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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)

TITLE: Nina Harding: Inspiring Young Men to Excel
By Gilbert Backers


Nina Harding was talking in a room filled with young black and Latino men. She wore a skirted, pinstripe, gray business suite with a white shirt and a puffy royal blue bow tie that accentuated her radiant blue eyes. Her gray shoulder length hair gave away her age, early 50’s. The thin rimmed glasses she wore that day added to her aura as a brilliant physicist. The suit jacket and skirt followed the shape of her wide, curvaceous hips and her full lower body. The suit jacket needed no shoulder pads as Nina was an athlete in her college days. When the world renowned physicist took off her jacket in response to the summer heat, all the young men sitting in the room took notice. She walked to the writing board at the front of the room.

“You’ve all graduated from high school. Do any of you want to flip burgers for the rest of your life?” asked Nina, writing a few equations on the board. “With a college degree, you can use your mind, reach your potential.”

“It don’t matter,” said Rasheed, one of the black men. “You still end up working for the white man.” Most of the young men started agreeing and gesturing towards Tom who was sitting with Theodore at the side of the room. Tom frowned in offense at their actions.

Nina turned her head to look at the group sideways and said with a mischievous grin, “Or working for the white woman.”

The murmuring stopped.

“If you’re not careful,” said Nina as she turned her body around, slowly, like a cat focusing on prey. “The white woman might even marry you. Isn’t that right, Theo darling?”

Several of their mouths dropped as they looked at Nina’s figure, amazing for any age.

“She’s right you know,” said Theodore. “Higher educational institutions are crawling with white women. Then many go on to be quite successful in their careers.”

“And if you are a handsome, muscular black man,” said Nina as she looked up and down Theodore’s body. “A white woman ten years older, will pounce on you like a tigress.”

“So, Rasheed has a point,” said Theodore with mock despair. “If any of you get an advanced degree in Computer Science, you could end up like me.”

Theodore held up his ring hand and so did Nina. They looked into each other’s eyes across the room and everyone could see they loved each other. They had been married for seven years and still had a fire, an electricity, between them.

“If any of you decide to start this treacherous educational path,” said Nina, with a smile, “the bus will leave your church every Saturday at 10 AM to bring you here to our church’s learning annex where I’ll teach calculus and linear algebra while Theo teaches computer programming. We’ll supply lunch and also a boxed dinner for you to take home after classes.”

Most of the young men in the room started filling out registration forms for the free college prep seminars.

Looking out the window, Theodore said, “Speaking of lunch, today’s has arrived. Tom, would you help me take the food into the dining room?”

Tom turned to Theodore when they left the room. “Why did they all of a sudden want to come to the college prep seminars? They didn’t seem interested in my bible classes I told them about earlier. They’re also at our church.”

“Tom, you are so clueless you worry me,” said Theodore. “First, you talk about all of us being brothers and sisters in Christ as though God is poking you with a stick. Nina, well, she just sees people who need a helping hand to get on the right track. Second, she married me, which is far more convincing than that cold speech about how racial reconciliation will strengthen the Kingdom of God. Did you practice that speech at your country club that has neither black nor Latino members?”

“I did,” said Tom.

“It shows,” said Theodore.

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This article has been read 430 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/21/09
I teach young men with very little to inspire them in their lives, so I appreciate this.

It may be a bit weak on the topic for this week, and the ending seemed to fizzle off just a bit.

I hope there are actual programs like this!
Gregory Kane03/23/09
What I liked about this was the way it plays with some of the golden cows of racist language and attitude.
Anne Linington03/25/09
I too liked the positive expression of kingdom values, though the topic was hard to detect.
TJ Nickel03/26/09
Good entry. I felt the ending tried to pack a punch to close the deal but it just didn't work for me. That aside, there is a great deal in the body of this piece that shows a voice behind the page very capable of engaging readers.