“Mr latecomer, as usual, you don’t disappoint” he said waving. I stood up straight from my crouching position, stretched my back and waved back politely. I wondered again why I had chosen to return to school for a master’s degree after so long (12 years after my bachelors) and even stranger, why I had chosen this elective in theology which had nothing to do with my course of study. The truth is that I was “searching”. After recent events in my life.
I had tried to sneak into the class, but I think by now, he had made up his mind to always look out for my less than dignified entrances to his class. I don’t know why I still bother.
A hundred pairs of eyes turned my way, and as it has come to be expected, I smile and waved at the class. To which there was a corresponding wave back.
“So as I was saying, sometimes we have to bend for peace.”
We do it everyday. If done right, no one comes away feeling exploited or disgruntled or chafing at the bits, itching for revenge. It’s all a matter of degrees and extent. If you take it too far, it becomes a compromise. Compromises are in no way negative. Depending again on the degree. You can come off looking like a wuss or a peacemaker. It all depends. Back in the early days of Christianity, our forerunners compromised. Rather than fight the push-back from the pagan Romans for example, they found it easier around 4 C.E., to incorporate some of their festivities into our own. December 25th was no where even close to when Jesus was born, which was probably during the summer or maybe closer to the middle of the year if you go by that most Roman of devices – the Julian calendar. Given to us in self worship by the Roman emperor Julius Caesar. December 25th was the concluding day of the Roman week long celebration of depravity. That was known as the Saturnalia. Unfortunately that didn’t quite work out as planned. We held on to the last day though and to all intent and purposes there’s no link to the Roman’s pagan celebration anymore. The only point here that the JW got right is the origin of the date. I have nothing against them. In fact if not for a couple of other believes or non-believes of theirs, I would probably be a card-carrying member. But that is a subject for another class. Where I disagree with them on that issue is that the celebration is now symbolic and should be taken as such. It’s better to remember a monumental event on a supposedly wrong day if it contributes positively to the spread of the gospel of Christ than not at all. After all, it is not the day that matters but the event. We shall leave that there so we don’t digress too much.”
“The evolutionists would have us believe we all originated from some primordial soup, then via the sea and unto land. And then some creatures such as certain turtles and mammalian sea dwellers for example, thought better of it and returned to the water.”
“Does anyone have a bible? “ all eyes swiveled round the room. There were no takers.
“I didn’t expect to find one. But no issues. technology never ceases to amaze right? Here in the palm of my hands, I have a smart phone with several versions of the bible in it. something that used to be the prerogatives of only the few way back in history, when only kings and clergy could have it without been burnt at the stake for heresy. When it took years to make a copy. Hmmn.”
“So I intend to support the creationist for once. Not all the way, mind you.”
“In Genesis, if you follow the sequence by which all things were made, the sea was populated first, then followed by the land, then finally people – you and I, and all those living and dead. Here, let me read a few verses.”
He read several verses from the first chapter of Genesis.
“So you see, even if we do not agree that things crawled out of the sea and became land animals, we can agree that sea creatures came before land creatures.
Of course another major area we diverge is in how long the earth and all that’s therein have been around. But again that’s additional bullsh*t for another class. Excuse my French.”
There was some low laughter in the hall.
“So we bend a little to accommodate our learned colleagues. If hopefully by doing so, we may bring them to the knowledge of Christ and the acceptance of creationism or vice versa”
Some laughter in the hall.
“I appreciate your lightheartedness but of course you know this is serious business.
To be realistic, that amount of bending doesn’t do anything for our colleagues. But as we are not wusses, we will bend but not break.”
“And if it comes down to the wire, we will go by that age old saying, “to your tents, O Israel!”
And in case that’s not clear, it means we won’t compromise on the core tenets of our believes”
“And there goes the bell! See you next class. If your busy partying schedule allows it, slot a quick look at Genesis chapter one in there, would you? Mr Latecomer, kindly stay behind for a minute or two. Thank you. And happy shopping on Black Friday but avoid the crush if you can! Don’t read anything extra into the name. Be grateful for the opportunity to give thanks in good health on thanksgiving.”
I walked down the aisle to the front of the room where he was putting away his notes and books into his bag. I didn’t know what to expect.
“Ah. Mr Latecomer. I still have hopes of you. You and I are on a journey as long as this class is in session. The journey may be only a a few months long, but we shall make it interesting. I have three questions for you sir”
I raised an eyebrow slightly.
“Do you think we can compel God?”
“No.” I said.
“Do you think God rules in the affairs of men?”
“Yes” I responded.
“Do you believe in destiny?”
“Ah. Be careful how you answer. I think you may have contemplated the first two questions before, but that last one I think you answered a little too glibly. Think on it a little sir. And we shall return to it – say – after the next class.”
And with that he was gone before I could say another word.
I stood there alone in that classroom. Looking up at the seats that made up the amphitheater.
I had the strange feeling he knew more about me than he was letting on and that my “search” wasn’t going to end easily or anytime soon.
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