Sunday, August 4, 2013

Super Piety

Be not righteous over much; Ecclesiastes 7:16

I went from a quiet job making flavor extracts and wrestling barrels and drums, to a 13-1/2 acre, 329 room motel and night club complex.

My first night on the job I was called to a situation where two bellboys were holding some would be thieves at gunpoint with their own owls head revolvers. When I went to pick up my belt radio the boss had left a note. "You may shoot the following people." Names were attached. He had added, "Please don't shoot them in front of the curved glass by the reception desk, it was very expensive." This kind of set the tone of what was to follow.

In the three years I was to work there I held people at gun point, wrote my first arrest warrant and gave oxygen to a man already dead. The life squad came quickly and sized him up. As they drove away they did not use sirens or lights. They knew he was dead.

My partner and I drove a waitress to her car. A few nights later she had a fatal wreck. She was either drunk or went to sleep. A section of guard rail came through the windshield and cut her in two. My partner said school kids taunted her children, "Your mother got cut in two."

I worked with all kinds, including born again Christians. There were two orchestras and a Mexican trio. There were three liquor licenses. Some nights the place pulsed with sound and activity.

A young receptionist had been offered $30 and a bottle of booze to have sex with a patron. He gave his room number to her. Her friends said she was pondering the offer. I felt I should intervene. I told her, "You know I never say things like this, but you really look stunning tonight, with your black dress and pearls. Any man would be proud to have you on his arm."

This was out of character for me, but she glowed and said, "If you came in here to make me feel good, you succeeded." She did not go to the guy's room. A little after this, she met a young policeman, a real gentleman. To see them together was to know they loved one another.

So why all this biographical material? I want to contrast this immersion into a little, oft times, corrupt world with my experiences with super pious people. They may have their place, but they are not for me. I can appreciate honest sinners and broken hearted people a lot more.

J. Vernon McGee said, "If you visit a church where the people use a different sounding voice and act super pious, for God's sake get out of there!" I know what he meant. I feel the same way.

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