Messiah: Young Obama "courageous," displayed basic courtesy, carved pumpkins

Some say, how can we afford to have this man be president? My friends — how can we afford not to?

The big A? Atheist no more.

As a backup forward, Obama helped Punahou win the state championship in 1979. Teammates described him as charismatic, a somewhat quiet leader and outspoken with coaches when he didn’t agree with them or understand their methods.

“He wasn’t afraid to challenge authority,” Lum said. “Sometimes I couldn’t believe he would say it, but I would be thinking the same thing. I remember him being honest and courageous. I respected him for that.”

When the Son of Man gives you career advice, or a CD recommendation, you take it:

“He introduced us to jazz and George Benson when we were all listening to rock ‘n’ roll,” said Cunningham, now an attorney in Sacramento, Calif. “He also told me to stick to my studies because they’ll take me where I want to go. And I did, and I got to where I wanted to be.

And who but the Lamb would possess the serenity needed to write a minimally thoughtful farewell message, or to jab a few eye and mouth holes in a large orange gourd?

His keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention prompted Eric Kusunoki, Obama’s homeroom teacher for four years, to pull out a dusty maroon scrapbook stored away since 1979.

There among the clips and photos he had collected of all his students, Kusunoki found the teenage Obama — carving pumpkins, volunteering for class activities, celebrating birthdays, even writing a nice goodbye note to his teacher.

“I knew he would do well,” said Kusunoki, who has taught at Punahou for 33 years. “He was very gifted, and I knew he’d do great things. But this well? On this stage? I never expected that.

Exit question: If not Christ, which Biblical character did Kusunoki expect Obama to grow up to be?