The table roared with laughter as everyone took his turn mimicking the best quotes from Chris Pratt in his latest movie, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” John chuckled with a slight smile and the occasional nod of the head. He thought Chris Pratt was cool, and he really admired that he was a Christian and not afraid to speak out about it. He enjoyed listening to the quotes, but he actually hadn’t seen the movie.
He cringed when the conversation turned to the hotness of Bryce Dallas Howard. It started with her outfit, and before long everyone was discussing all the sexual things they would do to her. John sat there and tried to avoid eye contact, but he knew it was only a matter of time before it would be his turn, and he would be expected to display his manhood in how he would handle Bryce Dallas Howard in the back of a Jurassic park jeep.
He was always conflicted in these moments. Joining in wasn’t an option, especially if he was to be taken serious about his Christian faith. He thought about faking a phone call, but everyone would be suspicious on how conveniently an important call came in just as the sexual idiocy began. They would, for sure, ridicule him behind his back. Not that this was a bad option; after all, Jesus was ridiculed and said nothing. But, John thought, if you run away from every conversation then you’ll probably spend your whole life running. At some point you have to set boundaries and stand up for what you believe in.
John glanced down where his red S1tK bracelet hugged his wrist. He wanted red because it reminded him of the blood that Christ shed for him. As he sat there imagining the ridicule and brutality of the whips tearing into Jesus’ flesh, he was encouraged. If Christ was willing to endure that for him, then he was willing to endure whatever ridicule that would result from him leaving. He leaned down to grab his backpack, and felt a slap on the shoulder from Keith, one of his fellow classmates from math.
Keith was older by a year because he flunked out of his junior year, and despite that, everyone looked up to him as an older figure. He was tall, had beach biceps, and some scruff on his face.
“So, what do you do John?” Keith inquired. “Bryce is all yours and she’ll do anything. What do you do?”
Keith was all smiles, as if John’s answer possessed the power to justify all mankind. John’s eyes shifted upwards.
“Sorry,” John replied. “I was actually thinking about the MTV movie awards and Chris Pratt’s ‘God is real’ speech. Did you guys catch that?”
Smiles immediately turned to closed lips of contemplation. John completely threw them off guard and could see the complete 180 as the sensory neurons in their brains forced through images of Bryce Dallas Howard to recall the MTV movie awards.
“Yeah, that was actually a pretty cool speech, and quite hilarious,” Charles, another fellow math student, said. “Took a lot of guts, and he had some pretty good life advice.”
One-by-one others chimed in giving affirmation to Charles’s comment, while others admitted they hadn’t seen his speech. John seized this opportunity to go over the “nine rules from Chris Pratt”:
- “Breathe – if you don’t you’ll suffocate.”
- “You have a soul; be careful with it.”
- “Don’t be a turd. If you’re strong be a protector, and if you’re smart be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons and do not wield them against the weak. That makes you a bully. Be bigger than that.”
- “When giving a dog medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger and they won’t even know they’re eating medicine.”
- “Doesn’t matter what it is – earn it. A good deed, reach out to someone in pain, be of service – it feels good, and it’s good for your soul.
- “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you – believe that. I do.”
- “If you have to poop at a party but you’re embarrassed because you’re going to stink up the bathroom, just do what I do: lock the door; sit down; get all the pee out first. Ok? And then, once all the pee’s done – poop, flush, boom. You minimize the amount of time the poop is touching the air, because if you poop first, it takes you longer to pee and then your peeing on top of it stirring it up and poop particles create a cloud that goes out and everyone at the party will know that you pooped. Just trust me, it’s science.”
- “Learn to pray. It’s easy, and it’s so good for your soul.”
- “Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you you’re perfect just the way you are – you’re not! You are imperfect. You always will be. But, there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood – do not forget it. Don’t take it for granted.”
Everyone at the table was now fully engaged in edifying spiritual conversation, as well as laughter that brought forth tears from rule #7. These conversations continued over the course of the school year in various ways. If John hadn’t brought it up – or if he had just left – this would have been an opportunity lost. It’s good to be silent and walk away, John thought, but it would seem that Christ had other plans for this particular interaction.