“Parson, can I talk with you for a minute?” the woman asked.
“Sure,” said the parson. “Have we met?”
“No, we haven't. I live across the street from one of those transitional houses that your church operates for homeless women.”
“Oh, I'm sorry we haven't met before,” said the parson. “Which house are you talking about?”
The woman let the parson know which house she was talking about.
“Yes, you're the one with the beautiful garden. I know your house.”
“Well, thank you,” she said. “I wonder if I might discuss the folks that are in the house now.”
“Discuss them? I”m not sure what you're asking.”
“Well, that woman has two children and one of them is always trying to talk to my kids.”
The woman paused as though she'd provided sufficient information. The parson waited a pregnant moment. “One of your neighbor's children is trying to talk to one of your children?”
“And there's a problem with that?”
“I guess there is.”
“I'm not sure I understand.”
“Look, Parson, that kid is always coming over and asking if my child can come and play with him. He's always trying to make some kind of relationship with us.”
The parson stared at the woman. He sensed where this was going. He tried to stifle the anger he felt rising.
“We're good Christian people, Parson,” the woman continued. “And when your church puts those people in the house across the street from us it threatens our kids. We can't have our kids hanging around with those people.”
“Those people?” the parson asked. “Those people! Where do you get off calling them 'those people'? That boy was coming over to your house asking if you would be his friend. That boy was coming over to your house and pleading to you to treat him with the dignity of a child of God. You slammed the door in his face. You know what,” said the parson knowing this would probably get back to church superior and he'd have to attend another meeting, “the only problem with those people is you people.”