Timothy: Paul, you know how much I respect - and love - you, right? That you’re my father in God, not just my boss? And my best friend?
Paul: Sure, Tim, I know that. But it’s always nice to hear it.
Timothy: It’s just that I want to tell you something, and I don’t want you to take it the wrong way. I’ve got your best interests at heart, and the church’s too.
Paul: I know that too. Fire away.
Timothy: Well, some people say - not me, mind - that you’re too smart for your own good. Which is fine when you’re speaking with rabbis and philosophers, but in Imbecilius’ house? In fact, even he doesn’t understand you, and he’s got books by Stoics, so what hope for his wife and slaves? And the same goes for the rest of the congregation: most of the time they don’t know what you’re talking about. “Blah, blah, blah. Bleedin’ egghead!” That’s the first thing.
Paul: You mean there’s more?
Timothy: I’m afraid so. You’re always appealing to the scriptures. That’s fine for Jews - and of course Mum’s a Jew - but the Gentiles - like Dad - they think: “Jeez, give it a rest. You ought to be talking about Jesus - Isaiah’s been dead for hundreds of years. And what’s with the Hebrew?”
Paul: Is that it?
Timothy: I’m afraid not.
Paul: Holy golden cow! What else have I done?
Timothy: Controversy. Always the controversy. The cross, the law, glossolalia, freedom, marriage, meat, money - MAYHEM! You’re always pressing the hot-button issues. What’s a little circumcison between friends? Or a bit of indigestion at the agape? How can you be so naive? No wonder you’ve got so many enemies.
Paul: Yeah, it’s quite lonely sometimes being an apostle. Anything else?
Timothy: I’ve saved the worst for last.
Paul: Hate mail from Jimmy? Heckling from Pete?
Timothy: Worse: the Galatians have called for your resignation.
Paul: The Galatians! The ungrateful buggers.
Timothy: And I suspect the Philippians may follow.
Paul: Not the Philippians! They’re my first love in Greece.
Timothy: I know, and though I won’t say, “I told you so,” I’ve always said you can’t trust Europeans. So what are you going to do? You know no one will think the less of you if you go quietly. And I’m sure you’d get a professorship at Tarsus University - with tenure.
Paul: Tempting, but no. He wouldn’t let me even if I wanted to. As a matter of fact, he’s told me to write to the Romans, and if you think my preaching is dense and demanding, wait til you see this epistle: the commentaries are going to need commentaries. And for a laugh, he said, “Write it in Greek, not Latin.”
Timothy: Then you definitely ought to have a Plan B.
Paul: I do - Spain. But don’t get excited, Tim - I’m not talking the Costa del Sol. You’ll need a new pair of sandals - but lose the swimming trunks.
Timothy: Just one thing, Paul: please don’t talk to the media.