Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PRIDE (inflated opinion of one’s self) (02/19/15)
TITLE: The Master Of His Fate
By JK Stenger
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“Is Mr. Pasqualini here?” I turned to the waiter for help. “You know him?”
“Ah, Mr Pasqualini.” He smiled broadly. “Come, follow me.”
He led the way along a busy corridor and guided me to the back of the restaurant. He stopped in front of a small table. A burly fellow in a black suit, with a shiny moustache that curled at both ends, was sipping Scotch.
The waiter gestured me to the table.
Pasqualini looked up and wrinkled his nose.
“You must be Joe…the Christian.” He didn’t get up but simply motioned for me to sit down.
Here I was face to face with Geraldo Pasqualini, the director of Atheists For Eternity or AFE, in short. Since I had written a book in defense of the Christian Faith, he had wanted to discuss some matters.
“Scotch?” he offered.
“Thanks. It’s a bit early. Tomato juice will be fine.”
Pasqualini raised an eyebrow. “A religious thing?”
I shook my head. “No, of course not. I just don’t care for it.”
Pasqualini narrowed his eyes and a little smile appeared on his face. This guy was dark indeed.
“I invited you…,” he began, “as a gesture of goodwill. I read your book and, believe it or not, we atheists are very kind-hearted folks, and I, like Christ, believe in loving the enemy.”
“I don’t see atheists as the enemy Sir.”
Pasqualini smirked. “O, Yes you do. In your book, you talked about...the arrogance of unbelief. I quote, “The wicked- that’s me- are chained about with pride.” He folded his arms across his chest and stared at me.
“By the way I ordered roasted lamb. You do eat lamb don’t you? He laughed loudly. It sounded hollow.
I felt my face getting warm.
Lord, help me to be a good example to this man.
“I was merely quoting a Bible verse to stress the need for us Christians to understand atheists, otherwise we can’t really help them. The verse I quoted was from the Book of Psalms. (1)
The waiter returned and with an elegant motion placed the tomato juice in front of me. Pasqualini ordered another Scotch and glared.
“Why in the world do you think that atheists, would ever need your help? You talk about arrogance but do you any idea how arrogant your statement about helping me really is?
His nostrils flared as he downed the last of his Scotch.
Help me, Lord, to love this man.
Pasqualini continued his tirade. “You know, I have a degree in logical negativism, I have a Ph.D. and your book…well, it sucks.”
“I am sorry you think so. The reason I wrote about helping atheists is because I am concerned about atheists. Inside you are no different than anyone else. It’s just your worldview that’s different. But you have the same fears and longings as everybody else...” Pasqualini rudely cut me off and started to breath heavily.
“No! no! no! You Christians always bring up that soft, mellow emotional baby stuff.”
He raised his voice now and made quite a stir. Then he roared,
with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
My head is bloodied, but unbowed. (2)
While he said it he waved his arms in the air and knocked down the Scotch that the waiter was bringing in. The glass shattered on the stone floor.
“Idiot,” Pasqualini mumbled. He abruptly stood up, threw his napkin in my direction and fumed, “I’ve seen enough. How I hate Christians and their God.”
My mouth fell open as he stomped off.
“Was that the famous atheist, Geraldo Pasqualini?’ the waiter asked. “I didn’t like him.”
I felt tired and simply said, “We really need to pray for him. He needs help.”
“I think he does, Sir,” said the waiter. “But if I may ask, Sir, how does one pray?”
I looked at him. He appeared so innocent. A comfortable warmth flushed over my face. Maybe this evening wasn’t entirely lost.
“When’s your shift over?” I asked.
“Soon,” he smiled. “But first there’s your roasted lamb, Sir. It’s ready.
1.Psalm 73:6 KJV
2. From Invictus. A poem by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)
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