David Dyson, the main protagonist of Yesterday’s Savior, is a devout priest in the Church of the Second Coming. As the narrative progresses, he starts to doubt the very foundation upon which his organization has been built, but at the beginning, he blindly and naively believes everything the Church tells him. His new position as Keeper of the Holy Archives in New York City starts well enough, apart from a spot of difficulty with his boss, Cardinal Goodfellowe.
Below is a radio interview with Dyson which took place shortly after he took up his new position.
Radio interview with Dr. David Dyson, 3rd September 2073
Today on TALK RADIO NYC we have as our guest Doctor David Dyson, a priest of the Holy Church of the Second Coming of the Lamb of God. Unlike household names here in the U.S. such as Cardinal di Galassini and Cardinal Goodfellowe, Dr. Dyson is as yet unknown to the general public, and has indeed only recently arrived in this country. Dr. Dyson, …
Please, call me David.
Thank you. David, you’ve just been appointed Keeper of the Archives here in New York City. I’ve spoken to quite a few Church insiders, and many of them say they’re surprised that such a young man was given a post as important as this one. How would you respond to that?
Oh dear, you’re starting with a difficult one, aren’t you? Well, on the one hand, I could say that I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am today. On the other hand, though, I must admit I’ve also been very lucky. I’ve always had the best teachers at the Church schools I attended, and I was encouraged at a very early age by my parents, who always supported me in everything I did. Of course, it came as a surprise to me, too, that I was chosen for the post, but I have faith in my superiors in the Church. I’m sure they had their reasons for choosing me.
You’ve been here in New York for a few weeks now. What were your first impressions of the city?
Well, to be honest I was a little overwhelmed by it all at first. I mean, it was amazing to see all the famous buildings and places I’d only seen on television before. But it’s so crowded here! As you might know, I commute between my flat – sorry, my apartment – in Brooklyn and my office in Manhattan every day, and it took me a while to get used to so many people everywhere I go. I think I can cope much better now, though. After a few weeks you don’t notice it so much.
You can probably imagine we don’t often have an opportunity to interview such an important Churchman, so I’m sure our listeners would love to get to know something about the man behind the collar. You know, what makes you tick. Tell me then, David, if you could forget your important work for a couple of weeks and had no responsibilities at all, how would you enjoy yourself?
Oh, that’s an easy one! I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of the U.S. Up until a few weeks ago, I’d never set foot in America, and since I’ve been here, I’ve not left New York. There are so many places I’d love to see.
Could you name a few for us?
Actually, New York City was always top of my list, but after that, there’s San Francisco, Washington D.C., the Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes, the Everglades … the list goes on.
Hmm, looks like you’ll have a busy schedule when you get your first vacation! OK, David, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get a little more personal. Obviously, as a priest, you believe in God. But do you think God believes in you?
Er, well, yes actually, I do. After all, I am doing what I believe is the Lord’s work at the Church Archives. And He knows I am devoted to the Lamb, who has been appearing to us for decades now with his silent message of peace.
(Interviewer laughs) Well, I guess that answer was to be expected. Alright then, suppose you could spend the day with someone you admire – living or dead – but NOT the Lamb: who would it be?
Hmm, let me think about that for a second. There are so many people I admire, including my parents, but I think your listeners would like to hear something a little more interesting than that. OK, then I’d have to say Stephen Hawking.
Oh, the famous astronomer? Why him?
Well, he was a true visionary. He overcame his physical disability to send his mind to places few other people could imagine. He was dedicated to his work, which was discovering the truth behind the workings of the universe.
Kind of like yourself then?
Oh, no, no! Of course I do what I can to make my contribution to humanity by piecing together the great puzzles of the past, but I would never presume to put myself on the same level as Hawking. He was a genius.
So what would you talk to him about?
Well, not many people know this about me, but ever since I was a child, I’ve been sort of a hobby astronomer. As such, I’ve read all the popular books Hawking wrote, but I’d love to discuss his theories with him. Even today, sixty years later, there are still some things we don’t fully understand, like gravitational waves and quantum entanglement, for example. I think it would be amazing to discuss things like that with him.
Way over my head, I’m sure! Now, as I mentioned, it’s not often we have the opportunity to interview a priest of the Church of the Second Coming, so some of the standard questions we ask on this program might sound a little inappropriate, or at least weird. Let’s just see how it goes, shall we? What are you most afraid of?
I suppose you’re expecting me to say, ‘Oh, I’m not afraid of anything because I believe God will protect me’. But it’s not like that, you know. The priests of the Church, as well as the bishops, the cardinals, and, I daresay, the Arch-Cardinal himself are afraid of something. We are only human, after all. In my case, it’s failure.
Yes, I don’t know why that should surprise you.
But you’ve already achieved more than most people could even dream of! Your academic career alone has been phenomenal, and then your position as Keeper of the Archives – at your age!
Of course. But now imagine the high expectations people have of me. Imagine the money, time and effort people have invested in my education. And, as you say, there’s my job, which many people seem to think I didn’t deserve to get. If I fail, so many people will be bitterly disappointed that I feel a tremendous pressure to succeed.
Well, when you put it like that, I guess it’s understandable. To continue with another rather personal question: What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life?
Uh, this is going to sound terrible. You see, I’ve been truly blessed with a practically perfect life up to now. When I hear of the awful things that happen to other people, I’m often rather embarrassed about the good luck I’ve always had in my life.
But surely there’s something where you’d say, ‘Oh, that was bad!’
OK, when I was an undergraduate student, I went on holiday to mainland Europe. When I was there, I met a girl. This was before I became a priest, of course. I vividly remember purposely turning off my phone so that I couldn’t be reached by anybody back home. I spent a wonderful two weeks with the girl, whose name I have now forgotten, I’m afraid to say. Well, two weeks later I returned to England and phoned my parents to let them know what a great time I’d had. I then learned that while I’d been away, my grandad had died of a heart attack and had been buried two days before my return. I felt thoroughly awful. I’d loved my grandad and was totally ashamed of my selfishness.
Oh, that really is terrible. OK, let’s move away from the past and look into the future now. The very distant future, hopefully. What would you like to be written on your gravestone?
It’s funny you should ask that. We used to play a game at the seminary where we asked each other odd questions like that and we only had twenty seconds to come up with an answer. I’ll just give you the answer I gave back then when I got the very same question: ‘David Dyson – A Good Man’.
That’s a very humble tombstone for such an accomplished man.
But that’s all I need people to know about me when I’m gone. After all, my work is based on the work of others who came before me. And when I retire one day, someone else will continue my work. So what higher tribute can be paid to someone than, ‘A Good Man’?
I’m sure we can all learn something from that, David. My next question is: What do you like most about yourself?
Er, what? What I like about myself?
Yes! There’s no right or wrong answer. It could be a physical feature like your wonderfully chiseled facial features. (Interviewer laughs) Yes, ladies, he’s very handsome! Or perhaps it’s a particularly marked characteristic.
Oh, my! How can I possibly respond to such a question without sounding like I’m singing my own praises?
Surely there’s something you can say. Perhaps you could say it in such a way that it conforms to the teachings of the Church?
Ah, I see! Well, I do pride myself on always trying to see the good in people, no matter what others might say about them.
Oh, now that’s a perfect introduction to my next question! Your immediate superior at the Archives building is Cardinal Goodfellowe. Now, don’t get me wrong, David, I certainly do not intend to imply anything at all negative about the cardinal, but it is well known that he is, erm, a rather exacting boss. So my question would be: Do you see the good in him, too?
(Several seconds of silence)
Well, erm… As you know, erm… I’ve only been at the Archives for a few weeks now, and in that time I’ve only had dealings with Cardinal Goodfellowe one single time when we introduced ourselves to each other. So, you know, I can’t really say anything about him. But I’m sure he’s a fine man and he’s definitely a stalwart of the Church.
One last question, David. How do you feel about your life right now? Is there anything you’d change?
Oh, I’m more than happy to answer that one. To be perfectly honest with you, there’s absolutely nothing at all I would change about my life right now. I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I have loving parents, good friends in my old home, new friends in my new home. I have a job where I can serve the Church that nurtured me and give something back for all they’ve done for me. Basically, I’m doing the job of my dreams. It simply doesn’t get any better than this.
Well, that’s all we have time for right now. Dr. David Dyson, thank you very much for coming in to the studio today, and the best of luck in your new position.