Killers and Criminals

Last night I was leading some songs during the bible study out at the prison. I was trying to get the guys to sing the song in a round, but I couldn't figure when the second, echoing part should come in. We kept messing it up. Finally one of the guys spoke up.

"We're all killers here," he said. "We've killed enough. We don't need to kill this poor song."

Point taken! We moved on to another song.

A year ago Jana and I were leaving Freedom Fellowship. The crowd at Freedom is, shall we say, a diverse group. And as we exited the building we encountered a police officer waiting by the door.

"Oh. Hello!" said a surprised Jana.

"Hello," said the officer. "Sorry to surprise you. I'm just waiting for someone inside."

Jana and I wished him a good evening and walked to the car.

Strolling along I quipped:

"You know you've been to church when the police are outside waiting to arrest someone."

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3 thoughts on “Killers and Criminals”

  1. What a stark, yet beautiful picture of what Jesus meant for the Kingdom to be!

    I am in my mid-sixties now, so I can tell this without the embarrassment I would have had when I was younger. But when I was twenty one, I was stopped for driving while intoxicated, spent a night in jail, and had my name and offense reported the police file page of the local newspaper; and out of habit, I went to church the next Sunday, yet totally mortified. Many eyes were fixed on me that morning, but only one person came up after services, hugged me and said he loved me.

    I am not lashing out at the rest. They were good people, kind people. Yet, there was something about being in the church, and still is, that shocks us when someone falls off that religious pedestal into muck we call "reality". And the truth is, before that I was one who would have been just as shocked.

    We do not pay very good attention to whom Jesus invited into the Kingdom. Our focus is on our culture, on those like us, on those who behave themselves. After all, a kingdom of such is one that is uncomplicated and easy to maintain. Having the "police at the gates" is what challenges us to flip our minds as to what the good news really is.

  2. This one hits close to home especially since I'm a Houston police officer on a gang unit who also attends an inner city church. At this church I've sat next to and spoke with a man I arrested a week before, but the most humbly experience came when first started to attend there 6 years ago. I was on my beat and saw a group of guys who were flying there colors ( gang term for bandanas in pockets) on a corner that they didn't belong. In my hopes of keeping things quiet I stopped spoke to them ran them and saw their criminal history and these were not individuals anyone would say were upstanding citizens. Well one became a little rude and belligerent in which I became a little rude back and we had a conversation of what would happen if I saw him on that corner again. It was that next Sunday that this same gang member walked into the church and that's when the guilt filled me. Guys at work know where I go to church and have asked me why I go to a "ghetto" church or why I go to church where I work and my usual response is: because I think Jesus would go that Church.

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