The parson was sitting on a bench on the front porch of the church. Iglesia, the church cat, was curled in his lap on her back getting her tummy scratched. She purred contentedly with her front paws curled around the parson’s wrist. A beautiful spring day it was, warm but with a cool breeze blowing.
A car pulled into the parking lot and stopped next to the parson’s. Keith Turner popped out of the Mustang convertible. “Parson,” he called. Iglesia did a flipped from the parson’s lap to land on her paws on the porch. She scooted into the bushes.
“Hello,” Keith,” the parson returned. “What brings you to these neck of the woods?”
“I had to take a report to the district office. I cut it too close to the deadline to mail it. I saw your car and then you sitting here so I took a moment to stop.”
The two talked a while about various issues in the church, some recent appointments of the Bishop, some tidbits about who might be moving where when the rest of the pastoral appointments were announced. After a while Keith moved the conversation to the day’s news.
“Did you hear about the new gun law the governor is signing today?” The parson acknowledged he had. “It drives me crazy, Parson. What kind of convoluted thinking could possess the legislature to pass this kind of bill? Gracious, now anyone can carry a gun into a church, unless the church expressly prohibits it. And people can carry a firearm into a bar. . . .”
Keith continued on his rant for at least ten minutes without, seemingly, taking a breath.
“I’ve about had it with the radical right politics in this country,” he said. “I know for a fact that a lot of the people who voted for this bill are not really in favor of it. They say they are upholding the Second Amendment rights. But what they really are doing is upholding the right to be stupid. The only reason they voted for this bill is there’s an election coming up and they’re just appealing to their base.”
The parson started to say something but Keith continued his rant.
“Appealing to the base for political expediency is a sin; it’s immoral; it should be denounced. I can’t think of any place where people so brazenly appeal to their base in order to assure they keep their job.”
Keith took a breath. That gave the parson an opportunity.
“You know, Keith, I agree with you about the law. I think the law is stupid. And I think wrapping the Second Amendment around the gun lobby is ridiculous.
“But let me ask you something about another subject. When you were in seminary a decade-and-a-half ago, did you do take any courses in Biblical Criticism?”
“Well, sure, Parson, everyone did.”
“Did you study the Exodus and were informed by your text and your professor that an Exodus such as the one described in the Bible most likely didn’t take place?”
“Yes, I remember it started a lot of discussion.”
“So, Keith, have you ever shared this Biblical Critical method with your congregation?”
“No, I don’t think they’d be open to it.”
“So, you’re appealing to your base?”