I have often thought that pastors and politicians likely share a common fear of headlines. Presumably both are fans of positive publicity, but let's face it - most news stories about politicians or pastors are awful.
The fear is based in the knowledge that it doesn't matter if the story matches the headline, or if there's a clarification later in the week. Or if the entire story is eventually exposed as the fabrication of a disgruntled voter. Once the headline has happened, you're up in flames quicker than an unattended marshmallow over a campfire. There's no coming back from that.
With that context, think back to last Friday afternoon. Baby - it was HOT out there. One tweet said that a Toronto subway station "smelled like boiled people". Another tweet declared it was SO hot that two trees were fighting over one dog.
*I'll pause while you figure out why that's funny*
Our church picnic was coming up on Sunday afternoon. We need a LOT of liquids at a church picnic. Partly because people are thirsty. Partly because little kids just LOVE the thrill of popping open a can of root beer, even if they aren't going to drink it. And partly because a bottle of cold water offers a secondary function as a sudden shower on one's unsuspecting friend.
We also need charcoal at a church picnic. Lots of it. To heat things up. And then we cool off with the liquids. It's all very circular.
Dude With Whom I Co-Pastor and I were volun-told to get the liquids and the charcoal. We also picked up a bottle of Drano, but that's not really relevant to the story. Then we headed over to the coffee bar at the end of the store. We frequent that coffee bar almost daily - Fortinos makes good coffee. And the staff are friendly. Cate is on parental leave, but Jaime is there, and she always chats for a minute or two. We can solve all the problems of the world while sipping a French Roast at a little table next to the sushi.
After considering the implications of the God-particle discovery earlier in the week, we looked at our watches and decided to head back. Loaded up the car with all the liquids and charcoal. And then, just as we were about to drive away, one of us looked thoughtfully at the other and asked, "Did we pay for this stuff?"
That awkward moment when you realize you've just robbed the grocery store. For a church picnic, no less.
Imagine the headlines, if you will.
Co-Pastors Co-Opt Perishables for Parish Picnic
Fortinos de-Frauded, Friars de-Frocked
Local Congregation Shocked By Ministers' Drinking and Stealing
Why Women Shouldn't Be Pastors
I looked around for the swarms of security surely descending upon us at any moment. Nothing. Went back into the store and approached the head cashier. "Hello ... um ... funny story ..." Her eyebrows went up, and she made a call to security to stop any potential swarmings, while I went back outside. We unloaded the car into the shopping carts, rolled the carts back into the store, PAID, rolled the carts back out of the store, and unloaded them back into the car.
Then we drove away.
"Well," I said. "This is going to make an interesting blog post."
He responded, "I was just thinking the same thing."