Thursday, October 28, 2010

Underwear and Lice

In all the years I’ve been a minister, this is the first time we’ve had the issue of head lice enter our sacred doors. We have to watch carefully to prevent our preschool kids from spreading it around. It’s not THAT big a deal. Aside from the “eeww” factor, a little common sense and caution, along with the medicated shampoo, should fix us up.

Speaking of firsts, the youth department has a strange fundraiser. They’re hanging underwear in people’s yards—and I’m talking super, industrial strength, 9X boxer shorts. For a contribution they’ll remove it and put it in someone else’s yard at the previous recipient’s request. They leave a sign that say’s “You’ve been briefed.”

I prefer to think of it as holy extortion.

The first week the old ladies were mad. The youth director came to me on Sunday morning in a panic. “Pastor, I need some help here.” She offered to call the whole thing off.

“Don’t do that,” I said, “Then all those people who worked on this silly thing will be upset.”

I went to the gaggle of ladies sitting in their appointed places for Sunday school. I shook their hands, beamed my big mug in each of their faces, and told them how pretty they looked. It made them giggle. Or maybe the word is titter. Since they were in a good mood at that moment, I didn’t mention the underwear hanging out on the lawn.

Later at worship, several funny things were said about it. Then I got up and said, “The youth leaders were worried that this might offend someone. But I reassured them. We all have a sense of humor about these things. DON’T WE?”

Everyone nodded.

It’s a gift I use sparingly: I can charm, amuse, and arm twist all at the same time, and make people feel glad they came.

Head lice and underwear. For this I went to seminary?


  1. "holy extortion"...LOVE the term!:) ~K

  2. Thankfully I've had only one encounter with head lice, when my son was 4 (a looong time ago). I will always appreciate his daycare teachers who had the wisdom to tell the kids they had to go home early so their parents could get the "sand" out of their hair. A good way to prevent lots of freakouts and teasing later.

  3. Volly, hey, that was a good idea--I hope I never have to remember it for later!

  4. The only head lice I had, I divorced.

    When we did youth group, we did ugly flamingos. Same extortion case...

    And, BTW, I have a pole with your name on it perfect to wave the underwear. Although I think "Starr" may object....

    How you been? I've been swamped. I'll write you some time...probably after July when Toastmaster's ends...

  5. Sistermoon, we considered the flamingos, but we thought it would be in poor taste, so we we went with underwear.

    Did you mean Ken Starr?

    Hang in there.

  6. Beautiful work, CG.

    Tact and grace in suitable portions and administered with measured timing.

    I sometimes think a good sense of humor is our little day-to-day salvation...

  7. Andrew, when I'm not laughing, I'm crying. Laughing's better.