Did you hear the one about...?

Christopher Idle  |  Features
Date posted:  1 Jun 2008
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Anyone heard a sermon recently on justice and mercy? Featuring the senior lady sitting for her portrait? ‘I expect you to do me justice’, she says to the artist. ‘What you need, madam, is not justice but mercy!’ Ho, ho; pompous old bat gets come-uppance from smart bloke.

There is another way of telling it. Here the portrait-painter says, ‘Madam, I’ll try to do you justice’. She answers, ‘What I need, young man, is not justice but mercy!’ Spot the difference; realistic grandma corrects obsequious male — with style.

Preachers: Are your stories gracious and kind, or do they emit a slightly sexist whiff? Whether in set pieces or casual conversation, some danger-signals indicate when teasing becomes tiresome.

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