"Excuse me, sir. That's a nice car you have there."
"You think so? Thanks. I've had it for a couple of months now, and I love it."
"Is that the Lexus LS-10?"
"Yes, it came with the Luxury Package, and it drives like a dream."
"I'll bet. Say, that's an interesting bumper sticker you've got there."
"Oh . . . thanks."
"'My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter.' You must make a pretty penny as an apprentice carpenter to afford this car."
"Oh, heh, heh. You misunderstand. I'm not a carpenter; I'm an attorney. In this case, the Jewish Carpenter is Jesus Christ."
"Ah, my mistake. But how does that work, exactly?"
"What do you mean? I'm a Christian, and Jesus is my Lord. How does what work?"
"Well, I have a boss--she's not Jewish, though . . . I think she's Irish-Italian--anyway, when she tells me to do something, I have to do it."
"Sure, that's only normal."
"So your boss is the same way? If Jesus tells you to do something, you do it?"
"But he died a long time ago. How do you know what he wants you to do?"
"Well, we have his commands in the Bible, of course. But he didn't die--he rose again from the grave, and now he lives in my heart."
"Interesting . . . so if he ordered something in the Bible, you're supposed to obey it? Sort of like written orders from a commanding officer?"
"What happens if you don't obey the orders?"
"That would be disobedience, a sin against my Lord."
"And that's bad?"
"Of course! That would jeopardize my relationship with my Heavenly Father."
"So if Jesus said 'March!' you would do so or suffer the consequences."
"What if you disagree with the order?"
"Not gonna happen. Our Lord is all-knowing, and he always knows what's best."
"Even though you can't see the value in the command, you're supposed to obey it anyway?"
"That's right. I might pray for the wisdom to see why He wants me to do something, to help shore up my faith. Usually, though, I receive the blessings after I obey, and I end up asking myself why I dragged my feet so long. It's almost spooky how it works like that."
"That sounds fascinating."
"Would you like to join me in church this Sunday?"
"Oh, no. One boss is enough for me. I would like to make one request, however."
"Give me two percent of your annual income for the rest of your life."
"What? What're you, a panhandler?"
"Oh no, I'm not hassling you for spare change. I have a decent job. But I want two percent of your annual income for the rest of your life."
"Are you out of your mind? I'll do no such thing."
"Well, now I'm confused. You just finished saying that you obey the commands of your Jewish Carpenter boss, and now you're about to disobey one."
"I hardly think so. Jesus may have commanded me to help the poor, but you don't look like you're bad off, and I give to my church for charity works."
"Well, like I said, I don't consider myself poor. But that's not the point. Jesus ordered you to give to me."
"Oh he did no such thing."
"Do you have a Bible?"
"No, I don't have one with--"
"That's okay, I happen to have a pocket New Testament right here. Ah, here we are. Matthew Chapter 5, verse 42: 'Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.'"
"That's ridiculous, that's not what that means."
"I don't understand. Jesus is ordering you to give to anyone who asks. I'm asking for only two percent of your annual income."
"If I gave to every two-bit charity with a hand out, I'd be impoverished."
"I would say so. But are you questioning your orders from your boss?"
"No, of course not."
"It sounds like you are. You said you would never disagree with the order because your boss doesn't give bad ones, you said that if you disobey the order you'd be committing a sin, and you said that you sometimes feel better about obeying the order afterwards. So what's the problem?"
"You're the problem, that's what! I only give to those in true need."
"But the order wasn't, 'Give to those in need.' It was, 'Give to those who ask.' It won't be hard. A successful attorney like you probably makes more than six figures. A few thousand dollars a year won't bankrupt you. Perhaps you could trade in your Lexus for a Honda to make up the difference."
"Look, you. Christianity is a lot more than just following orders. It's about a relationship--that's what's important."
"But your bumper sticker says that the Jewish Carpenter is your boss, not your friend. Aren't you disobeying a direct order from your boss?"
"That's not what that means, and you know it."
"It sure sounds like it to me. Is this a bad order, or is it a good order that you are going to disobey?"
"I don't suppose you give to everyone who asks."
"Of course not, that would be silly. I'm sure that would leave me homeless in no time. But then my boss hasn't ordered me to do that. If she did, I would resign and find a new boss. What's your excuse?"
"This conversation is ridiculous."
"Well, if you ever change your mind, here's my e-mail address that's linked to my Paypal account. You can have your bank make a monthly transfer and receive the blessings of your obedience, just like you said . . . or you could find a new boss and start living your life like a rational adult."