Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Calling"--a story II

That profile they'd created, the consistory concluded, brought only one candidate to mind. If they were to call someone without the congregation’s approval--in fact, were they that very night to call the man of their choice--it would be, by unanimous vote, King David, an extraordinary leader, practiced in the arts, and the man God himself described as “closest to my heart.”

It was determined, however, that their assessment should be kept confidential so as not to weigh upon various other groups’ decision-making.

Sadly, someone leaked the results to the Phoebe Society, who, as requested, spent their August meeting drawing up their own agenda. King David certainly has much to commend him, they maintained in a twenty-page document filed less than two weeks after the instrument had been distributed. However, because of “the Bathsheba incident,” his “credulity with women” suffered tremendously. Therefore, said the members of the Phoebe Society, “We’re opposed to nominating David as our new pastor.” Such a nomination, they insisted, revealed a rather “obvious disregard” for women’s issues.

Instead, the Phoebe Society recommended that, if a woman pastor wasn’t going to be possible at this point in time, the congregation should call Jacob’s son, Joseph, a man who clearly had not stumbled as David had—even when proffered the possibility. Furthermore, he had shown great compassion in distributing foodstuffs to the needy during his tenure as Egypt’s Secretary of Agriculture. What’s more, he’d willingly bared his emotions—his tears fell easily—when finally opening himself up to his supplicant brothers. “We believe that Joseph is the best candidate to replace Pastor Rog,” they offered in their own summary conclusions.

The Men’s Society, the organization with the highest median age in the congregation, brawled over which of the Old Testament prophet showed greatest promise. After six ballots, they nominated Jeremiah, even though there was much discussion about whether or not the man too frequently repeated himself. The Society’s second choice was Isaiah who, they claimed, despite some really beautiful verse, lacked the requisite tenacity. They liked Hosea, but claimed there were some lingering questions about his ability to keep his house in order. Theirs was, by the way, the only instrument completed in longhand.

The youth pastor’s response came on his own personal stationery, festooned with unicorns. He claimed calling any one of the woe-speaking prophets would be the kind of move that would be sure to alienate the teens. The candidate most likely to find a place in the hearts of his kids, he maintained, would be the father of the prodigal son--although he wasn’t sure anymore whether a rancher could make it with city kids. If it had to be someone prophet-like, the youth pastor said, Balaam and his talking ass were the kind of act that would keep everyone’s attention. “What a hoot that would be,” he wrote, adding three exclamation points. “You’d never know what he was going to say. They’d love it.” And then a smiley face.

[Tomorrow:  more nominations come in.]

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