Jean-Paul and I were sitting in the lobby of our dorm trying to figure out what to do with the weekend. It was Saturday night, and we’d spent most of the day practicing for Old man Wasserman’s Intro to Speedbathing class. I was better at following the formula we’d been shown, but Jean-Paul was faster at each individual task. The result was that I was faster, but just barely. If he could ever just make himself follow the five-point technique, he would be impossible to beat.
“What do you think of that Katie chick?” he asked.
“Katie from class?”
“Yeah. O’Neil. O’Ryan. Whatever,” he said.
“O’Reilly,” I said.
“Yeah, her,” he said.
“I think she would go out with you if you asked her. I don’t think she has a boyfriend.”
“She’s always looking at you,” he said.
“I don’t get that impression,” I said. “I think she is always looking at you.”
At that point we were joined by four members of the Campus Crusade for Christ. “We saw you sitting here and wondered if we could have a word with you.”
“I’m glad you’re here,” said Jean-Paul. “My friend is a chronic masturbator.”
“I am not,” I said to them.
“Denial,” said Jean-Paul. “The first sign.”
“I am not in denial,” I said.
“See? He denies it every time,” he said.
“Have you never denied anything,” I asked Jean-Paul.
“I have never been in denial,” he said.
“Sounds like denial,” I said. I looked at the main Campus Crusader. “Can I call you Brad?”
“My name is Clint,” he said, and extended his hand.
“Brad, if you don’t mind my asking, how long have you been an atheist?” I asked.
“I’m NOT an atheist,” he said. “I believe on the cross of Jesus Christ! And my name is Clint.”
“Brad,” said Jean-Paul, “Have you ever thought about what will happen to your eternal soul when you die and face God?”
“He doesn’t like atheists,” I cautioned.
“He will see that my name is written in the book of life! Because Jesus Christ–” said Clint.
“No, Brad,” I said. “It isn’t. I can see in your heart, Brad. And I see that you are struggling. You want to accept Jesus, but something is holding you back. What is it, Brad? What’s holding you back?”
“Brad,” said Jean-Paul. “We can see how lost you are.”
“Can we pray for you?” I asked.
“I’m not lost,” he said.
Jean-Paul said, “Brad, sometimes the devil tricks you into thinking that you are right with Jesus when you are not. That is clearly the case here.”
“Clearly,” I said. “We’ve seen it before.”
“Many times,” Jean-Paul added.
“I’m not lost!” he shouted.
“It’s okay, Brad, let it all out!” I said.
“His name is CLINT,” one of his friends said.
“Denial! The first sign!” we shouted in unison.
“Change before it is too late!” I called out to him.
“You’re headed to hell, Brad, but you can still turn it around!”
“He’s in denial,” I said.
“Denial! Denial!” shouted Jean-Paul.
They eventually left, and Jean-Paul turned to me. “Anyway, I think Katie is kind of into you,” he said.
I sat back and smiled. Not only was I doing well in my classes, a pretty girl might like me, and the Campus Crusade for Christ had heard my message loud and clear: try to save me and prepare to be confused.