“Got cut off,” Arnold said, now that his cellphone was up and running again.  “What was I saying – probably nothing of importance.” 

     “Are you home?” I asked. 

     “Yeah, Irma let me back in.  Told her I had to juice my phone, so she relented.”

     “Good for her,” I said.  “So she doesn’t hold a grudge.”  

     “Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” said Arnold.  “She has a way of recalling every little spat we’ve ever had.”


     “You kidding?   She always puts her own spin on it.  But what were we talking about when my phone went dead?”

     “You asked if we still had the American flag in our church, and then your phone cut out before I could answer.”

     “So do you or don’t you?” he asked, as his cellphone crackled again.

     “Yes, we do.  Some churches have moved the flag out of the chancel and put it into the narthex, but we haven’t done that yet.”  

     “Why do those other churches do that?”  

     “Because Christianity is not bound to any one particular country.  And people from other nations who come to visit shouldn’t have to worship in front of a national symbol that is not their own.  Back in the 1930’s I wouldn’t have liked to go into a German church for worship in front of a Nazi flag.  The cross of Christ is the international Christian symbol, and it shouldn’t take second place to any other particular national flag.”

     “I get that,” Arnold said, “although I wouldn’t know a chancel from a narthex; but I get your drift.  But this whole discussion started when I asked your opinion about all those athletes taking the knee during the national anthem.”  

     “So what’s the big problem with that?” I asked.  

     “Come on,” Arnold said.  “You know what the President said about them – that they were all SOBs and should be kicked off their teams.  And Irma agrees – which got me kicked out of the house for a while.”

     “Do you think the President has ever taken the knee?” I asked. 

     “What?  Why ask a stupid question like that?”

     “So he’s never taken the knee?”

     “No, of course not – he is outraged by those that do.”

     “We take the knee all the time,” I said.

     “You do?  On Sundays, during the national anthem?”

     “No, on Sundays during worship, in front of the cross of Christ.”


     “it’s a sign of humility before our God, a sign of reverence before the cross.”

     “Well, I’ll be darned,” Arnold said.  “So you’re used to kneeling.”

     “Yes, to show a little humility.”

     “Why didn’t the President think of that?”

     “Maybe he’s never gone to a church where there’s kneeling.”

     “If he ever did, he’d probably never show up there again.” 

     And Arnold’s cellphone went dead again.