Wax & Bottles

Two travelers walk the woods at night. Rain pours through the canopy of leaves, drenching clothes, obscuring sight. They lower their heads, determined to arrive safely at mountain homes. 

One traveler relies on the flashes of lightning to get him home. It comes in spectacular streaks of luminescent brilliance, staggered over time, their patterns matching their intermittent arrivals. The light of lightning inspires a sense of awe every time, and the traveler stands and marvels, eyes seared by the perfect image, a sending from heavenly places, unable to be controlled or explained.

Blind and groping before, the intense flash of pure energy fills his vision with swimming spheres of light, after-images accompanied only by the answering thunder.

For one brief moment, as the bolt arrived, he could see! The world of the woods, with its roots and snarls, its brush and mysteries, illuminated perfectly in searing white! Yet for all that clarity, for all that crisp detail, he now stumbles again, worse than before, the roots and the snarls, no longer framed by lightning, jump from the earth and grab his ankles.

If only he had a bottle, or some container, something to catch the perfect transcendent lightning with so he could carry it with him always, to guide him home. But alas, he does not- - he wanders, tripping, unable to see the woods and wondering, when, oh when, will lightning strike again?

The second traveler reaches into her pocket and pulls out an ugly nub of a candle, wax clumped in misshapen forms, like flooding rivers captured in still as they left their natural beds. She sits on a wet stump, striking well-worn tools with practiced hands, waiting for a sputtering spark to catch the wick of the tiny wand she holds. She does not move from her spot, but simply waits for the ritual to run its course, knowing in time it will light.

It does light, giving birth to the smallest of flames, the dark wick sheltered by cupped hands, growing into a steady but shifting brightness, one she can walk by if she holds her body protectively and does not move too swiftly. Her eyes focus not on the candle itself, but on the ground the light bathes, defining it with detail she never knew in the midnight darkness.

The roots have texture and purpose, twisting and turning like otters at play, feeding the massive trunks above them with food transformed magically from sun, soil, and water. She no longer fears the roots as enemies of her journey, but  delights in their unheralded complexity. . .as she steps over them smoothly.

She continues this pattern, traveling slowly by her faithful and flickering waxy companion, appreciating the wonder of the world as her mountain home grows steadily closer. When it fails her, she finds another stump, sits, works, and waits for the flame to appear again and then proceeds on as before. . .

Two travelers walk the woods at night. One worships the lightning strikes and wanders tripping and cursing through the forest, hoping to arrive at the place he seeks. The other walks in intentional deliberation, by the light of an imperfect but illuminating candle, seeing the woods, marveling in the detail, and approaching a place called home.

Matt O.

Early Reviews: Questions of a Curious Nature

Hey everyone! We are blessed and excited around Orth Lodge! Folks keep sending in their early reviews of the book, and the responses are something! Check them out:

“I’m just glad Matthew finally completed a creative project. When he was growing up, our house was a graveyard of half-finished macaroni trees, 12 syllable haikus, and bird houses with no holes.” Matt’s Mom

“Matt calls himself a pastor and a writer. I call him unemployed.” Matt’s Dad

“KITTY! KITTY! KITTY! MEEEOOWW!” Matt’s toddler daughter

“Matt O. reminds me of a modern-day magician shepherd. In fact, other than myself, he’s by far my favorite wizard.” Gandalf

“I resent that.” Dumbledore

“How do you think I feel?” Harry Potter

“I hate you all.” Merlin

“I killed a Philistine rugby team with this book. By paper cuts.” Samson

“Every table in our store used to wobble until we wedged all those free, perfectly-sized books from Matt Orth under them.” Starbucks Manager, Gaffney, SC

“Finally! A heroine with intelligence and wit! A woman whose passion is for God and not a romance with the local Amish farmer or Puritan sheriff! Look out Redeeming Love! Questions of a Curious Nature is gunning for you!” Women Everywhere

“It’s weird and we don’t get it.” State of Alabama

“I was promised a steady boyfriend and a pack of Twinkies if I said something about so-and-so’s book.” Taylor Swifft

“I beleeb this is the best book ever.” Justin Beeber

“No pictures. Pastor sad.” Marc Driscoll

“We’re still voting on whether or not we’re offended. If I was a betting man, which I am clearly not, I would go all-in on us being royally offended.” Southern Baptist Convention

“Love it, I did.” Yoda

“This wasn’t the book I was looking for.” Stormtrooper #2

“Maintaining a consistent meta-narrative while juxtaposing a satirical tone with paradigmatic kerygma, Orth navigates the evangelical milieu expertly, weaving his motley cacophony of characters into an allegorical brew worth relishing.” Chewbacca

“You’re pretty much the worst steward of resources ever if you don’t invest 12 bucks into this book.” Dave Ramsee

“I have two weaknesses: putting this book down and Kryptonite.” Man of Steel

“Superman is a pansy.” Batman

“I make a motion everyone reads this book. Second? All in favor?” Robert’s Rules of Order

“Ladies, if you want a shot with me, you gotta read this book.” Tim Teebo, said from a kneeling position somewhere in New England

“This book goes great with Dunkin’ Donuts.” Everyone

"We need more love and grace in the world, and this book is a step in that direction." Papa Smurf

"It's the smurfiest!" Pope Francis

Thanks to everyone for their glowing endorsements. Apologies to Jon Piper, the Apostle Paul, and Celine Dion for not including your comments, but space was limited!

Be looking for the book in late June! Here's a sneak peek at the cover: