At my desk in the parish office late in the afternoon, trying to get another couple of items checked off my task list before heading out to a 5 PM meeting off-site.
The phone rings.
"St John's, this is Father Martins."
"Uh, is this a Catholic or a Christian church?" The voice sounded like that of a younger woman.
The inflection in her voice led me--all in an instant--to infer that her question was not "either-or" (like "Are you east or west of I-5?"), but could be "both-and" (like "Do you sell Sonys or Toshibas?").
The whole exchanged probably didn't take much more than five seconds. What, upon further reflection, I wish I had said, is "Yes, actually, we're both Catholic and Christian." That would have at least kept the conversation going. What did she want or need?
I'll never know, because, on auto-pilot, and like an idiot, I said, "We're an Episcopal church."
"Okay. Thank-you." Click.
The best case scenario is that she's never heard of the Episcopal Church and thinks it's some weird new-age cult, or a spinoff from Pepsi Cola (of which "Episcopal" is an anagram). The worst case scenario is that she has heard of the Episcopal Church--that she has "read all about it"--and come to the conclusion that it's . . .well . . . some weird new-age cult!
Out of the mouths of anonymous callers...