Jono called the cops?
I had two things happen to me yesterday, well, actually, lots of stuff happened to me yesterday, but it was these two things that were particularly interesting. If I had to make a list of things I would never expect to happen to me while working at a church for a summer, these wouldn’t be on it, in part because they’re so off the wall, that I wouldn’t even expect to not expect them (if that makes any sense.)
Yesterday, while acting in my official capacity as an all-mighty intern at Saint Paul, I:
- Had to call 911 and request a police officer to respond to the church.
- Got called an “F-ing college punk.”
Without going into too much detail, yesterday afternoon I was at the church after regular office hours. I was sitting in on a meeting between our church treasurer and a few accountants from a local firm in one room, and two local music teachers were giving private lessons in other rooms.
After a bit, a local homeless man whom we had helped on Sunday afternoon came in looking for the Pastor. Basically, despite being told that he had gotten all we could give for the time being, he wanted more. This man has a reputation of being belligerent and occasionally aggressive, and has worn out his welcome at several local churches for these reasons. He had called the church office more than half a dozen times during the day, each time being told that there was nothing more we could do. Even without knowing his history, the two music teachers were beginning to question their safety and whether they should cancel the rest of their lessons and go home for the night, so it was clear I needed to do something to defuse the situation.
Consulting with Pastor Brian via phone, I went out and told him that he needed to leave, that there really was nothing more we could do. He took this opportunity to call me an “f-ing college punk” but eventually picked up his stuff and moved it across the street. Of course, after moving his stuff, he returned to our side of the street, pacing back and forth around our building glaring anytime he happened to notice someone watching him from a window.
That’s when I knew that, if only to cover my own butt should something more serious happen later, I needed to get the police involved. A quick call to the Morgantown Police had an officer there about 10 minutes later (I told them it wasn’t an emergency) who persuaded the man that he needed to move along, and told me to call if he caused any more problems.
I’ll be perfectly honest and say that as easy as it is normally for me to report things to the police when I see the need, it was really hard to do so in this case. I wanted nothing more than for him to listen to what I was saying and leave of his own accord.
As Pastor Brian and I discussed today, there are undoubtedly folks who will read this and immediately say that we are not mission-minded, and that I did a horrible thing by calling the police, and yet others will read it thinking I should’ve called earlier.
Here’s the thing… Regardless of how YOU may feel about what I did. I’m comfortable with it. It’s not how I would’ve liked the situation to have been resolved, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, because I did what was necessary to get the situation under control.
While discussing what had happened in dealing with this man over the past two days, Pastor Brian and I got to discussing sense of call. He says that it’s in dealing with stuff like this, that he becomes truly certain that ministry is a calling, because while someone might aspire towards preaching sermons, towards helping others, towards having that shiny white collar, no one ever aspires toward having to do the less pleasant things, but we do them anyway, because that’s what God has called us to do.