"I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and gay
And I feel pity
For any girl who isn't me today..."
"I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story
So I have had the opportunity to chat with our new minister on a few occasions now, in a variety of contexts, and the more I get to know him, the easier he is to like.
First and foremost, Rev. James is a very good speaker and teacher, with an excellent way of taking Gospel stories and applying a layer of context that makes them far more significant and applicable, which is something his predecessor, The Sermonator, did as well. He doesn't like standing behind the pulpit, and doesn't need to, as he can expound without the benefit of notes for the ten or so minutes he takes for his reflections. (He doesn't like to think of them as sermons, which I guess means I need to come up with a more appropriate and less lazy nickname than 'Sermonator Too.') So obviously he is an easy guy to be jealous of if you have ever done any public speaking, but I digress.
He's a sociable bloke with a sharp wit, and I get the sense that if he were to take his sarcasm off the leash, it could be devastating to anyone within the blast radius, but he doesn't, because that would probably be inappropriate at the very least for a man of the cloth. At a post-retreat barbecue we talked about a number of things, and it appears we share a weakness for sentiment, and he mentioned having a difficult time getting through his vows with his husband since he was weeping like a baby. I threw up a hand and mentioned a recent situation that produced a lot of 'eye-sweat' for me, and discovered we both enjoy a good turn of phrase (as previously documented in this very blog). After a little more conversation, Rev. James mused aloud as to whether any of my Irish ancestors might have had something to do with the mining, installation or perhaps even the promotion of the famed Blarney Stone. I confessed he was not the first person to make that observation, and he postulated it being highly unlikely he would be the last, so like I was saying, you might not see the sarcasm, but if you watch closely, you can his hand gripped tightly on the halter.
Last week I attended my first worship committee meeting with Rev. James in attendance. This is the committee that handles a lot of the nuts and bolts details about what happens during a worship service, from the scheduling of music and guests to which way communion will be served, and it has been a fascinating experience for me, largely due to the excellent people I get to work with. At this meeting, it was decided that we would donate a basket of goodies to the silent auction we are holding as a fundraiser this October 3 (tickets still available! e-mail me for details.), since we had done this the year before and it had gone over pretty well.
The lady who had done most of the collation, arrangement and presentation of the basket last time around, said she would not be able to do it this year, and wondered if someone else might be able to put it together. Well, anything beyond a sloppy gift bag is beyond my ken, so I clammed up immediately. Rev. James, bless him, jumped right in with, "Oh, give it to me; I can make anything look pretty."
Now, knowing him to be a fan of musicals, I lofted one over to him: "Pretty?" I said, "Oh, so pretty?"
"Yes," he smirked without looking up from where he was scribbling in his daytimer, "Pretty and witty and don't go there."
I don't know if how many others got it, but the two of us thought it was pretty funny. In fact, we got mildly admonished for giggling about it at the church council meeting the following day when he brought it up and I said, "Dude, it was a low road, but you have got to respect how fast I got there..."
He laughed and said, "You have no idea how much I enjoyed that," which is right about when the chair called us back to order, and there was much redness of the faces. But hey, those moments are a gift, and it's almost as much fun to revisit them as it is to share them in the first place.