a Short Tale of Omnipotent Proportions

When a staunch atheist is introduced to the Lord Almighty in the most casual—and childish—way, it's not the end of the world. It's a Tuesday.

* CIPA EVVY Award for Inspirational Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016
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When a staunch atheist is introduced to the Lord Almighty in the most casual—and childish—way, it's not the end of the world. It's a Tuesday.

Bradley Michaels is just another man ending just another workday at just another job. He can list the usual complaints, can point his finger at the usual causes, and he can go about his routine as if one day is absolutely no different from the next.

Until God himself just shows up uninvited and shakes up Bradley's entire existence by flaunting his own.

It's not fair, but Bradley never claimed life is. And he tries to handle the new, omniscient presence in his head with calm attention and cool collectedness.

But God happens to be a bit of a kid. He likes to joke, to prod, to stir things up. And what God sets his mind to, God succeeds at.

Just as Bradley believes he's got life all figured out, God has to throw a wrench into it.

But not at all in the way that Bradley—or you—can expect.

Just when you think life is going according to plan, you find out your plan sucks. And it's time for a new one.

I picked up my dry cleaning on a Monday. I met God on a Tuesday.

He's an okay fellow, as it turns out. Doesn't even have some holier than thou attitude or demand to be praised or worshiped every five seconds, as you might expect.

He is certifiably omni-annoying though. Kind of a giant practical jokester in the sky—without the long, white beard.

He's a bit of a kid, really: childlike. At least, in the way he sees the world. I mean, the universe and far beyond. Heck, who knows how far his creation extends. Infinitely? Probably. I'll have to ask him the next time I bump into him.

But, back to the kid thing: who of us wouldn't be when gifted with his kind of almost incomprehensible, limitless superpower?

And before you start seizing up and getting your panties in a twist, cringing at my heretical accusations and assuming your very existence is in danger as your eyes invite the wrath of God as you read this, let me put your believer's mind at ease.

He's not like that.

He's just a regular dude. Well, he's not—not even close—but you know what I mean. If you saw the Lord walking down the sidewalk, coming toward you with his usual saunter, you wouldn't know him from the homeless guy propped up against the nearest bus stop sign. He's seriously good at blending in. He should be; he knows us—the human race—better than we each know ourselves.

He's harmless. And he hates that rumor that's been going around since before the 16th century B.C. about how vengeful he can be if he's slighted. He doesn't believe in revenge. We are the ones that invented that.

But I don't mean to get all serious and gloomy-doomy. God wouldn't approve of that.

I'll tell you something else God doesn't approve of: blind faith. He likes it even less than atheism. Atheism he doesn't mind, per se, but he does think it's a bit ignorant—and, therefore, disappointing to the guy that made us all come to be. He views atheists as he views the religious fanatics: a bit too sure of themselves, a bit one-sided, a bit too close-minded. If there's one thing I've learned that God really despises, it's close-mindedness.

He actually adores the agnostics, because they, essentially, haven't really closed their minds off to anything. They still leave room for possibility.

But I digress. If God despises close-mindedness, he really hates blind faith. There's a difference, in his eyes—and I tend to agree with him—between thinking so much that we're a bit too sure of ourselves and our views and thinking so little that we just believe for the sake of believing without basing it on anything.

God wants us to think. Yeah, if there's one thing I'd take away from our general conversations over the past weeks, I'd say the Lord really admires us using the brains he gave us. Makes sense, when you think about it.

Now, before I sound like a self-proclaimed expert on God, let me explain whom I really am.

I'm an atheist. Well, I was. But then, as I mentioned earlier, I met God one Tuesday afternoon.

I was walking down the sidewalk, as cliché as it sounds, with my briefcase in one hand and my phone in the other. I just left my pointless cubicle job and headed for the parking garage a couple blocks away. I was about to call my ex-girlfriend and listen to her shout profanities at me and immediately hang up—because we've gone way past the phase where she thinks what I have to say is worth listening to. I was about to attempt, yet again, to get across to her how I've changed and I miss her and I know everything will be fine again if she just gives me the chance to see her.

But, as I was dialing, there was a voice in my head. Not my voice, one I'd never heard before.

"Boo!" it yelled, confident as a child giggly with anticipation of causing serious fright.

It succeeded.

I didn't even think the voice came from inside my own mind at first—why would I think that?—but it caused me to drop my phone anyway. The back of my cheap Samsung flip phone went flying. Into some woman's ankle as she walked by. And she wasn't happy about it.

I thought the homeless guy planted outside the main entrance of the office complex where I work, and whom I just refused to give my spare change to, used to be a ventriloquist and was very skilled at throwing his voice or something. I turned around to glare at him, but he was smiling at the old lady who'd just put actual cash in his Styrofoam cup.

I muttered something meaningless and bent over to pick up the pieces of my phone, my fingers fumbling to mend the piece of technology I rely so heavily on and my own embarrassment. ....

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Listen to a sample of the story...

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Narrated by:

Alex Knox. Knox is a classically trained American actor and graduate of the Yale School of Drama who has narrated and produced audiobooks in a variety of genres. He has performed in the country's top regional theaters, including the Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Alex wrote and performed "No Static at All," a one-man play about finding spiritual enlightenment in the music of Steely Dan. The show has performed to sold-out houses in New York (earning a 5-star review from Time Out magazine), Seattle, and Los Angeles. He has been awarded the Stanley Glenn Award and the Hollywood Fringe Festival "Best Solo Performance." (Site, IMDB)

Editorial Reviews

Readers Favorite 5 Star SealAlmighty: A Short Tale of Omnipotent Proportions is a contemporary inspirational fantasy short story written by Justine Avery. Bradley is an atheist, with a boring job he doesn’t really enjoy and an ex-girlfriend he’s still crazy about. His tight little world gets dumped upside down one day when he starts hearing voices in his head -- well not voices, one voice, and it calls itself God. This is not the hell and brimstone God that Bradley had rejected in favor of enlightened skepticism. This God scared the pants off of him by shouting Boo! at him, several times in fact. When Bradley gets home, he sits down and has a good long chat with his supernatural and somewhat juvenile guest, and it’s quite an illuminating one. Bradley’s life will never be the same again -- and that’s a good thing.

Justine Avery’s contemporary fantasy short story, Almighty: A Short Tale of Omnipotent Proportions, is a humorous and philosophical story about the Divine and one atheist’s interactions with a supreme being. I enjoyed the slant the author put on the nature of God, and especially appreciated the deity’s sense of humor and almost self-deprecating description of itself. Almighty is well-written, and it is certainly one of the more thought-provoking short stories that I’ve come across with religion and the belief in a supreme being at its base. Avery’s fun-loving God is in many ways a lot more palatable and believable than the traditional bearded deity Brad’s God scoffs at as being made up by men. This breezy and disarmingly clever story gives the reader a lot to think about. Almighty: A Short Tale of Omnipotent Proportions is highly recommended.

Almighty is a more thoughtful story ... describing how a workaholic man meets God. It's very funny—'When a staunch atheist is introduced to the Lord Almighty... it's not the end of the world. It's a Tuesday'—God, I loved that.

Reader Reviews

A profoundly thoughtful, metaphysical piece wrapped around a refreshingly delightful, witty and truly engaging story. I loved it!

A workaholic named Bradley Michaels, unhappy and unsatisfied with life, sulking over an ex-girlfriend, hears God in his head one afternoon after work. The kicker: Bradley is an atheist.

Author Justine Avery presents a theological argument in the guise of a simple story about one man's conversion from disbelief to belief. The argument, more or less, is as follows: God exists, but not in the way we understand Him. Avery's Deity pities atheists who limit the idea of possibility, and He has even less patience for those who turn off their thinking caps and blindly believe in Him. "God wants us to think," Bradley narrates early in the story. Believers will be pleased at the forthright claim for God's existence; atheists will see an escape clause in Avery's hint that Bradley, who is otherwise so unhappy, converts himself to a life with a new purpose (God never actually appears, being rather a voice in Bradley's mind).

Naturally, disputatious believers and non-believers alike might find fault with Avery's Deist notion of a supreme being. When Bradley asks about the Bible, God responds, "Boring! Some dudes wrote it, they didn't even know me ..." Avery's God is not "religious", and so religious people, who demand rules for conduct and belief, might find Him insufficient. Atheists have argued for centuries that Deism -- the belief in a Creator who does not intervene in the universe that He created -- renders God pointless, an absentee Landlord who is never available when the plumbing needs fixing. To use the most horrible example: was God in the death-camps? If not, why not? At what point does God accept responsibility and care for His creations? If never, does that not argue against the idea that God is benevolent?

These, however, are old arguments that Avery asks us to set aside. For the most part, she is making her case to atheists. She argues that disbelief is limiting and even unreasonable, implying that Belief and Reason can, must, coexist. Even the most rigorous scientific theories cannot always be utterly proved. More than this, Avery also points toward William James' Pragmatist philosophy, in which the value of any truth depends upon its use to the person who holds it. What use has atheism provided to the heretofore miserable Bradley, who cannot even have a civil conversation with the girlfriend with whom he wants to reconcile? Avery's case is that belief opens possibilities, and that possibilities without begin with acceptance of possibilities within. Similarly: if disbelief limits possibility, codifying belief into sets of Rules does the same.

It is remarkable that Avery demonstrates these ideas in a simply-written story that takes no longer than 15 minutes to read. She avoids pretentious jargon, lengthy and verbose bickering, and stays on point. Her "God" is a genial and chatty Being, often described as "child-like". One is reminded of "Oh God!", the novel by the perhaps cosmically similarly named Avery Corman. You may recall the impish George Burns as God from the movie version directed by Carl Reiner in the Seventies. However, in that story, God (and Corman, presumably) is determined to make a supermarket manager an evangelist in a troubled world; Justine Avery carries no such agenda. She simply asks us to consider a life in which possibility grows with belief, like a flower-bed nourished by water and soil. Whether or not you believe in God before you read "Almighty", that's a positive message than can easily be put to use in whatever way seems best for each individual heart and mind.

5 out of 5.

Knock, Knock...Who's There? God, God Who? Exactly.

Interesting, unexpected and self-truth soothing regardless of what you believe and/or practice. Not a religious piece, and I don't think it was intended to be. A truly closed mind will not "get" the story or appreciate it for the lessons (or ideas if you are more comfortable with that notion) that it gently delivers. The off-beat comedic exchange between the main characters was enjoyable and definitely leaves the reader questioning what a similar conversation in their shoes would look like and what really matters in the big picture. The importance placed on not only believing, but believing the "right" way is so directly challenged but is bridged in just such a way that one isn't even aware it happened until the loose ends are tied up neat and tidy at the end. Perfect literary illustration that life isn't perfect, we all question (or should) and we determine our path. It's a quick read but don't speed through so fast you miss the signs leading you to smile and think all at the same time.

All I could think of was Bruce Almighty! Okay, imagine you are Jim Carrey, and Morgan Freeman as God is in your head. This read was that kind of wonderful ride. I am an emotional ole sort who believes in God and universal energies, goodness, and humanity. Reading this book was a personally moving experience. I laughed, I cried, I reflected, I bought the FARM! As an individual also awakening to the vastness of my personal power and possibilities, the story was a pure joy. Avery's writing was engaging and easy right from the gate. I highly recommend this read for anyone who grapples with limiting and conflicting thoughts about self, God, and the essence of being.

In spiritual pursuit?...

Wow... I am officially blown away by this short novel.. I can't remember the last time I actually was made to think by so few words written. I'm not religious, by no means, but I'm deeply spiritual and the thought process behind this writing seems so I'll tune with my own thoughts, it's remarkable. Thank you so much for writing this and I hope to see more of your writing in the future!

Thought-provoking, funny, and insightful

Part self-help novel, part comedy, and part philosophical discourse, Almighty manages to capture the reader’s attention and forces them to take a good long look at their own preconceived notions of reality.

The premise is simple: what if God just decided to talk to you one day? Not any special day in particular but on a Tuesday in the middle of another boring work week. Such is the case with Bradley, the main character, your averaged middle-aged guy who has nothing going for him and seeks true fulfillment.

As a lifelong atheist Bradley must come to terms with the fact that he is talking to God and the repercussions of such a momentous occasion. Justine Avery provides a poignant look at faith and spirituality in the modern world that keeps the reader’s attention throughout. Worth the time to sit down and read through it: it may be on the short side but its subject matter is far-reaching and profound.

Entertaining, Quick Read

I'd normally shy away from a book like this, worried that the author's purpose in writing it might be to push their beliefs off onto others, but I didn't feel that way when I read this. It's a short, entertaining, fresh look on "the God experience" (i.e. experiencing God for the first time). The two main characters, Bradley and God, both have big personalities that come through on the page well, and the story manages to have a plot despite being almost entirely dialogue between the characters. Even if this isn't the image of a God you believe in, you find yourself laughing along with him and rooting for Bradley to finally believe in something bigger.

This book is a rather nice read. It does not follow the standard christen to believer plot line. That makes it rather interesting to read. The story is an easy read devoid of both spelling and grammar errors. Overall this was a pleasant reading experience.

The opening lines of this short story set the tone: “I picked up my dry cleaning on a Monday. I met God on a Tuesday.” The book is narrated by Bradley, an atheist in a boring cubicle job. To his dismay, he was recently dumped by his girlfriend. Life seems purposeless, except for his desire to win back Jane’s heart. After God pops into his head on a Tuesday, a whimsical banter commences that expands his views on life. Of course, first he makes sure he is not going crazy. Best of all, he gains a freedom and hope for the future.

This isn’t your usual dry religious or preachy spiritual book. Instead, the author uses creative writing to present a unique way of looking at life via conversations between Bradley and God. They cover a lot of territory, including the magic of Santa Claus and living life without baloney. There is humor mixed with thought-provoking questions. Even Bradley’s personal revelations are not stuffy: “Everything changed when I stopped being that guy that just made my own life so darn difficult.” Adult readers will be able to relate to the monotony and angst. However, Bradley’s predicament and conversations would be difficult to understand for children and teens.

The book will unpleasantly challenge the thinking and beliefs of some. Which may be the point of the story. It can be used as a tool to confirm a viewpoint, learn a new one, or just a reminder to lighten up. I gave it three stars due to the lack of depth in his transformation experience. The good details were glossed over as to how he would magically have a better life. Also, because I definitely disagree with some of her concepts about God not being involved in our lives.

A quick entertaining read with a poignant message

A very interesting and thought provoking story that tries to tackle, and in it's own way answer, one of the biggest questions of our existence through a personal and entertaining way.

The story is short and crisp, quick to the point and well written. The dialogue between the main characters is lively, entertaining, and we are for the most part kept invested throughout the entirety of the story.

Normally in a genre like this, you expect a certain amount of proselytizing, and gospel infused "come to Jesus" moments, and that's what I was expecting when first picking up this title, but was pleasantly surprised that this wasn't the case at all. The author did a great job of keeping those elements out of the story, and I believe the story was benefited by that decision. If anything, the character Bradley was himself very open and vocal about his beliefs, and perhaps this skewered the narrative in the other direction at times, purposefully so, by the author.

I don't know the author's religious affiliation, or if the author is atheist themselves, but I wouldn't be surprised if the author was atheist or agnostic, as this may be one of the few things about the author that shows through on the page.

The characters were compelling, and the dynamic between them was fun. I think scenarios between Bradley, God and Jane would have been really great to experience but we don't go there in this tale. The other thing I was kind of hoping for, were moments where God would try and convince Bradley he's real, and that we, as the readers could have seen those scenarios. But, in any case the moments that we do get are great, funny, thought provoking and always good at keeping us turning pages.

It was a very good read and I want to see what else this author has.

A clear cut moral

To be honest, when I first saw the title, I was a little off put thinking the story would just be preaching religion, but it's not. Centered around an atheist, this story has something to be learned by everyone and is not so much about religion or how religion changed someone's life (in fact God probably didn't even needed to be named), it's about freeing yourself from the self imposed rules we put upon ourselves. The clear cut moral and obvious potential of this story is worth a 4 star review. The well thought out dialogue of the story was also note worthy. When I started to feel "Wow he's annoying" then the main character says it when I think "Wow they're talking to much" the main character says it too. I am impressed about how the author drew out these feelings from me. ...

This author is absolutely fantastic! I was not expecting some of the twists here with "GOD". Couldn't put it down!

Avery's conversational humor is refreshing, especially on a topic so sensitive. Avery really makes the reader think and questions the preconceived notions that have been floating around since they were old enough to think. Bradley, the protagonist of the novel, urges, at God's desire, people to think--and that is just what Avery does. Avery creates a compelling and humorous narrative of the childish nature of God--the imaginative, endless, and boundless nature of the Creator. Overall, a nice and short tale spun on the intricate principles of Christianity's God.

Sketpic turned believer

Beginning Almighty, I was a bit skeptical regarding the way in which Avery was going to tie together an atheist hearing from God. Although this topic may be seen by some as a hot-bottom subject to write about, Avery does a wonderful job of tying in religious elements without overpowering the reader into feeling like the short story is pushing them into a certain way of thinking. Aside from being a story that provides a small amount of escape from reality, this story truly makes the reader think about their life. The subtle call towards the end for the reader to contemplate their own life was a fantastic way for Avery to allow the reader to feel a connection with the story. I was pleasantly suprised with this short tale, and will be recommending this to many!

A perfect read when you need a quick pick-me-up. Avery writes “Almighty” with playful wit, keeping the reader perfectly suspended between tackling meta issues of faith and taking delight in energetic and wholly amusing dialogues. She manages to convey both the ambivalent cynicism and passionate optimism experienced by main character Bradley Michaels in a way readers will find relatable.

This is a wonderfully fun and creative piece, and yet still engages with readers in meaningful ways. In a short period of time, Avery develops a fresh take on religion that won’t feel pressured or propagandistic, but empowered and enlightening. God interrupts Michaels’ mundane life to encourage him to practice opening his mind, and in turn, Michaels challenges the reader to think more critically about how we interpret our world, even in non-religious ways. Regardless of religion, this book offers humor and inspiration for everyone.

"Almighty: A Short Tale of Omnipotent Proportions" by Justine Avery is an entertaining short read about an average guy hearing a voice in his head who reveals himself to be god.  The main character, Bradley, an atheist, is annoyed by the almighty's childish joking.  By the end Bradley breaks through his barriers keeping him from his own happiness.  Quick, short read, that kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. The dry humor suited this story well and the author's ability to mix in meaningful themes that prompted me to think while making me laugh out loud at the same time was commendable.

What an interesting story! I came in with skepticism but Avery's ironic matter-of-fact tone made for a fun read and the main character is relatable for any reader. Four stars!

I loved this story. At first I was thinking why would God just talk to anyone. Then, I was thinking that would be awesome. I have to admit I tried talking to him myself to see if this was a true story. No one said anything back. I really enjoyed reading this.

Avery found a new way to bring philosophy and a quick read together seamlessly. I love how she created such a quick start that pulled me in instantly. This book also speaks to those of us who seek to understand the whys and hows of life and relationships. More please!

The dialog in this short story is phenomenal, God and Bradley had a great flow between them. I loved the message of shedding your inhibitions and pre-disposed ideas about life and the universe and just living to your fullest extent. There is so much debate about what makes a person good, or what will ultimately bring you happiness, and there's always this theme of them or me, good or bad, religious or non-religious when life is so much simpler than that. "Almighty" really shows this. There is one quote that really struck me, it was: "Don't ever take another man's word for what's out there and what life's all about." Read this, it's definitely worth it.

This story is an interesting take on what it would be like to have a conversation with God and a really good moral about living life to the fullest and keeping an open mind.

I found myself smiling and even giggling throughout the book. The conversations between an atheist and God were great. There was a part where the Bible was called Boring by God and I actually laughed out loud. The idea of God as he was referred to in this book was very interesting. Life is limitless, anything is possible and God is not there to look after you like your Mother. I loved reading this book and I definitely would recommend it to others.

Almighty: A Short Tale of Omnipotent Proportions is a creative and fantastical short story written by Justine Avery. The main character, Bradley, is an average joe with an average job and a pretty much run-of-the-mill existence. Out of the blue, Bradley starts to hear voices in his head. At this point the story could have taken a lot of different directions.

The voice (not voices, singular, voice) is a juvenile representation of the almighty deity himself. Bradley, an atheist, is shaken to his core with the revelation that the voice yelling, "BOO!" in his head is God.

Justine Avery's short story is full of lighthearted humor, philosophical insight and a begging need to question what the reader believes they believe. The happy-go-lucky interpretation of God as a tongue-in-cheek jokester with the maturity of a seventh grader makes this tale unique and worth the read. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

‘Almighty’ is another thought provoking story. Ms. Avery’s honest open opinion of one man’s candid view of God gives us all pause to stop and rethink of our own beliefs on faith and a higher being. It is a light, contemplating read no matter what your religious views may be. Stories like this always reconfirm my personal faith. Keep an open mind, enjoy a delightful read and access your foundations on religion.

What a powerful book! This book makes you stop and think about what you're doing with your life. Are you living life day by day or living life to the fullest?

I have very religious beliefs and I was able to connect to this book perfectly. The little randomness of humor kept this book lighthearted even though it carried a very important message. I love how the interaction with God took place. It's very realistic and probably how most people would react to hearing a voice in their head.

I thought the author built the story perfectly considering how short the book was. It progressed nicely and at an even pace. The main character was realistic and easy to relate to. God was humorous in his responses and kept the book reading fun.

A very short read that is extremely thought provoking. I'm sure everyone who reads this can take something different away from this book. I think it opens your mind and reminds you to live life to the fullest. You make your life how you want it to be. We control our thoughts and actions. Other people can affect them, but overall we control our own. It's a very interesting concept that some people are shut off to.

This is an excellent read for the price and book length. It got my mind churning and thinking about how I should really be living my life.

Justine Avery really hits a different angle on the concept of "God" in this book. The book is well written and makes you really question if you've done the same thing as the main character, which is box yourself into your own mind. Although it is a short read its brimming with content and emotions. The book really makes you consider the possibilities that lie ahead of you. Great read would definitely recommend it!

This is an amazingly thought provoking little book. It surprised me by how much it made me think about who I am and how I got here. It has a great ending and throughout the book, you will hear Justine’s characteristic descriptive voice. Pick it up today, it may be a life changing event you’ve been wanting.

A thought provoking read presented in a entertaining and delightful story. The things Bradley learns from God show you a different perspective on belief and challenge what this life might really be about. Open your mind to this incredibly well-written story and talented author.

"Almighty" is an eye-opening account with a touch of humor, of one man's encounter with God. The story is written in a casual and open tone, making it a great read for everyone!

This is a fun little story that has a great pace. I laughed out loud several times as I was reading. Bradley "met God on a Tuesday." It's cute and profound at the same time. I really like this story. There were a couple of points that didn't work for me, but those points and the story overall were definitely thought provoking. I won't say any more because it's a short story and I don't want to give anything away!

Justine Avery enlightens with a tale of discovery that flows like a relaxing river. A perplexing read, Avery’s peeling of an existential orange reveals the soft flesh of consciousness and religion.

As with other Avery short stories Almighty is packed with subtle nuances that keep the reader focused and flowing. Highly recommended for anyone searching for meaning in an empty universe.

There's something in every atheist, itching to believe, and something in every believer, itching to doubt. I laughed, I cried. I thought it was a subtle dig at religion, which it isn't. It's just a wonderful story. A conversation with God. On a Tuesday (I should have read it yesterday). It's a story that's funny and poignant.

It really is time to put away any preconceptions about God and finally realise who you truly are.

Bradley, well what can I say, he had his mind well and truly blown and in a good way for a change! I firmly believe this book will leave all readers with something to ponder in the days ahead, come back to me if you don't. Another seriously well written and thought provoking short from this author, once again left wanting more and once again can't wait for the next.

* CIPA EVVY Award for Inspirational Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

* CIPA EVVY Award for Inspirational Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

"The CIPA EVVY Awards is an international book competition sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF), to recognize excellence and achievement in independent publishing."

August 2016