Parson to Person June 2016

“Clever Clergy Clothing”

In last month’s “Parson to Person” column I mentioned a variety of clever cards I’ve received, which tickled my funnybone. Today I thought I’d mention two recent gifts – T-shirts, actually – that I especially got a kick out of. (I know, I know. You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, but how would it read if I wrote “T-shirts out of which I especially got a kick?”)

One shirt was a take-off on an old Schwarzenegger movie but with a preaching metaphor. With bold white letters on a black background, it said simply: “The Sermonator.” One of the reasons I enjoyed this gift is that I loved the Terminator movies (and sci-fi and time-travel stories generally); but the other is that the title “Sermonator” makes it seem that good preaching is almost a superpower. I know that most of my sermons don’t rise to that level, but it’s good for me to remember, when I prepare my Sunday message, that the church members and friends who attend on any given Sunday have given up that hour (when they could have been somewhere else), so I owe it to them to do the best job I can.

The other T-shirt had a circle of world-religion symbols with the words “Prays Well with Others.” That one spoke to me because (besides being funny and clever), in a world with so much conflict over religious beliefs, I think this is an attitude and spiritual stance we especially need right now. Plus, it included a UU flaming chalice in the circle of world religions!

Together these T-shirt sayings may sum up what I’m trying to be as your minister – someone who (at least occasionally) gives inspiring sermons … and models interfaith dialogue. In short, a “Sermonator who prays well with others.”

There are many other gifts I could mention here, but the above may give you an idea of the treasures I get from people who may not even realize what gifts they have given – some of them humorous, some of them serious or practical, all of them appreciated.

Have a great summer, everyone –
With, of course, a little peace and unrest,
Tony Larsen

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