At Bundaberg State High School where Tony was a teacher, he shared a staffroom with four other male teachers. They were all science teachers; a couple taught mathematics as well. Often, during breaks, they had lively discussions, which covered a whole range of topics – politics, religion, science, the nature of truth, sport, hobbies, and of course, school matters.
The others knew that Tony was a Christian – he never hid the fact – and his faith was often put to the test, or questioned, during their interactions. On the whole, it was all very friendly and respectful, and they readily acknowledged each other’s differences.
One of the teachers, Barry (not his real name), was an avowed atheist. He and Tony had lots of lunchtime chats about the Christian faith, Jesus and the Bible. Their exchange would often include a joke or two, even a little sarcasm.
One of Barry’s classic statements was: “How can you say you know the truth? As a scientist you can’t say you know you’ll be with Jesus.”
Tony used to bring a cut lunch from home. One day he brought a small tin of sardines and bread. When Barry came into the staffroom, he exclaimed: “Oh, Salecich, that smells. What is it?”
Barry: “Sardines! Salecich has loaves and fishes…I will have to call the tuckshop to cancel all orders. Salecich has loaves and fishes!”
Barry promptly went to the staffroom phone and called the tuckshop. “Cancel all orders! Salecich can feed everyone today – he has loaves and fishes!”
The staffroom was filled with raucous laughter. Everyone thought it was a great joke!
And it was!