The parson sat in a booth in the back of his favorite diner. Before him was a bowl of fresh fruit and a cup of decaf coffee. The choice of ingredients illustrated his fervent desire to regain his former thirty-year-old figure. (For the last two months he'd been repeatedly telling himself miracles still happen.) In his left hand was his iPhone on which he was reading the latest news and while he wondered again what happened to the iPad.
“Excuse me,” said the man who approached the booth, “you're the parson; aren't you?”
“Guilty as charged,” the parson replied.
“I doubt if you remember me,” he said.
“You're Jeff Crenshaw's nephew,” the parson said.
“I am, I'm Edward Floyd. Do you have a minute, Parson?”
“I do,” said the parson as he put his iPhone away. Have a seat. Would you like some coffee and breakfast?”
“No, thank you. I'd just like to ask your advice about something.”
“What's up, Edward.”
“I'm getting married in August. Susan Jennison, you may know her.”
“I do,” the parson said. “Her dad and I have worked together on some community events over the years.”
“Well, everything is going great with us, except she insists that when we get married we should attend a church regularly.”
“That's the biggest problem you have?” the parson asked.
“I guess there are some other things we need to get used to, but that's a big deal to Susan.”
“It's not, I take it, a big deal with you?”
“No, sir. I don't think church attendance or, for that matter, church membership is needed for someone to live a good moral life. Look, Parson, with all due respect to your profession, listening to a sermon every week doesn't make anyone necessarily a better person or even a Christian for that matter.”
The parson smiled, “You're not going to get any argument from me on that.”
“So, you see my point?”
“What's your point?”
“My point is if a person gives regularly to charities, and if a person volunteers on a regular basis to work in things like a non-profit, well, those kind of things are just as good as going to church.”
“I can't argue with that,” said the parson.
“So you see the point I'm trying to make with Susan.”
“I'm not sure about that,” the parson said. “Tell me, do you do that?”
“Do I do what?”
“Do you give to a charity on a regular basis, let's say once a week; and do you volunteer to work with some non-profit, let's say once a week?”
The parson had finished his fresh fruit and his decaf before Edward answered. “Thanks for your time,” he replied as he stood to go.