, the Jesus character still did not regard Jonsie’s increasing anger with much concern. Continuing to feel more alienated by adults and the judicial system which regulated him, Jonsie later escaped from the institution to join a street gang he had been affiliated with.
Beginning to exist as a temperamental miscreant, Jonsie was very surprised to see the continued physical appearance of the Jesus character intruding into his life. He was further amazed when his intentionally offensive behavior was overlooked and overshadowed by the powerful diplomacy of the Jesus character. Jonsie’s persistent reasoning of his deviant character being unusable by any aspect of Christianity was constantly thwarted by the man’s blunt assurance of the importance of sincerity and effort to affect good.
The story climaxed as Jonsie had witnessed Felix, a young boy who always admired Jonsie, being fatally struck by an automobile. In a wild panic, Jonsie intruded into the hospital where Felix’s body had been transported. As security was summoned to apprehend him, Jonsie unthinkingly made a ridiculous effort to contact the Jesus character through the use of a simple telephone. Not appreciating the unbelievable nature of the telephone call, Jonsie was assured through a kind voice in the receiver of the imminent arrival of the Jesus character to the hospital.
After the Jesus character had arrived at the hospital, the tempo of the story became more intense. The summoned police arrived and discovered the gigantic angels who had followed the man were idling before the hospital. While certain officials had attempted to contain the excitement, the Jesus character had initiated some joyousness by alleviating the problems of various troubled lives before attending to the dead Felix. In the closing lines of the manuscript, Jonsie revealed his new devotion to the man, and the Jesus character happily assured a nearby angel figure that he had known the conversion to have always been possible.