At Bundaberg State High School where my husband Tony was a teacher, he shared a staffroom with four other male teachers. They were all science teachers; a couple of them 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 other teachers 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 different points of view.
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 questions was: “How can you say you know the truth?” And he would argue: “As a scientist you can’t say you know you’ll be with Jesus.”
The following incident occurred during one of their lunch breaks.
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?”
Tony: “Sardines. And bread.”
Barry [excitedly]: “Sardines! And bread! Salecich has loaves and fishes! I will have to call the tuckshop!”
Barry promptly went to the staffroom phone and called the tuckshop staff. “Cancel all orders! Salecich can feed everyone today – he has loaves and fishes!” he yelled.
The staffroom was filled with raucous laughter. Everyone – including the tuckshop lady at the other end of the phone line – thought it was a great joke!