Mr. Musbe Relevant sat patiently by the door of the club one afternoon as he waited for Christian’s arrival. At five minutes to two, Christian trotted up the sidewalk with a warm grin. Musbe smiled in kind.
“So good to see you, Christian!” He said in a jolly tone.
“And you as well, Mr. Relevant,” Christian replied, “I just want to thank you again for such a kind invitation. I’ve never been allowed into the club before.”
“My pleasure,” Musbe replied, “after all, getting along well with the club is an essential part of our gospel witness. If the club likes you, they’ll give you a seat at the table. Once you have a seat, the possibilities for sharing the gospel are endless! As you know, the club produces nearly all the radio, television, and print media consumed by popular culture. With a seat at the table, they’ll be coming to YOU to get a perspective on nearly everything. You’ll be the next public face of Christianity. The publishers will give you book deals, and your influence will be unrivalled!”
Christian grimaced a bit, looking as if he was about to make an important comment, but didn’t exactly know how to express it.
“Which is why,” Mr. Relevant continued, “it is imperative that you make a good impression today. Choose your words very carefully, and don’t get caught up in any controversies over the five axioms.”
“The five axioms?” asked Christian puzzlingly.
“Yes, the five axioms. These are the principles that hold the club together. It’s how they’re able to maintain unity in diversity without resorting to the dogmatism of a fixed creed.”
“So what exactly are the five axioms?”
“Don’t worry about that, everyone learns them upon their arrival. Come on, let’s not be late!”
Musbe dashed into the door of the club with Christian following closely behind.
“Hey, who’s this?” asked a bouncer, eyeing Christian suspiciously.
“Don’t worry about him, he’s with me.” said Mr. Relevant with a reassuring tone.
“Very well then, go find your seat at the table.” the bouncer replied. He then turned to Christian, and with a deep scowl, added, “but don’t you sit down. You don’t have a seat at the table—at least not yet.”
Christian nodded, then turned to catch up to Musbe, promptly finding a place to stand right beside where he had taken his seat.
The clock soon struck two, at which point the muffled whispers of other club members seated at the table immediately fell silent.
All eyes were fixed upon a large, imposing figure who sat at the head of the long wooden table.
“Greetings, dearest club members and honoured guests,” he began, “my name is Dr. Maximus Bright, and it is my warm pleasure to welcome you all to the club. First, a word of explanation for our guests. You may think of the club as an enlightened socialite group, and you would be right. That’s certainly a part of who we are. More importantly, however, you must understand that the club is a powerful force for progress. The club is, in effect, a weapon. A weapon which we must carefully wield in order to free ourselves and our society from the primitive and superstitious phobias of our ancestors. This is why a seat at the table is not something to be given away lightly. A seat at the table represents a portion of the power of the club. Should any part of the club’s power fall into the wrong hands, the results could be disastrous. With our formidable influence, history itself could soon be found on the wrong side of history!”
The audience gasped in horrified terror.
Dr. Bright continued, “That is why, here at the club, we reject the superstitious and dogmatic phobias of our ancestors, having found unity in diversity, and a pathway to freedom of thought, by means of the five axioms. And what are the five axioms?” he asked, pausing for effect,
"Here at the club," led Dr. Bright, join in unison by all of the club's members,
That man is the measure of all things
That we must follow the evidence wherever it leads
That orangutans are the distant cousins of watermelons
That some circles are triangles
And the sky is green."
When the recitation of the five axioms was completed, the club’s members broke out in thunderous applause.
“All you who affirm these axioms, please raise both hands!” said Dr. Bright with a deep, thundering charisma. Every club member and visiting guest raised their hands, except for Christian.
“Quickly, raise your hands!” whispered Musbe to Christian.
“I can’t,” Christian replied.
Every eye at the table fell upon Christian for a solid ten seconds. The room became utterly silent.
Dr. Bright looked at Christian with a sympathetic gaze.
“Young man, did you not hear the call to raise your hands, or was there something in the five axioms you didn’t properly understand?”
“I believe I understood the five axioms, and what was expected of me, quite well.” said Christian, his heart beating through his chest.
The audience gasped in terror. Many looked away from Christian, while others covered their eyes.
Dr. Bright turned to Musbe, “Mr. Relevant, am I to understand that you have brought a green sky denier into our midst?”
“I…I had no idea Christian held such antiquated views on the colour of the sky,” said Mr. Relevant, nervously tapping his fingers on the table.
“But Musbe, surely you don’t believe the sky is green?” asked Christian.
“Well please tell us, Mr. Relevant!” Dr. Bright ordered.
Musbe Relevant knew he was in a tough bind. He had never been forced to pick sides on such a controversial topic before. He immediately set himself to work building a bridge: “There are…certain cases…acknowledged even by those of a primitive understanding like our Christian here…in which the sky can indeed…be viewed…as green. For example, during an impending tornado, or at the sight of the aurora borealis…and in many other cases…which at the present…do not…come to mind.
I suggest then that we seek to find common ground here in what we can universally affirm…with the understanding that Christian’s view…with a healthy dose of nuance…need not necessarily contradict this final axiom in all cases.”
“But that’s not what the club means when they say the sky is green, and you know it!” exclaimed Christian to Musbe.
“Let’s not lose our gospel witness over a secondary question of meteorology. This isn’t the hill to die on,” whispered Musbe, his patience obviously waning.
“I simply can’t affirm a falsehood in the service of truth,” said Christian in reply.
“Such arrogance! How can you reject this axiom when you’re not even a meteorologist?” asked Dr. Bright, “tell me, how many other axioms have your primal and uneducated phobias called into question? Are you going to tell us you’re afraid of the circles that are triangles as well?”
“I don’t believe circular triangles even exist,” Christian replied.
The audience gasped again. Those who had already been covering their eyes with their hands reached for handkerchiefs in order to gain an additional layer of protection from Christian’s hate.
“Phobic! Phobic! Phobe!” shrieked Ms. Sigmund with a feeling of terror and justified indignation, gasping for breath and promptly fainting in her chair.
Dr. Bright immediately turned back to Christian with a scathing tone, “Look at the consequences of your violent words! I’ll have you know that Ms. Sigmund suffered severe psychological trauma when the dogmatic tenets of euclidean fundamentalism were forced upon her as a young girl. You’ve now triggered deep psychological wounds with your reckless speech, wounds from which she might never recover! Professor Expert, what is your opinion on the matter?”
Professor Expert gazed at Christian through his monocle for a moment before weighing in. “I concur with Dr. Bright’s assessment regarding the danger of your words. Furthermore, I’m deeply troubled by your primitive dogmatism and rejection of the scientific consensus. Tell me, Christian, do you also deny the virtually undisputed fact, upon which all modern biology is based, that orangutans are the distant cousins of watermelons?”
“I do,” said Christian, further shocking the audience, “And if we could get to the root of our differences, my central contention with the five axioms is the idea that man is the measure of all things.”
The audience at this point was in a total frenzy. At the top of their lungs, they screamed in unison,
“Phobic! Phobic! Science denier! Phobic! Phobic! Send out the phobe!”
“Bouncers, get this phobe out of here!” Dr. Bright ordered.
Christian could hear the shouts of the mob grow more and more indignant as the bouncers dragged him away from the table towards the back door of the club. Suddenly, the door flew wide open, and Christian found himself flying through the air. He hit the ground on a steep hillside at the back of the club and continued to roll down, head over heels, until he came to rest beneath an old rusty and dilapidated bus at the bottom of the hill.
Christian lay beneath the bus for a moment, sore, stiff, and utterly bewildered by the events which had just unfolded.
“Are you okay?” asked the voice of a passerby, peering under the bus to look at Christian.
“I think so. I’m just a little unclear on how exactly I got here.” Christian replied.
“Well you wouldn’t be the first person the club has thrown under the bus,” the man replied, “here, let me give you a hand.”
After Christian was safely on his feet, he turned to thank the stranger, “Your help is much appreciated. May I know your name?”
“My name’s Guy Common,” he said confidently, “and yours?”
“Christian.” he replied.
“Well Christian, what are you going to do now?”
“I don't exactly know. Mr. Musbe Relevant said I needed to have a seat at the club’s table if I was going to have any chance of telling anybody about Jesus. Now that that’s gone, I don’t know how I’m going to do it.”
“Who’s Jesus?” asked Guy.
“Oh, you don’t know? I’d love to tell you about Him!” Christian replied, with a joyful glimmer of hope in his eyes.