The parson drove home perplexed.
Many months before this drive home and interesting thing had happened at the parson's church. It was about twenty-five minutes to a half-hour before the service began. Two women walked into the sanctuary. The parson was in a room at the rear and overheard their conversation as they walked down the aisle.
“Oh, Mildred, what a beautiful little church.”
“Thanks,” replied Mildred, an elderly matron of the church. The proceeded a few feet further down the aisle. And the parson overheard Mildred say to her friend, “And this, this is our lesbian pew.”
It wasn't said in a negative way. Indeed, the tone of Mildred's voice conveyed, “We've got a lesbians in our church and you don't.”
The Soup Suppers every Monday night, begun so many years ago by Ms. Parson, were a delight to the church. Florence, who wasn't homeless but remained only a stone's toss from it every month, was a fixture. The parson thought of how, after Florence's vehicle broke down, the church members began picking her up to bring her to the suppers where she could fill her tummy and usually bum some money for the coming week. Florence was a part of the fabric of the church now.
And the parson thought to the many times families of non-white races had come to the church and been greeted with full acceptance and joy at their presence, of the generally wonderful reception of the black preacher the parson invited.
The parson thought back to a few weeks ago when the church council has suggested the parson consider putting, “We are an inclusive church,” on the sign out front.
And then the parson thought of the little class he'd just finished teaching. He'd been trying to make a point about land displacement in the Holy Land, from the time of the Israelite occupation of the Canaanite land to the Jewish occupation of the land in recent history. Trying to make a point he asked one of the members of the church how long his farm had been in his family.
“Oh, gracious Parson,” the member had said, “over a hundred years.”
“Since 1830?” the parson asked.
“Well, that would be about right,” said the member.
“So your family took possession when the Cherokees were forced upon the Trail of Tears?”
“Well, suppose,” the parson suggested, “the United Nations passed a resolution saying that our country had been wrong in that removal and you had to return you farm to the Cherokee nation?”
The parson waited for the reply, expecting some real agony from the member as he wrestled with the complexity of the situation. What the parson got instead was this:
'Well, I'd rather them get it that those blacks.”
Ten steps forward and nine steps backward?