James Mitchell is a hero at First Methodist Church. He was the youth director here way back in the 1980’s. James is now the pastor of our largest Methodist church in Mandeville, Louisiana. I was the Executive Pastor at the church with James before I came to Natchitoches. I have known James and his wife Delaine forever! We all started this journey about the same time.
Delaine and I are both comics and James is the straight man. On Thursday nights we all went to dinner. It was a ritual. Always at 6:30. Always Italian food. It was such an important ritual that I convinced their son Patrick that he ought to attend the University of Alabama. Patrick graduated with his Master’s degree from that institution last year! Roll Tide!
On the Thursday nights before I was to preach on the following Sunday,
Delaine would bet me a dollar that I couldn’t work a certain word into the sermon that Sunday. It had to flow naturally. It could not disrupt the sermon. It could not disrupt the people listening to the sermon. Once she bet me ten dollars, I could not work the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” into the sermon. I was preaching on Nebuchadnezzar, so “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was no problem. James Mitchell just shook his head.
There are words that preachers don’t get to use in our public discourse.
I have used this word once in a funeral meditation and I am about to use the word again in this article. The word is bra. If you are squeamish stop reading here.
I used the word once at a funeral. The guy I was burying was a character of renown. He rode a Harley to church every Sunday. His tattoos had ink of their own. He lived life rough. He had a rough-hewn faith too. He believed Jesus consumed wine abundantly and could have won any bar brawl. He offended those of a more delicate faith with his Sunday School pronouncements.
He died suddenly. His family asked me to do the funeral. They wanted me to talk about his Mardi Gras Krewe and costume. The most important part of his Mardi Gras costume was the sequined bra. Previously, I had never uttered the word “bra” in public. Three sentences into his funeral meditation, the word bra was uttered from that pulpit and the stained-glass windows did not shatter.
The other day I ordered a couple of books. They were typical of the books I order. The books were so small that Amazon put them in one of their large envelopes. I opened the envelope and dumped the contents out on the sofa in front of God and my in-laws! Out tumbled my two books and one bra.
Guys fear this. Some of my friends have had unexplained bras pop up in glove compartments, under front seats of cars or between sofa cushions. An unidentified bra will get a male in knee-deep kimchee every time.
What in the world? Who ordered this bra? Did Amazon make a mistake? Was there a special, order two books and get one bra? I was flummoxed.
My wife walked in and laughed. She said, “You were using my Amazon account for your books again. You didn’t check the shopping cart before you placed the order, did you?” I was doubly caught.
NO. I did not check the shopping cart. I was ordering books and don’t know a thing about Amazon shopping carts! I do know that being sneaky never seems to pay off.
An unexamined shopping cart led to an incriminating bra.
Honesty is the best policy.
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