The last few posts have been pretty serious. I think it’s time for a break.
I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences, and I like to tell stories. I think every so often, when we need a little break here, I’ll tell about an interesting experience.
When I was in college, the school required four semesters of physical education as part of its general education requirements. They had lots of offerings in the area, and for my four semesters I took two semesters of judo, a semester of karate (shorin-ji, to be precise), and a semester of security training. (Seriously.)
In those days there was an outreach group that used judo as an evangelistic tool, and after I got my brown belt I joined them. The Judo Gentlemen. (Judo means “the gentle way” in Japanese, in reference to the fact that you could practice it without hurting the other student, unlike jiu-jitsu.)
Some years later—I was in Seminary and a teaching assistant in English—we scheduled a meeting in Canton, NC. It was a church banquet; we’d entertain them with a funny skit, and one of us—that would be me—would bring a short devotional.
As we were en route, I realized that I had miscalculated the drive time, and we were going to be late. So I did what any good steward would do—I adjusted the speed to solve the problem.
The highway patrolman clocked me at 71 in a 55.
When he approached the car, which I had borrowed from my roommate from Ohio (and thus had Ohio plates), he asked for my license and registration. Couldn’t find the registration. I handed him my Massachusetts driver’s license. He asked where I was from.
I said Greenville.
It went downhill from there.
The fine was $36, $20 plus a buck for every mph over the limit. (That was a long time ago, friends.)
Though I was in a 3-piece suit, most of the guys were in their judogis, which have no pockets. I had my wallet, of course, and I think maybe 2 of the other guys did as well. We had $32 among us.
We followed the officer in to the Buncombe County Magistrate’s Office, where they told me that I’d need to stay until the guys could get the extra 4 bucks. Something about reciprocity between states.
One of the team members, Bobby, was an officer in the Marine Reserves. He tried to get me released on his recognizance, like he would do with Marines having too much alcohol on leave.
I sent the guys on, appointed one of them to play the clown in the skit instead of me, and Bobby said he’d preach. Also instead of me.
I don’t recall what I was planning to preach on.
The team went on to Canton and planned to take an offering to get $4 to get the originally scheduled preacher out of the pokey on the way home.
The police took my shoes, belt, wallet, and Bible (it’s a sword, you know) and put me in the drunk tank, which was relatively crowded on that Friday night. I settled in and made friends with a fellow who was in for driving moonshine down from North Carolina. The others, being in various stages of inebriation, weren’t much for conversation.
At one point one of them roused himself from the floor, looked blearily at the (bullet-proof) window, and decided to break out. He got going as fast as he could in the limited space, hit the window with his head, and immediately resumed his original position on the floor.
I’d preached in jail a number of times. This was my first time as a client. I suppose I could have preached, but your credibility takes quite a hit when you’re a client rather than a visitor.
After about 4 hours (seemed like a week), the guys came back with the $4. The desk clerk had some trouble finding my things—they were filed under “Clinger”—but soon we were on our way home.
I walked into my apartment, where my roommate was up studying. He glanced up and said, “How did it go?”
Oh, you know, the usual.
To this day I believe that I’m the only BJU faculty member ever to have been incarcerated while on the faculty and still be employed. But in my defense I must add that I was never actually convicted. Of a felony.
This story is entirely true. If you don’t believe me, check with my roommate. His name is Dr. Dan Nelson, and he’s the administrator of Bob Jones Academy.