I just visited juvenile court again this month. I needed to put a friend (one of our single mothers), at ease while we drove to an uncomfortable appointment.
This is a true story that I told her, and unfortunately, it is normal for us. (Please don’t read this if you are faint of heart or prudish.)
I told her;
The last time I was at Juvenile Court I thought that I was going to jail myself.
I was bringing another person to her son’s hearing. I was just concerned for her and trying to comfort her, thinking and acting all spiritual, and zealously wanting to know the right “God words” for every question. Such a giant for God...
We walked through the Court door (I’m not sure how my mind works, or what woke me up to a horrible fact), and must have visibly turned white as the blood drained from my head in horror.
You see, we held a church service at the Mental Health Association’s Peer Resource Center here in town. On any given evening, we would have 2 to 20 people. Often, Big John and I would sit there and twiddle our thumbs out of boredom. We’d create games like counting down to when certain people would explode certain expletives while playing pool in the other room, and what each individual’s expletive of choice was; we’d guess at where convoluted discussions would go, that we would eves drop on... Stuff like that. It is those boring times, that rest you, for when the circus comes to town—if you know what I mean.
Folks began to come in that Thursday, and we knew it was time to get serious. It was a decent size group. We solved the mysteries of life and enjoyed spirited conversation, but Randy was wide-eyed and quiet—scary quiet! I was reading, with my nose buried in my bible (unaware of the rest of the world), when a really big hand slams down on my bible in front of me, shocking me out of holy space. It was Randy, and he screamed, “take this *%#@^&-ing thing away from me, It’s killing me!!”
Under his hand was his crack pipe.
We hugged and prayed. The whole room joined us and we made some big promises to each other. Incidentally, Randy’s openness and vulnerability led others to share terrible stuff too. It was Christ. I told Randy that I’d dispose of the contraband later that night. The meeting ended, and I went home.
I used to be the house parent for a very difficult person. He is mentally retarded, with a narcissistic personality disorder (totally serious), and unbelievably addicted to rough gay porn. I made a deal with him that I didn’t want to see it, as his landlord didn’t either, nor the other folks from his agency, nor the plumber, nor... you get the picture. He had a huge amount, and also had this habit of leaving it out in the open, and the deal was what ever was left out when I showed up, I would confiscate and toss in the trash. Earlier that day, that was the case. Playing cards. Right there for everyone and God to see. I flipped them into my bag.
Here we are... Friday morning... walking up to the Juvenile Court door... Where I know there are metal detectors, and BAG SERCHES!! You guessed it... I slid the pipe into my man-bag with the porn cards! I can only tell you that I broke into a sweat that made my shoes slosh, and I could see no way out as my blood pressure dropped!
Realizing my slight miscalculation, I pulled the officer aside.
“Sir,” I said, “Do you believe in God?”
“Would you believe that I am a pastor?”
His sincere look was worrying. “Yes,” he said.
“I’ve got a story for you.”
I can only believe that he hadn’t laughed in years and was making up for lost time.
(A note to all in ministry, always, always, always carry your Pastoral Credentials with you!!)
I think my friend forgot her troubles temporarily, and I am the poster child for “Don’t let this happen to you!”