“Do you have any idea how outlandish this whole conversation sounds? I mean, are you listening to the words coming out of your mouth?” Corey paced back and forth.
Ben sat back in his chair with his hands locked behind his head and his feet stretched out in front of him, feet crossed at the ankles - relaxed.
“Which question would you like me to answer first? The one about my ideas regarding the sounds of this conversation, or whether I’m listening to myself talk?”
“Ha-ha. You think you’re so funny. I’m trying to sort out how my best friend could suddenly become a mindless idiot, and you’re making jokes.”
Ben cocked one eyebrow at his buddy and quipped, “Are there idiots who are not mindless?”
Cory let out an explosive blast of air he didn’t realize he’d been holding and threw himself dramatically into the nearest chair. There he rested his elbows on his knees and leaned forward, running his fingers through his hair.
“Let’s go through this again,” he muttered. “I’ve been gone for one year at college and I come back to…this.”
“Hey!” Ben interrupted, “I’ve been at college too. Just because you went across the continent and I stayed here, don’t act like you’ve been doing something better.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way.” Cory put his hands up in placation. “Just tell me something, is it a girl? Is that what’s gotten inside your head?”
Ben leaned forward in his chair and grinned. “You wish it was that simple! You’d just steal her away, break us up and this whole thing would be over, huh?”
“Really? Really?!? That’s what you think of me after all these years? Look, I’m worried about you”
“Okay, I’ll play. You ask one now and I’ll repeat what you say.”
“Ben! Cut it out! I’m being serious here. I come back and you tell me we need to talk. So I come over here expecting some big news like you’re getting married. or you’re joining the army or the circus…or something. And what do I hear instead? You’ve been BORN again? Now you’re, what? A Christian? What am I supposed to think about that?”
“What do you think about it?”
“What do you think I think about it? You’re crazy, that’s what! Look, we used to spend our time in high school making fun of those losers, remember? How they were all ‘pie in the sky’? Now you’re telling me that you’re one of them? That you believe there’s a God? That you believe every word in the Bible is true? Moses parted the Red Sea. Jesus walked on water and healed people. That he was killed and then rose from the dead three days later and then ’ascended’ up into heaven after that. Listen to what I’m saying man! Because this crazy talk coming out of my mouth is what you were just telling me a little bit ago. Do you hear how nuts it sounds?”
“Yep. Totally. I hear it.”
Cory let out a sigh of relief and sat back in his chair. Slowly he pushed his hair back off his forehead and grinned. “So, you were just messing with me, right?”
Cory’s grin vanished again like a blown light bulb.
“Look”, Ben said, “I’m not denying how it all sounds. It’s crazy, I know. But what can I say? Jesus is one crazy dude. The man never worried about what people would believe or what they would say. He was radical.”
Cory winced at the word. “Ben, nobody says ‘radical’ anymore.”
“Not radical as in ‘totally radical, duuude’” Ben answered in his best ‘Surfer Dude’ voice. “Radical as in outside the box. He was, to use your word of the day, 'outlandish'. At least his behavior was. He turned over the money changers’ tables in the temple. He hung out with undesirables. He upset the establishment.”
“All reasons to admire the man,” Cory interrupted, “not reasons to believe he’s God.”
“See there you go, trying to inject reason into this thing. This is not about reason, Cory. Jesus didn’t come to reason with us. He came to save us. Simple as that. You can accept it or reject it. What you can’t do is reason with it.”
“Why are you telling me all this?”
“Because you’re my best friend, man. And if you go to hell I want it to be because you’re stupid - not because you’re ignorant.”
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