Posted in Life

“Jhalda, West Bengal, India”

BengalTigerRight, like I am going to answer that phone call.

The caller ID on my phone shows “Jhalda, West Bengal, India.”

Really? Like that is a legitimate call I am going to answer? I probably ignore 80% of the domestic phone calls I get every day. From every state in the union, from a variety of places in Florida, and more than a few from my area code and first three numbers of my phone number.

Oh, I was tempted. So tempted. I am so curious. I’ll bet they weren’t the IRS, telling me I was about to be arrested. Those calls usually come from Florida numbers. I’ll bet they weren’t selling me health care insurance. Those calls are from more local numbers. I’ll bet they weren’t offering me a social security death benefit. Those folks usually call from New York or Washington, DC.

But India? I’m intrigued. But I’m not naïve enough to call back. International rates and all that.

So I wonder – how many people simply let my calls, from the church or my cell, go to voice mail? Because they really don’t want to hear me ask, “So how come you haven’t been in church lately?” (Which, by the way, I never ask.) Or, “You seem to be a bit behind on your tithe.” (Which I never say.) Or, “So, are you still alive?” (No, I never lead with that, either.)

I usually ask, “So how are you?” When I call, it’s just to see how you are doing. If I don’t call – hey, call me, I’d love to talk to you. Especially if you’re from India. And you’ve got Bengal tigers in your neighborhood. I’ve only seen them in zoos. I figure they’re like alligators in FL. You just get used to them.



Posted in Ministry

A surreal phone call

o-TALKING-ON-CELL-PHONE-facebookLord Grantham had just spewed blood all over his dinner guests on “Downton Abbey” last night when my phone rang.  I recognized the name on my phone, so I answered, since calls at that time of the night from church members are usually important.

Usually. The person on the other end wasn’t who I expected. It was a different member of that family who had been enjoying a few cocktails that evening. He asked, “Pastor, can I talk to you?”

Sounded serious. I said, “Sure.”

After a longer than expected period of silence, the caller asked me, “So what do you want to talk about?”

What? I said, “You called me. What’s up?”

“Oh, not much. What’s up with you?”

“You know, it’s kind of late,” I said, “Can I call you back later on this week?”

“Sure.” Click. And just like the call was over. And none too soon.