The parson was sitting with a group of high school students. They were all participating in a community service project. The students were talking about a variety of things from social media to the whipping the local football team had put on their regional rivals to the hail Mary pass that allowed Tennessee to win over Georgia the Saturday before.
There was a pause in the conversation. One of the youth looked at the parson and asked, “Parson, how come you’re helping us out with this.”
“Well,” said the parson, “I live here, too. I want to do my part for the community.”
“Yeah, Parson” said Lily Ledbetter, “but you’re, now don’t take this the wrong way, well, you’re old.”
“I am,” the parson replied. “I’m almost ancient. In fact, I grew up in the last century. Amazing. I actually drove myself here.”
“Oh, Parson, that’s not what I meant,” Lily responded. “Really, why do you take part in this?”
“Well, I guess I’m just trying to pay it forward,” the parson replied.
“Parson,” asked Charlie Alexander, “can I ask you a personal question?”
“Okay, everybody knows you’re really liberal about things. You know, we never hear you judging other people, you don’t seem to care what church anyone goes to, and, I guess, well, I’ve never heard you say anything bad about people who don’t go to church. So, I’m just wondering how religious you are.”
“I guess that depends on your definition of ‘religious’,” the parson replied.
“Okay, so, let me ask you this. Do you pray a lot?”
“I do,” the parson confessed.
“Can I ask what you pray?” Charlie inquired.
“Sure,” said the parson. “Usually, I pray, ‘Dear God, thank you.’”
“That’s all you pray?” asked Charlie.
“Usually,” said the parson. “I really think that covers it and puts everything in perspective.”