It happened in an independent coffee shop two blocks from my office in Chicago. I noticed that all the barristas were new.
Barrista: Yeah, there are new owners. Same coffee. New owners.
Me: I love your coffee. Nice to meet you. (Even though we hadn’t exactly met.)
Barrista: Do you work around here?
Me: Yes, the Rice Building, where the Giordano’s is.
Barrista: What do you do?
This is the moment when I have several options, as I assume that no one has any idea what a Presbytery is. I could say that I work for a non-profit. I could say that I work for a church office. Or I could go for it and say “I work for The Presbytery of Chicago.”
Me: I work for the Presbytery of Chicago.
Barrista: Is that PCA or PCUSA?
Me (in my head): What???!!!
Me (out loud): Seriously? You know the difference?
Barrista: Of course I do.
Me (in my head): This guy is a total dork.
Me (out loud): Look at me. What do you think? PCA or PCUSA?
[Note: If you are not a church dork yourself, the Presbyterian Church in America does not ordain people with female parts.]
Barrista: You could be a secretary.
Me: Yes, I could.
And then I said something I never thought I would ever say out loud in my entire life because 1) I still can’t believe this happened and 2) there are very few people on the planet who care.
Me: Actually, I’m an ordained pastor. And I’m one of the co-moderators of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA.
Barrista: No @*!t?
Me: It’s true. I even have a card.
Barrista: I’m PCA. My name’s T___.
Me: Hi. I’m Jan.
Then we talked about our sameness and our different-ness. And he makes an excellent mocha. As AAM says, “Every day’s a school day.”
Image is the Spanish and Korean side of my GA card. I would have shown the English side but I don’t need that many phone calls.