Saturday, December 04, 2021

Novel Excerpt 2.2 -- the Cafeteria

Here's the previous excerpt. And now the new one:


It started Day 1. Brad had a required course called, “Introduction to the Old Testament.” It was right before lunch. Jessica was in there too.

“The teacher blew my mind on the first day,” Brad said as he and Jessica caught up with us at lunch. “I felt so stupid.”

He had my curiosity. I had almost fallen asleep at 7:50 in my only class that morning. Art Appreciation. The professor played some classical piece that she found very moving, but it just reminded me that I had been sleeping less than an hour earlier.

“What if we’re not the y-o-u of the Bible?” Brad continued.

“What?” Matt answered, puzzled.

“What if the Bible wasn’t actually written to us?”

“That’s completely wrong!” Matt blurted out. “The Bible is God’s answer book, God’s Word for all time.”

“Yes, but what if it was really more for someone different than me?”

I was pretty confused, and Matt was beginning to get angry. So Jessica stepped in.

“He’s making a big deal out of nothing,” Jessica said. “The teacher was just pointing out that the books of the Bible were written thousands of years ago for a bunch of ancient people.”

“Yeah, here look,” Brad continued, far more excited than seemed normal to me.

“I open up to Deuteronomy 6. What does it say? ‘Hear O Israel.’ It doesn’t say, ‘Hear, O Brad or Matt.’ It wasn’t written to me.”

“It was written for everyone,” Matt said somewhat emphatically.

Yeah, well it doesn’t say that,” Brad rejoined with a fiendish grin on his face.

“Let’s open to the New Testament, say, Romans 1. What does it say? Read it Matt.” Brad was having too much fun. He leaned clear across the table, his shirt almost dangling into my mashed potatoes. He held his finger on the desired verse. “Read it! What does it say, Matt?”

Now he was just being annoying. Matt reluctantly read it. “To all God’s beloved in Rome.”

“See. ‘In Rome.’ It doesn’t say, ‘To all of you at Ebenezer College.’ It wasn’t written to you, Matt.”

“You’re making a big deal of nothing,” April finally said. “Sure, it was first written to them, but God wrote it so that it would apply to all of us in all times and places.”

“Ah, but is that possible, April?” Brad fired back. It was a little too much for me, for someone to enjoy the subject matter of their class so much. But this would become the norm with Matt and Brad. They really got into ideas, while the rest of us pretty much just watched the show.

“The Bible is timeless, absolute truth,” Matt rejoined the argument. He seemed a little less riled up now that he could see what was going on. “It is for everyone, everywhere, all of it.”

“So when are you going to sell all you have and give to the poor?”

“Where does it say to do that?” Jessica asked.

It's something Jesus said to some rich guy once.” April added.

“Yes, I don’t know where the verse is,” Matt continued, “but the words of the Bible say, ‘Go and sell all you have and give to the poor.’”

“That was something Jesus said to one rich young ruler,” Matt finally answered. “It wasn’t a command to me or everyone.”

“Bingo!” Brad said with a grin from ear to ear. “It wasn’t written to you.”

That even brought a smile to Jessica’s face. “He’s got you, Matt,” she said.

“That’s different,” he finally said dismissively. “That was to one guy, one time.”

“So you admit that not everything in the Bible was written directly to you? It's what I've been saying all along” ...

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