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A Narrative on the Issue of Higher Criticism
by Michael Barro
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Arnold and the Basketball Ring…
Michael P. Barro

{55:8} For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither
[are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. {55:9} For [as]
the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher
than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah, KJV

He was quite an attractive guy, a star player in the basketball team, and also one of the smartest in his class—a perfect combination to a flamboyant personality. And that’s exactly what Arnold has become, a mimic of James Bond looks and sleek talks. And whenever given the opportunity he would seduce girls who had fallen to his charms.

One time, in the boys’ locker room, while the team was cleaning up talks got foul again, as usual, and revolved around Arnold’s latest exploits during the party the night before. One friend of his, also one of the most sensible among the peers—Tim, inquired from him, “Hey Arnold, just want to know something from you, have you felt any weird feeling after you’ve seduced those girls?” Of which Arnold was so poised in his reply, “You mean feel guilty or something.” And Tim joked, “I used the word ‘weird’ because I thought guilt might be alien to you.” And it elicited a roar of laughter from all the other guys, Arnold then, as his slick talk once possessed him like a devil would, responded, “Tim, I don’t have anything to be guilty of, I only gave those girls the time of their life. Also, I even saved them from what Sigmund Freud has stated in his theory of Neurosis, it goes to say that if you don’t let go of your sensual inhibitions and remain entrapped by society’s conservative, or should I say, Victorian Ethics—well, your horny side will get the better of you, and you will end up becoming needy, possessive, extremely jealous and worst of all, emotionally insecure and incapacitated of a normal un-neurotic life. That’s how benevolent I am.” And a thunder of laughter filled the room again. Tim retaliated—“Well, what about those ideas that I know you consider to be religious dogmas, like, you know, terms like chastity and decency.” And the James Bond wannabe just laughed in response, “God knows I’m just following my own convictions and I know he’s happy for that. He gave us all minds for us to use, and that’s what I did that’s why I’m this benevolent. God doesn’t really care anymore about those dogma, we’ve already arrived at an age of liberation and emancipation. God is submissive to our resolution. So I suggest you too should let go of your inhibitions.” The answer was such a teasing finale to stunned Tim.

But their religious coach, Allen Scott, was just standing at the door unnoticed, but listening to the entire conversation. He too was smart and witty, and now, Arnold must meet his match.

After the afternoon’s practice, Coach Allen called Arnold from the group and said they need to have extra practice on his jump shots. All the rest left while Arnold remained in the court, he was aghast. “Coach, my jump shots are just the same as everyone else’s on the team. To think, my average shooting ratio is already five of seven, that’s enough to qualify to the team, right?”—Arnold blurted out. Coach Allen only got firmer, “But not enough to win every game son. Now give me twenty consecutive shots, all in!” Arnold was stunned. He wanted to complain but the look on Coach Allen’s face only compelled him to abide. Arnold tried with all his concentration but finally on the eleventh try he missed. But instead of complaining he just thought, “Coach, please don’t tell me not to stop ‘til I’ve finally done it.”

Coach Allen took him aside for a talk. “You know, Arnold, it wasn’t really your fault that you were not able to complete all twenty perfect shots in a row. There’s something wrong with that basketball ring stand, it just won’t move toward the ball.” Arnold was shocked, and then finally answered, “You know coach you get stranger by the second. We both know the stand doesn’t have the obligation, the duty, or the responsibility or whatever you may call it, to move toward the ball, and we’d be stupid if we expect it to. It’s my job to adjust my movements toward it.” Coach was impressed with the kid’s wise response. Finally, it was his turn to throw his own punch lines, and this time, the joke is on James Bond. “You know Arnold, this morning I heard you talk about your religious convictions and your views regarding premarital sex. It just seems funny; in basketball you know who should stay firm and who should concede to whose will. But in terms of moral standards, you black out. You lose that same insight. I’m not telling you this to force on you my own standards. I’m just hoping that I’m able to share with you something you’re still quite unacquainted with, yet. I also hope after this conversation, you’d be able to act differently with your emancipation. All I know is that God doesn’t really concede the way you think and hope he does. If he does, well…I guess we can all expect this basketball ring stand to follow through your shots. Tomorrow’s practice starts as usual. I’ll see you then. Coach left leaving Arnold stunned.

Please e-mail me michael_barro@hotmail.com as I am not able to upgrade my account to read private messages. thank you!

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