“Praise the Lord! Good morning,” he replied.
The man was a large and odd looking fellow with a big round face and glasses pushed up on his nose, windows through which his kind looking eyes viewed the world. I shook his hand and he shook mine. I watched from the back of the church as the man made his way up the center aisle to find a seat. About one-quarter of the way up he stopped, faltered for a moment as if he were lost, turned around, and walked back towards me. “I see you have a nursery school here, for kids aged one and a half to four?” I smiled and nodded, “yes, I believe those are the ages.” “Who is preaching this morning?” asked the man. “Ajit is,” I said, gesturing towards the front of the church where Ajit stood with this weeks lay reader, a woman. “Ajitis?” he said as he turned to look at me, quizzically, as if he were thinking he had outsmarted me somehow. I could detect a small and discrete smile forming at the corners of his mouth. What the hell was he so jolly about, I wondered? “Doesn’t it say in the Bible that women aren’t to speak in church?” The words slid out from his lips like a lasso, as if he wanted to tie me up real good and pin me down, so as he could teach me somethin’ without my really wantin’ to know it. I knew this man. We’d never met before, but I knew his type. I smiled back at him, “Well…” “Yes it does,” he proclaimed, cutting me off, “that’s the problem these days, everybody wants to say it doesn’t.”
He turned to walk back out the door he had entered a few minutes prior, handing his bulletin back to the greeter. “Ajit is a man,” I said. The man stopped and looked back at me, “Huh?” “Ajit, he’s a man,” I said again. “Oh. Well then.” He took back his bulletin and began to walk towards the pews. As he passed by he looked at me, “So, no women preach in this church?” “Not today.” “Not today?” he muttered as he walked back up the center aisle of the church towards the front where he found his seat, directly below the towering pulpit.
The church greeter turned to me with a worried look on his face, “He must be new here, I’ve never seen him before.” I smiled, “vistin’ perhaps.”