(This makes more sense if you read Matthew 9:13 and its surrounding passage first)
So I have taken to inadvertently not caring how I microagress a senior priest in my church. And I need to fix that, I know.
But there are really two camps in the Episcopal Church, and therefore two very distinct Eyebrow Raises.
The first camp is the kind that could correctly identify every kind of spoon in Downton Abbey, as well as having aunts that resemble the various high class personages intriguing amongst themselves in every way. I refer to them as the Captain Peacock and Hyacinth Bucket brigade, and the infighting to get on the committee to host the Church Antiques Show And Benefit is rather a kinder but P.G. Wodehouse version of Game Of Thrones. Its eyebrow raise is the Captain Peacock variety, an expression of righteous indignation at some social faux pas.
The other camp is the rabble like us who don't show up in Brooks Brothers and nice hats, the librarian with the Billie Jean King haircut who wears NPR shirts and walks to the beat of her own drummer - a fabulous teacher/lawyer/all around badass who was never supposed to live past the age of 7 but has kept on with sheer ovary power to be nothing but a pain in the balls to the people who need it, etc. We dig the liberal theology, and we represent the adage "the strength of the Episcopal Church is that it is open to everyone. The weakness of the Episcopal Church is that it is open to everyone." Our eyebrow raise is that of Frankie Howerd because there's nothing that we like more than a bit of healthy self-deprecation.
The senior priest is a man of the former camp - a well heeled, blue blooded man from a long line of Very Very Rich People. His bishop is a man of color and a former Navy SEAL who high-fived a six foot two guy with a giant blue mohawk that walked in. It's that kind of church, I love it.
But I found out that one of the priests had had two homeless people thrown out, as well as a parishioner who tried to inform the police (who were basically hired in to get the Almost Stinky People to move along) that they were doing nothing wrong and weren't stealing the cutlery but helping themselves to the ONE cup of coffeee everyone else was, before attending a service. I don't know of anyone else there who remotely would do that. If I knew for sure, or had any proof, I'd be a much more obvious pain in the balls about it, and take that right up the hierarchy.
Anyway, they're installing a new pipe organ in the back chapel. I politely ducked out of the service while said senior priest was removing his outer robing with the help of a senior acolyte out of politeness - so that he wouldn't have the awkwardness of having to pretend he was cool with me being there and shake my hand. But as I did so, I met one of the rabble, a fabulously gay old man who's living next door and therefore does just about every lay minister job going. Acolyte? Thurifer? Crucifer? Chalice Bearer? Eucharistic Visitor? There all day, every Sunday. But he's like me, very much one to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comforted.
Within earshot of this priest, the conversation went as follows:
HIM: "Have you been in Mikell??" (Chapel)
ME: "Mike who?"
HIM: (Pause with VERY cheeky eyebrow raise, ooh matron) "Wanna see it?"
ME: "Ooh yes please. Show me your organ."
HIM: (Smiling, running with the ball) "Absolutely. It's only halfway in, but I think it's more visually interesting to look at that way."
ME: "Is the back entrance going to be out of commission for long afterwards?"
HIM: "No, not really. They started with wood pipe, the metal is going in next week. Delicate affair, I can tell you."
The senior priest heard the whole thing, despairingly. He had the other eyebrow raise, and that skyward suffering look. "Why, why are they parsihioners HERE?"
It's not a hotel for saints, mate.