[Note: This is part of my series on Spokesmen’s Club  in the UCG Portland congregation.]
Before tonight, my previous experience with table topics was not a particularly good one. It was around the time of the Strawberry Festival, an annual agricultural festival in Plant City, Florida (where I grew up), and having grown up thinking of the Strawberry Festival as a place to listen to country music, eat strawberry shortcake, and ride carnival rides. Also, the parade was a place where I practiced mischief by throwing “poppers” at Shriner’s cars and vehicles of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. In short, I thought of the event as fun, but this was not the way the other members of the Speaker’s Club in Tampa remembered the event. Of course, they had a good reason for not remembering the Strawberry Festival fondly, since a previous pastor in Tampa (who I had never known, not growing up in that congregation) had set up the event as a fundraiser involving picking up garbage, which apparently at times meant finding homeless people sleeping among the rubbish. From the upset comments of my fellow club members, it sounds as if the event had been rather traumatizing for them.
Nothing this time was even close to that uncomfortable. As it was, I was able to get everyone involved (and some people as many as three times), and found that at least a few questions received a great deal of attention. Oddly enough, I found that the sports questions I asked about college football and the NFL were not exactly very popular, as I had thought they would be. Other questions, though, like a question on the Affordable Care Act as well as on South Sudan and the Northwest Weekend that we recently had , drew a fair amount of attention. At the end, I had a question in mind about the tension between evangelism and respect for authority that was difficult for the people answering the question to understand, probably because of the wording of the question. All in all it was a very enjoyable evening, though. Hopefully everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. The speeches were particularly excellent as well, which definitely helped matters as well. Even if I did ask complicated questions, though, I got high praise for my smiling and friendliness, and willingness to leave behind questions that weren’t being answered.
 See, for example:
 These have all been the subject of blog entries as well:
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