Not Working - F
This material is copyright, 2003, Uther Pendragon. All rights reserved. I specifically grant the right of downloading and keeping one electronic copy for your personal reading so long as this notice is included. Reposting requires previous permission.
If you have any comments or requests, please e-mail them to me at email@example.com.
All persons here depicted, except public figures depicted as public figures in the background, are figments of my imagination and any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
"Nice folks," David said. She couldn't tell whether he'd missed her meaning or was trying to be funny.
"What did you think about the sermon?"
"Let me look something up before I go into this," David said -- which was bad news. "Do you have a Strong's?"
A huge concordance? She didn't need one; the paperback was more than she used. He was the New Testament scholar, after all. She wasn't. "Cruden's. I'll get it for you when we get back."
She'd changed into comfortable clothes when he caught up with her. He handed her a Bible opened to the Old Testament. "Read verses 24 and 25." It was Deut 23: 24 - 25:
"If you go into your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in a container. If you go into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor's standing grain."
"Oh my God!" she said.
"The reason that the Pharisees didn't raise the issue of the Disciples eating grain they had picked from somebody else's field," David said, "is that this was perfectly legal."
"I don't mind your knowing more than I do. After all...." He had been her teacher in seminary. "But I got this idea from one of those sermon-starter books."
"That's a problem I've pointed out about myself. We New Testament types don't know the Old Testament well enough. Why do you think I read a chapter a night?"
"Because you need to know everything." She knew that she needed skills and experience, but she'd figured that she had enough facts -- except particulars relating to the ministry -- when she'd graduated from college. And she figured Garrett- Evangelical had given her all the facts she needed on those particulars. She could remember some classmates who thought it had given them way too much. David, on the other hand, regarded his PhD studies as lessons in how to learn.
"I'll never know everything. Some days I suspect I'll never know much.... Look. This isn't working."
"Commenting on your sermons on Sunday afternoon."
"You just have another agenda for Sundays." Not that she objected. Sunday evening and Monday were her times off. Making love to her husband was the best use she could think of for the time.
"Look. I'm not a professor of hermenuetics. I'm a content guy, a professor of New Testament."
"You know more about preaching than I do." She was in her second year, he had spent four years as a pastor.
"Not a hell of a lot."
"And I won't make that mistake again."
"You also won't preach on that text for another three years. I really doubt you'd repeat that point, anyway. Why don't you let me hear your sermon before everybody else does? Thursday night?"
"You want me to prepare earlier." He'd said that, and he was -- as he usually was -- right. He wasn't always practical, though.
"Not just that.... But, you know, if you had one-tenth the respect for me as a preacher you claim to have, you'd at least listen to my advice on preparation."
That was a point, but she was overworked anyway. She was a good counselor, a mediocre -- at best -- preacher. Why should she put her time in where it would contribute least to her congregation. "I don't have as much time as you want me to take."
"But I'm not asking for more time, really. I'm asking for better-distributed time. Try it out for me, will you? A prep time on Tuesday or Wednesday. Three weeks out of four that will take only the extra twenty minutes of running through it once. The fourth week, you'll be glad you took the time."
"I'll try." She really would. He was more experienced and a better preacher than she was. His idea of their studying the texts for the coming Sunday together had been a real help. Besides, he was usually fairly accepting of her rejection of something she had actually tried.
And some of David's suggestions on later Thursdays were a help, though she didn't know how much she was learning. Then, too, even the parts for which he had no comments went more smoothly for having been rehearsed once.
On the other hand, she didn't feel terribly romantic on Thursday after a late choir rehearsal, going through the sermon, and then listening to his suggestions. David, who was good at picking things up, stopped making advances then, too. Or, maybe, he wanted to save up for Friday night. Then, with the Saturday dry spell guaranteed, David always proceeded to seduce her. And quite welcome seductions they were, too.
The Thursday her sermon ran much too long, she felt ambivalent. It was better that David had heard it alone instead of hearing it along with the entire congregation. On the other hand, sermons like this were one of the reasons she felt inadequate. "Well," she defended herself, "I tightened as much as I could."
"You tightened too much," he suggested. He was always a surprise. "You have two ideas there; choose one of them. If you want, preach the other point the next week. You're married to me, you didn't swear to love, honor, and obey the Lectionary."
She had an answer to that sally. "I didn't swear to love, honor, and obey you."
"Campbell betrayed me. I bribed him to put it in."
"It's a thought, though." He was being utterly silly about the wedding vows, but he made sense about the sermon. About the two sermons, really.
Sunday, she preached only about the woman who touched Jesus' robe.
After church, they had dinner at the Swensons'. "I'm glad I married you," she said on the drive back.
"I am, too," David replied. "If we'd just shacked up, the Swensons might respect you less as their pastor."
The man could be utterly silly. "Sometimes, I'm glad I married you. I think today's sermon was well-received. Much better than what I started with."
"I think today's sermon was very good."
"Much better than what I started with. You didn't say that, but you meant it."
"I meant that it was very good," David said. "Don't sell yourself short."
She had things to sort out, and David had supper to cook. He took care of her on Sunday. A little of it was that he wanted her rested and in a good mood for their bed times; a little of it was that she worked hard for the service, and then had to go visit instead of collapsing; a lot of it was that he was a considerate man.
After they'd finished supper and shoved their plates aside, David read the Gospel lesson for the next week. "And what struck you for today?" he asked.
"Everybody who knew him as a kid couldn't believe he spoke with authority. What struck you?"
"The people had such little faith that not even Jesus could perform much in the way of miracles." And, since that was what had struck him the day before while he was preparing, that was what his questions were about. She considered his issue; she considered her own; but Jairus's daughter still intrigued her.
"So," she asked him, "should I preach on this or go on with Jairus's daughter?"
"Whichever you feel your congregation needs to hear," he said. "And there are two more lessons, as well. You're the preacher; I'm merely a consultant."
That was a gross misstatement. "That's not all you are."
"No. But that can wait 'til we're done in the kitchen."
She hadn't meant that he was a lech, but he was. "Honeymoon's over. You didn't use to wait 'til we were done in the kitchen." That comment was tempting fate.
It was also tempting David -- which had been her intent. "I didn't?" he asked. She braced herself. He hugged her with his hands on her rump. As his tongue invaded her mouth, she felt him start to harden against her belly.
"Did I act like that?" he asked when they had to breathe.
"Something like that."
"Extremely naughty of me. Independence UMC provides this room for the preparation of its pastor's meals, not for canoodling." Where did David get those words?
"I'm sure that nobody on the Trustees intends this for canoodling."
"That's why they provide all those bedrooms upstairs."
Well, one of those bedrooms was comfortably heated and furnished. They hurried to finish their chores so they could head for it.
David stripped her slowly. At first, she'd feared the intimacy of marriage would desensitize him to her times of nakedness. It hadn't happened. He still kissed each newly- revealed piece of skin. Naked, she slipped into bed and turned on the bedside lamp while he removed his clothes, a lot faster than he'd removed hers. When he was in bed beside her, he kissed her sweetly.
Then romance, which they did feel, made way for the lust which they -- she, at least -- felt more strongly just then. David kissed slowly down her torso while he stroked the rest of her body. This was delightful at first. His courtship had revealed new erogenous zones she hadn't been aware of until then, and marriage had exercised them in ways she hadn't believed possible.
Soon, though, she needed more. And he gave her more, sucking her nipple and stroking her thighs. A little later than she wanted it but soon enough that her desire didn't turn to annoyance, he progressed to her mound and then to her lower lips.
Soon he was kissing her thighs on the way to her mound. David had made very clear that he enjoyed giving her a climax orally before going on to total sex. Given the chance, he'd give her one climax after another. Which would be delightful at the time, but would totally wring her out. With Monday as her day off, though, she would really enjoy a double-decker. And he'd convinced her that he would enjoy it, too. "Oh, yes, David," she said as he licked her lower lips.
He worked up slowly to the completion. She was writhing, feeling intense pleasure and nearly-as-intense agony. She held his head against her to speed his action. Then all her sensations came together.
She soared, rising and rising but never leaving his pleasure- giving mouth. Until she crashed and the mouth was suddenly too much. She pushed it away.
He moved to cuddle her, and -- as she slowly returned to Earth -- she returned to the haven of his arms.
She enjoyed the comfort, enjoyed even more the knowledge that they weren't done for the night.
"Ready?" he finally asked.
"Oh, yes." She was ready for more than he began, really. The kiss was delightful; so were his kisses on her neck and breasts. The kisses on her lower lips were even more delightful and delightfully arousing. She needed to go beyond that, though. "David," she said.
She pulled him upwards on her body by his shoulders, and then guided him inside her. How she needed this. Life! He entered her, filled her, completed her. "Love you," he said.
He moved over her, moved within her arms and legs, moved within her. "Mmm, yes." The feeling was voluptuous, his hands on her breasts were comforting while they were arousing. As delightful as it felt, something in the tension of her body -- something in the force within her that drove her hips up against his -- signaled that there would be more.
And, then, there was more. There was infinitely more as she climaxed under David and around him. "Jen," David said, "Jennifer." His heat throbbed within her warmth.
She clasped him weakly to her, a welcome weight. Soon after it had become unwelcome, he moved off. She cuddled up against him. He tucked her in.
Wrapped in the covers, wrapped in his arms, she fell asleep easily. She woke to the alarm and David's reminder: "Not your day. Go back to sleep." Her bladder woke her later; her stomach woke her a third time. Her breakfast was large and slow.
She ran a hot bath and sank into it. The parsonage bathroom, whatever its faults, had a tub which could easily hold David, let alone her. Occasionally, it held them both. Those were pleasant thoughts.... The chill of the water woke her, and she washed and rinsed briefly. She dressed in jeans and sweatshirt to do the week's chores. She didn't eat lunch until two, and then it was light.
David was good about sharing the cooking, especially considering his murderous commute. Monday dinner, though, was her responsibility; and she enjoyed making it special. Most special meals on other week nights were takeouts David bought in town.
As the Administrative Board and Council of Ministries met that night, she changed back into her pastor clothes before David got home. He looked frazzled coming in the door, although less frazzled after the kiss. They even had time to discuss next Sunday's Old Testament lesson, all about King David's not being permitted to build the Temple. "If Nathan didn't know what God wanted," said (her) David, "study can only take me so far. I should be open to a new message, and I'm afraid I'm not particularly open."
He studied more for his current project while she was gone, but the dishes were clean and almost all put away when she got back. "This pot goes down here," she told him, putting it in a lower cupboard. It really didn't matter; he'd done the bulk of the work. That night was a time for cuddling, not for sex.
Tuesday, she took a tape recorder on her drive to the two hospital visits to the east of the church. The mike was sensitive enough that it was able to get most of her words while it lay on the seat. On the drive back, she about decided to use Jairus's daughter for the next sermon. She should keep an open mind for the Epistle lesson. The discussion after supper didn't change her mind, though. Not even David could make the "thorn in my flesh" an attractive subject for a sermon. Now his thorn in her flesh was an attractive experience later that night, not that she'd dare preach on that.
Wednesday, a cold front came through. She visited County Hospital, almost due west of the church. This time, a rough sermon -- albeit too long and full of pauses and backtracking -- filled the tape.
Wednesday night was a Trustees' meeting. David greeted her with a kiss when she got home. In their bedroom later, his kisses traveled downward from her mouth. Mindful of his promise, though, he stopped kissing her clitoris before her arousal led to a spasm.
His entry was a delight. His motions led to greater delights. These led to spasms, his as well as hers. She cuddled up against him for a restful night. How had she managed to stand a lonely bed for so many years?
On Thursday night, the only suggestion David made on her sermon was to omit the mention of him. His erection pressed against her rump as they cuddled in bed. She almost suggested doing something about it, but she wouldn't feel like it on nights he would advise drastically revising her sermon. And -- when he thought she should -- she didn't want him to figure that there would be a penalty.
Friday, though, she brought her desire from the previous night to bed with her. Maybe he did, too. Whatever it did for the heart, (temporary) abstinence made the genitals grow fonder.
An already-written sermon certainly made Saturday much less hectic. "What are you working on so hard?" she asked David at lunch.
"The book on Paul's position on marriage, sort of...."
"Thought you'd got that nearly finished. Experience of marriage changing your mind?"
"Not quite the marriage. More the premarital counseling. There is a lot more there than Paul's teachings."
"I thought," she said "you disapproved of innovations."
"Not innovations, per se. Marriage was a preexisting institution. Paul taught how to relate to that relationship in a Christian way. Other Christians have tried to do the same. And, of course, the institution itself changed -- partly in response to those teachings. Which meant that the response had to evolve."
She looked at her husband fondly. He was a bundle of curiosity on two legs. Everybody else accepted -- or rejected -- the rules; David asked 'why?' "Ever hear the story of the Chinese walking past a fixed point?" she asked.
"They'd never get past, since more would be born in one day than would walk past in one day. This isn't quite so bad. I got the classical background -- needed it for Paul. I'm getting on top of the medieval background and the rules of the German tribes that informed it.... I should have consulted you, though."
"I don't know anything about the Middle Ages -- nothing you don't anyway."
"Not on what," David said, "on whether. The original book would have done more for my career, which is part of your future."
"Remember when you put in the rules that I decided on my duties as pastor? You put in something about your deciding on your duties as teacher, as well. You put that wrong." Which wasn't quite what she meant.
"You're not a teacher. Rather, you're less a teacher than a scholar. You have to decide what you're called to do and called to be as a scholar. You've backed me; I'll back you."
"You're a dear!"
She was only echoing him. For that matter, he was living a horrible distance from Garrett because of her. "I have a good example before me."
The sermon Sunday sounded good while she was preaching it, which was reassuring if not a very reliable indicator of how it would affect others.
Steve and Melanie Olufs, who were their hosts that Sunday, even mentioned the sermon during dinner. "You think we should look after everybody?" Steve asked.
"Well, yes," she answered. "But that wasn't what I said. I said that Jesus told you to. The church doesn't pay me to give my opinions; they pay me to preach the Scriptures."
"And," put in Melanie "this Sunday you surely did. I don't think of you like Cathy Mitchell does, and -- please, God -- I don't want to have her reasons; but your word this morning sure made me think."
"Y'know, you're good for me," she commented on the way back. Having the sermon critique on Thursday not only improved the sermons; it also speeded her relaxation when the dinner-visit was over. "Everybody always says that they enjoyed my sermons. 'Enjoyed'! I don't preach so they can enjoy themselves. But damn seldom do they say that the sermon made them think. And Steve got the point. And the comment about Cathy Mitchell, too."
"Now, that was none of my doing," David claimed. "Barely spoke with the woman."
"You spoke with Henry, though. Spoke with him when I couldn't."
"Well, I was another pair of ears that night. You were doing the main caring."
"You were a rock that night, David. I'm glad I married you."
"I'm glad I married you, too."
And she could believe he was glad on Sunday afternoons. "You're just saying that 'cause you want my body."
"Well, that is one reason I'm glad I married you."
Back at the parsonage, they went their separate ways until suppertime. David pedaled his exercycle and worked more on his book; he had a book stand over the front of the exercycle so he could read and exercise at the same time. Then he cooked supper. She changed into comfortable clothes and sorted out some others for David to take to the cleaners for her. She figured out her schedule for the next week, and entered it all on the appointment calendar. She even put in her lunch and dinner times. She'd learned her lesson the first time she'd filled all the time slots with real appointments so there was no room for meals.
The Gospel lesson David read after dinner involved sending out the disciples. She was struck with the instruction that they were to shake the dust off their sandals to mark places where they were not received.
That wasn't where David zeroed in. She could see his point about the modern emphasis on preparation as opposed to Jesus' forbidding of the least preparation. She wasn't sure that she could see the point well enough to preach on it, though. Maybe that was a sermon she should hear, instead of one she should preach. Not that David was ready to preach that one, either, according to his comments.
"You sure you won't mind if I don't follow your lead on the sermon subject?" she asked when the dishwasher was loaded and had started.
"In the first place," David answered, "that's what struck me yesterday. Even if I were preaching next week, there is no guarantee that I would preach on that. In the second place, you're the one appointed here. Freedom of the pulpit and all that. Though John Knox would be shocked to have a woman filling any pulpit. If I can help, I'm pleased. If you found me restrictive, I'd be disappointed."
He was always so worried about her keeping her independence. But another point was even more important. "You were a great help on this morning's sermon." And she gave him a kiss in thanks. So what if she enjoyed the kiss, too? That didn't mean it wasn't in thanks.
Upstairs, they removed each others clothes despite the chill. When she was topless, though, she broke away to take off her own shoes and jeans. She shivered as she stripped off her underclothes. The bed wasn't any warmer. Even David's skin was cool when he joined her. His heat of the kiss compensated.
When he was kneeling between her legs, though, she stopped the action to rearrange the blankets. She sealed off all the holes which allowed chilly breezes in, hoping this didn't deny air to David. If it did, he didn't complain. He enthusiastically resumed kissing her thighs. Soon, she wasn't worrying about the chill any more.
She was worrying about David's slow teasing, instead. At this pace, dawn might come before his lips reached her lower ones, and she needed that now, had needed it for hours. "David," she said, "David, please."
He relented enough to lick her lips. It was bliss for a while, but she soon pulled him directly against her mound to get more. A lovely thrill ran through her. David's mouth was just about to take her over the top, but she wanted her husband in her. She pulled him up by his hair.
He still kissed her breasts on his way up, but then he was right at her entrance. She put him just where she needed him, saying "Oh, yes!"
And it was yes, and became more and more yes as he moved within her. She went wild under him as the fire consumed her.
"Jen!" he exclaimed as he shoved totally inside and met her climax with his own.
She had his welcome weight for a minute. A spent woman, totally possessed by her man. They couldn't sleep like that, though. He moved aside, and she nestled against him. He was warm against her back and rump. His shins were cool against her heels, though.
He carefully tucked her in and went back to holding her. "I love you," he said, unnecessarily. His actions had communicated that more clearly than any words. Nice though it was to hear the words.
"You, too. You're not just a good advisor about sermons." He was also ardent, and a comfort. And, especially right then, warm.
The End Not Working Uther Pendragon firstname.lastname@example.org 2003/10/14 Thanks to Neneh for editing this. These same events from David's perspective, can be read in: David's Experience Some further adventures of Jen with David: "Covering" The first adventures of Jen with David: "Blake" Another story about another couple strugling with some of the same issues: "Holiday" The index to the entire Gjt series is: God Joined Together The index to almost all my stories is: Index to Uther Pendragon's website