Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: MIX (10/22/15)
- TITLE: Goings-On at Oxford
By Jenna Fowls
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Now of course knocks on his door were a regular occurrence. Sometimes they came as the light, crisp raps of his secretary delivering messages or bringing tea. Other times a sloppy, timid knock would announce a student or two, hoping for a kind, intelligent answer to their seemingly endless questions. Still other times, the solid, cheerful knock of a colleague would visit the door, which would often open before proper consent was given.
But this knock was different. It fell slowly in heavy, solemn blows. Whoever was behind the door had some serious business in mind.
Keen on looking like a professional, Florey quickly took a moment to push his wayward desk papers into a pile and adjust his wiry glasses.
Then sitting tall in his chair with his hands folded and resting on the desk, he beckoned-
The door creaked open and a man dressed in black from his hat to his shoes made his way in and offered his greetings.
“Good afternoon, Sir. I am Father William Roseby. I’m glad to have caught you at such a late hour.”
For some reason, the word ‘caught’ brought to Florey’s mind a sinister image of a fly struggling against a web. Nevertheless he smiled and gestured for the clergyman to sit down.
“I’ll get straight to the point, if you don’t mind,” Father Roseby said as he removed his hat and made himself comfortable.
“As you know, the Archbishop recently completed his tour of the area. Whilst on his travels he was surprised to come across some strange rumors concerning certain “goings-on” here at Oxford. I was sent on his behalf to investigate and I was hoping you would assist me.”
Clearing his throat, Father Roseby forged ahead. “You see, the rumors speak of a laboratory located in this very university which is attempting to, dare I say it…
Florey smothered a chuckle. He knew where this was going, and in all honesty he had been expecting a confrontation like this for some time.
Without skipping a beat he replied.
“The laboratory in question is in fact being occupied by myself, my team and our experiments. I’m not sure what the rumors suggest, but it is true that my team and I are attempting to grow, in quantity, a microorganism which has been found to demonstrate properties of an antibacterial nature. Once harvested and properly administered, we believe this new…medicine, if you will, has the potential to save countless lives both in our near future and beyond.
“I can assure you, Father, that our goal is to help humanity, not, as you say, to ‘replace God.’”
Father Roseby immediately countered. “There is no question as to the goodness of your intentions, of course. But can’t you see that it is only God Who holds the power of life and death in His hands. To create something that may extend a person’s life when God has willed their earthly departure is going against His sovereign authority! Is that what you wish to do? Push God off His throne and sit in it yourself?”
“My dear Father Roseby,” Florey smartly replied. “If God could be so easily usurped by a mere man then he doesn’t deserve to be called ‘God.’”
“Blasphemy,” the shocked priest whispered.
“Now,” began Florey again, taking advantage of the stunned clergyman’s silence. “Is it not true that one mission of the Church is to save lives. Is that not why you feed and clothe the poor rather than leave them to starve and freeze on the street?
“What difference does it make how it gets done? You contribute to humanity from your donation boxes, while I contribute with scientific…”
“There is a difference,” interjected Father Roseby standing up and jamming his hat onto his head. “The church seeks to work with God, while science seeks to by-pass Him altogether.
“Water and oil, Mr. Florey. Science and religion do not belong together! Why, clearly its respective representatives cannot even sit in a room for 10 minutes without repelling each other away!
“It’s clear I have been wasting my time. Good day, Mr. Florey, and God help you!”
The slamming door pronounced the distraught priest’s departure, and as his footsteps faded down the hallway, Howard Florey amusingly thought to himself, “Well, he’ll be back, although it remains to be seen whether the door shall be opened for his knock.”
*Author's note: While Sir Howard Florey is a true historical figure and did receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his shared work in the development of penicillin, the incident narrated above is purely fictional. All language, mannerisms, and responses of the characters are a product of the author's imagination only and are not in any way meant to portray an actual account or a true likeness of Sir Howard Florey.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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