“Mrs. Paul”

Scene 1 [at the bus station]

Worship Leader: It’s so nice to meet you, Mrs. Paul.

Paul: Thank you very much for meeting me here at the station. I’m looking forward to speaking to your congregation tonight.

Worship Leader: Well, the pleasure is all mine, and the congregation’s. I have read just about everything you’ve ever written, even some things that certain people say you didn’t write. Your writings have really inspired me, Mrs. Paul.

Paul: Thank you very much; I’m gratified to know that you’ve found my writings helpful. I do have one question for you, though. You’ve been addressing me as “Mrs. Paul.” I don’t quite understand. Frankly, you don’t have to use a title with me; you can just call me Paul. But, I am curious, why have you been addressing me as Mrs. Paul rather than Mr. Paul?

Worship Leader: It’s because of something you wrote.

Paul: What could that be?

Worship Leader: In the letter you wrote to the Galatians, there’s this very tender passage where you said this: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, . . .” You used feminine imagery to refer to yourself, so I was sure it would be perfectly okay to address you as Mrs. Paul.

Paul: Oh, I see. Well, I did compare the pains I was going through in my heart for the Galatians to the pains a woman would go through in childbirth, but that was simply a comparative illustration I was employing. I wasn’t trying to suggest that people should think of me as a woman, rather than a man. I have always self-identified as a man. Just because I used a bit of feminine imagery doesn’t mean that I think of myself as being feminine in gender, or that others should think so either. So, again, you don’t need to use a title with me at all. But if you are going to use one, I would prefer that you address me as Mr. Paul.

Worship Leader: Oh, please forgive me. I will be sure to address and refer to you as Mr. Paul.

Paul: Thank you.

Scene Two [at the worship service that same night]

Worship Leader: Welcome, brothers and sisters, to our congregation’s worship service tonight. We are in for a special treat. We are honored to have with us the renowned apostle, Mr. Paul. I’m sure we are going to have a very blessed time. But before we begin, let us pray and ask God to be with us and bless us in this service.

[All the people in congregation bow their heads]

Worship Leader: “O, Mother God . . .”

[Paul does a face-palm]

Jerry Shepherd
March 24, 2018