Although the sun had been down for a while the evening was warm and muggy, so Christopher walked home slowly so he wouldn't work up a sweat. His small apartment was not far from campus – he had chosen it that way so he didn't have to bother with owning a car. “Just another thing to pollute the environment and take you away from what is important.” he had said to someone who wondered why he didn't own one. And what was important to Christopher was his work. It was everything to him and had been his entire working life. And why shouldn't it be – he was good at it – very good.
Other things that people thought were important were just distractions. Relationships, families, religion, sports, television... there was so much that people could achieve if they would throw out meaningless activities and work on something important – something that could have a real impact on the world.
He often chided his colleagues about this, saying that if those who were motivated to get an education, would just be motivated to use that knowledge they worked so hard for - we wouldn't be in the energy situation we are in now. Alternative fuels are not that difficult to come up with – why hadn't someone figured something out by now? “Distractions,” he tells them. “Get to work and the world would be a better place. There are only a few of us who are using our brains, so we have a responsibility to do something about it.”
He entered his apartment and set down his briefcase in his office. He went to the kitchen to brew up some herbal tea that would help calm his nerves. He had to get a good night's rest tonight so he could have a productive day tomorrow. Nobody came to the lab on Sunday so he would be guaranteed a full uninterrupted day.
Soon the teapot whistled. Christopher entered the kitchen in his lightweight summer robe and prepared his tea. He went into his office to read his email and a favorite scientific journal before retiring for the evening. “Just a little light reading about nuclear physics,” he thought as he sipped his tea. He reveled in the fact that what other people found so complicated, was really quite simple. He had always felt that if people would just try – they could understand anything. But people are just too lazy.
At 11:00 he decided that the article on massive vector boson field equations could wait for another day. He took his tea cup to the sink, washed, rinsed and dried it, and put it back into the cupboard. Everything had its place – one plate, one tumbler, one teacup. Christopher never went to bed with work that needed to be done. He felt disgust for those who left dishes in the sink. Lazy, just plain lazy.
He peeled back his crisply made bed and reveled in the cool sheets. “Life is good,” he said out loud. “We control our own destiny.” He closed his eyes and felt himself drift off to sleep.
He found himself in a beautiful city. The buildings were like white marble – simple but elegant. The streets shone bright, almost transparent. He was standing in front of a magnificent structure where people wearing a simple white outer garment similar to a robe, were busily moving in and out of the building. As he was wondering at this site, he noticed a large muscular man standing beside him, also watching the scene. After the man introduced himself to Christopher, they begin to ascend the few stairs to the main entrance of the building. Christopher was escorted to some large doors in the lobby. After a few moments of silence, the doors were opened and Christopher walked in. As the doors closed he noticed that his escort was no longer there. Standing by a tall window on the far end of the room was a man, dressed similar to all the others he had encountered thus far. But this man was somehow different. It didn't make sense to Christopher, but it seemed as though all light in the room was coming from this man, yet he didn't seem so bright that he couldn't look at him. “But this is ridiculous,” he thought, and dismissed the idea.
“Christopher,” the man said, “welcome back. I've been observing you and have wanted to meet with you again. Please sit down.”
Christopher was a bit annoyed by being referred to so casually. He had always insisted on being referred to as Dr. Jenkins, even by his colleagues. Respect for his title and accomplishments was not too much to ask. “Dr. Jenkins,” he said automatically, “and I don't believe we have met.”
“Fine. Please sit down Dr. Jenkins,” the man said with no contempt, but with a hint of a smile on his face. The man paused as Christopher sat down.
He noticed that the man's eyes were watching him closely. Although not comfortable in social situations, he knew how to handle himself and demand the respect of others. After all, he had associated with many very powerful people through the years to request grant money for his research, and to report on his progress.
“Do you know where you are?” questioned the man.
Christopher looked around him, hoping that he would recognize some symbol or plaque or anything that would help him answer the question. But there was nothing. No diplomas, no certificates, no ornaments of any sort. “I'm afraid you have the advantage sir. I am not familiar with you nor this location.”
“Please,” said the man. “let's drop the formality. We have limited time and much to discuss. Let's talk as friends and not as colleagues or strangers.”
Christopher wasn't used to being treated this way. For many years, even the board of governor's talked to him with the utmost respect, and would never attempt to undermine his superiority. “Sir, I...” he started to say but the way the man looked at him made him stop. He glanced around the room again and for the first time realized that this place was very different than even the most elegant rooms he had ever been in. And this man – he somehow felt as if he knew him – like he was an old friend. How was that possible, being that Christopher had never met him. He submitted to the man. Although he wasn't even sure how to be casual any more – he would try.
Sensing Christopher's change in attitude, the man simply said, “thank you.” He walked toward Christopher and sat down beside him. “Christopher, I am Jesus Christ. I am aware that you don't believe in me, but that makes no difference to the facts. I am real.”
Christopher just stared. “This must be a setup,” he thought. Some practical joke by Warren or Paige or some of my religious colleagues. He racked his brain trying to think of who might be responsible for this and how they did it.
After watching Christopher go through a myriad of emotions in just a few seconds, Jesus finally said, “You have always been a skeptic. I can respect that, some of the greatest minds have been skeptics. You want solid evidence or a hypothesis that can be proven or dis-proven. What you lack however is the desire to believe in the unexplainable or things you cannot understand – in short, faith. If it's something that can't be the subject of an experiment, you dismiss it. If we are to get anywhere today, you need to believe that I am who I say I am. I can't force you to believe it, and I'm not going to display any power to convince you – you need to believe on your own. Open your heart to me and feel the love that I have for you.”
Christopher scoffed audibly, and looked around the room, trying to avoid the eyes of Jesus. Some time went by – it felt like minutes. Many times Christopher started to open his mouth to speak, but closed it as quickly. He finally got up and started to walk toward the doors. “This charade has gone far enough. I'm leaving.”
Jesus stood there watching Christopher walk toward the door. He would not violate anyone's freewill. If Christopher wanted to leave, he could leave, but the gift that Jesus planned on giving him could not be given and would have to be given to another. “I have given you 10 talents,” Jesus said softly, “and you have made me 10 more. But...” he paused, “you have not given me credit – but instead you have glorified yourself.”
Christopher's hand was on the door handle when Jesus had said this. Anger was beginning to build within him. “Why is everyone trying to convince me about God. Can't people just leave me alone and let me live my life?”
“Christopher,” Jesus said gently, “I am asking you to stay. Let's have an intellectual discussion – an examination of your beliefs. You have never turned down a stimulating discussion.”
“Why should I put up with this,” he thought. “I'll be able to uncover this fraud in just a few moments, then I'll leave and let them all know I'm not to be trifled with.” He turned around, looked at Jesus for a moment, then walked back over to the sofa. He sat down and crossed his legs. “Very well, let's discuss physics.”
Jesus smiled and went over and sat beside Christopher. “Thank you,” he said, almost in a whisper.
That simple statement hit Christopher with such force that he could “feel” the gratitude of this man. Christopher quickly let the unfamiliar feeling go – putting him back into his comfort zone. “In my current research, we are making great strides with anti-gravitational fields.”
“Our discoveries thus far have taken us to consider mass and vibration as the key components,” Christopher said in a matter-of-fact way.
“Yes” said Jesus, “you have applied the self-consistent Einstein model to the theory of anharmonic lattice vibration in metallic fine particles. Assuming a simple interatomic potential and certain distribution of the particle size, you have accurately expressed both transition temperatures as functions of the average radius of fine particles and have shown that the numerical results calculated from the theoretical expressions are in fairly good accord with the experiments. ”
Christopher sat speechless, just staring at Jesus. Finally he said, “Some of that was published, but some has not. Who leaked this information to you?”
“Christopher. This is not a hoax, a prank, or someone trying to get the better of you. We could discuss physics now, or we could discuss something that could stretch your mind further. But you have to open your mind first or it will all be in vain. There is so much knowledge that you have just not been willing to gain. Will you allow an open discuss without the prejudice that you have worked so hard to build?”
His mind was racing, trying to determine who may be behind this elaborate scheme. But the more he thought about it, the more it didn't make sense that anyone could have gone to this much trouble – after all he was in a city that couldn't be fabricated – especially just to goad him about religion. And who was this man – there was something about him that Christopher couldn't put his finger on. “OK,” he finally said. “What do you want to talk about?”