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Rated: ASR · Assignment · Comedy · #2131853
A "cutting edge" lesson on the value of planning before action
A sponsored, "fill in the blanks" writing challenge

         Once upon a time there was a Ministry Symposium held at a posh mountain retreat where three clergymen; a Baptist minister, a Catholic priest, and a Rabbi had befriended each other. Everyday they met for lunch for cordial conversation while exchanging theological views and customs.

         One day, a rather spirited discussion ensued regarding their respective methods for converting pagans, debating which approach was deemed best at increasing their flocks. Their discussion was going nowhere, and because of that, they were entirely perplexed as to whose system might offer a clear advantage over the other, until finally the Baptist preacher declared a stalemate.

         “Let’s face it, gentlemen, preaching to people is hardly considered a challenge, let alone decisive as to whose technique may be best. Do you agree?”

         “I suppose one could argue that point,” the priest conceded. “After all, each of us has considerable pulpit experience. But what do you suggest we do to distinguish the virtues of one tactic versus another?”

         “Well," the minister proffered, "how about we each set out tomorrow and test our skills by converting, um… let’s say some sort of critter? Then reconvene here the next day to see who’s most successful.”

         “Critter, schmitter,” the Rabbi smirked, dubious of what merit could be gained from converting some placid barnyard creature. “Vhat are we to learn from cajoling some cuddly little lamb or bunny? A vaste of time."

         “The Rabbi’s right,” said Father O'Brien. “What we need is a real challenge, a true test of our own style. How about a more worthy prospect… like a bad-tempered badger or a bear?”

         “Yeah, a bear... marvelous idea,” declared Reverend Jones. “I hear there’s plenty of them in these here hills, so a bear it is.”

         All shook hands and the game was afoot. Each took to the forest in different directions at first light, determined to make their best pitch to the first bear they find. The following day, Reverend Jones and Father O'Brien met for lunch as usual, but were too excited to refrain from relating their successful efforts as they waited for the Rabbi.

         “So how did you fare, Reverend Jones? Any luck?” the priest asked.

         “I should say so, and though things got a bit testy mind you, I managed just fine when stumbling across a hungry bear catching fish in a stream. And a fierce one he was at that… sure to make me the winner. Why, I just walked up to him, tossed his fish back and started by preaching a whirlwind of hellfire and damnation from the good book. Oh, he smacked me around some, but I simply wrassled him down and baptized his butt right then and there. Yes sir... converted he was! And there you have it. So, how’d you do?”

         “Hmm, looks like you did ok, my friend, but I think I can beat it,” Father O'Brien said, grinning with an air of cockiness. “I surprised my bear deep in the bush. We were only feet apart when he stood and snarled great displeasure for having disturbed his breakfast of berries. But before he could set upon me, I whipped out my big silver cross and placed it right up against his snout. He was so mesmerized by my shiny crucifix that he just sat upon his haunches as I doused him with holy water. Converting him was a snap! In a few minutes I had him blessed while he listened to me say the rosary.”

         Just as the priest finished his story, a waiter came by asking to take their order. The pair politely declined, saying they would rather wait for the Rabbi.

         “Oh, you mean Rabbi Horowitz? I don’t think he’ll be joining you today, gents. He was brought in by Park Rangers yesterday afternoon… all tore up on a stretcher. Word is he’s recovering at the resort infirmary.”

         The two clergy immediately left the table and went to see about their esteemed friend. Upon entering his room, they found the Rabbi wrapped in bandages, one arm splinted and suspended in traction, and his body wired to a monitor. A nurse cautioned that they could only have a few minutes with him.

         “What in blue blazes happened to you?” the Reverend asked.

         “Oy gevalt!" he said weakly. "It vas terrible, just terrible. I came across this big bear leaning against a tree, having a vonderful back scratch." The Rabbi shrugged... "he looked so content... who am I to spoil his moment of bliss, I said to myself. So, I nixed vith the usual spiel and just grabbed his shvantz... and oy vey, it vas then I realized that circumcision vas not a good way to start.”

Note:an entry to an individually sponsored writing challenge using given phrases within a story sequence.
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