In the early evening as boredom set in the students began to wander around the place and slowly started to filter into the pub in the hotel lobby. I was one of those students. It was still quite early in the evening (say, around six or seven) and the pub was all but empty save two or three other people. There was an outer room where people could order greasy finger foods like deep friend pickle spears (yum) and chicken wings, sit in a booth and enjoy watching other people sing karaoke off key. Then there was an inner room where people could stand around tall tables, hang out and play pool. There were about twenty of us and while a few of the ladies sang karaoke, most of us – me included – were either playing pool or watching others play pool while we just hung out.
Suddenly a silent hush came over us as we noticed there standing in the entrance of the pool room was our very put-off Bible College professor. We knew we were in trouble. He expressed his grave disappointment in us and ordered that we all return to our rooms immediately. Unfortunately for me, I happened to be one of the two students who was sharing a room with this professor.
When I got to the room I had the honor of receiving the blunt load of Prof. D’s frustration. “What were you guy’s thinking?” He asked me as he vented, “You’re bible college students hanging out in a bar where people go to sing unchristian music, get drunk and waste their lives!”
Later this prof. apologized to the students, not for what he had done but for how he went about it, and he publically apologized to me for having to be his soundboard. But recently I was reminded of this incident and began to wonder, “WWJD?” What would Jesus have done if he was in my prof’s position? I think we have enough clues from the scriptures of the kind of person Jesus was to make an educated guess.
Let’s reset the stage.
A small “pub” in the lobby of a hotel is jam packed with about twenty bible college students and only about three or four other people. A couple of the student ladies were having a great time singing really bad karaoke to old country songs while the rest of us filled the inner room, some playing pool, most just standing around drinking pop and engaging in theological discussions, debates and speculations (it’s how bible college students have fun).
Suddenly a silent hush comes over the room as everyone begins to turn and notices there standing in the entrance of the pool room is Jesus. But the moment of intense silence is broken instantly as Jesus cracks a huge smile, picks up a cue stick and asks, “so who’s up for a game?” A huge sigh of relief is exhaled throughout the room (this is not some Fundamentalist Christian, this is Jesus) as everyone turns their attention to Jesus who is at the same time the center of our theological discussion and whipping everyone at pool (“inventing” new tricks just for the fun of it!).
After about three solid games – Dwight almost beat Jesus at one, all divinity aside! – Jesus held up the cue stick with on hand and the black eight ball in another and started to teach us and remind us about the “black balls”, the “odd balls”, the “down and outers” and all the rest who feel that they have not a hope in this world as they drain their lives – their depression, their addictions, their mistakes and failures – away with alcohol. They feel like the black ball that slams in the corner pocket out of turn, bringing the game of life to a sudden, depressing and unexpectedly tragic end.
But Jesus came, not with a stick, but to die on a stick – a wooden cross – to resent the game. To bring hope where there is no hope. To restore, renew, and resurrect. Only this time the game is played without a black ball, because number eight has become more then number one: the eight has become the white (the white ball)!
Through other such pub styled parables Jesus taught for more then an hour. The four other people in the bar – the “black balls” – were slowly joined by other “black balls” who were coming in for a good time of drowning their lives in alcohol, only to get instead some life changing stories.
When Jesus entered the pub he had twenty followers, all bible college students. By nine o’clock he had thirty eight!
What a missed opportunity my bible prof. passed up. It’s not every day that a group of bible college students crowd in and numerically take over the environment of an established pub!