Saturday, September 3, 2011

Goonz for Jesus

Buford Murray had received the calling; and wished to establish his influence as a worker for the LORD. However, the local area had a surfeit of Baptist preachers, and the best that he could obtain for a congregation he would serve was one of 75 members. Still, that was 75 souls for the LORD; and Lord knows he loves us all. But Buford wanted to spread that lovin' more effectively.  Especially among the well-to-do middle class!

In short, he aspired to be the minister for a megachurch in some urban setting. That was his career goal.  But that seemed at first like an impossible dream.  [No, don't think of that syrupy song!]

But how to do that? Buford believed that the LORD helps those who help themselves; and not just to the post-service buffets in the Meeting Hall. Buford did like the fried chicken dinners, though.  And he liked consoling the housewives during golfing weekends.  And they appreciated Buford's ministry to them!

No, he concluded that he needed a gimmick: something that would impress upon congregations his unique calling and its gifts for persuasion and soar him into the stratosphere of ministry! He remembered reading a few years before about the Chaplain of Bourbon Street; a tireless worker for the LORD who labored in the unpromising vineyards of the drunks, strippers, bartenders, and tourists on that street of ill fame.

Why not develop a ministry for the professional underworld of New Orleans? After all, the pushers, the pimps, the hookers, the numbers runners, and the garden variety thugs needed salvation too!

So Buford Styled himself the Chaplain of the Goons; and established a meeting hall for he organization he organized: Goonz for Jesus!

Strangely, his target group and him hit it off. Perhaps he mellowed out a bit, and became less judgmental of them. He gave them a safe, valued feeling, unlike many of the self-righteous. And, besides, Brother Buford liked a toke now and then, and he was subject to the temptations of the flesh. When he strayed from the paths of righteousness, both he and the strumpet fell on their knees and prayed. (Previously, she was the only one on her knees.)

The fact that he served also daiquiris during the brief prayer meetings gained him a receptive audience. However, there's another fact: Thugs and riff-raff need to be loved also. Brother Buford understood that. And he provided them with a ministry to do just that. He didn't harp on the sinfulness of their occupations, but was sincere in his support. His little ministry gave them a spiritual coffee break from their toil of crime!  It also gave them a sense of cohesiveness; you could see their "Goonz for Jesus" gang signs on overpasses and in tunnels. 

Brother Buford became well-known. And a result of that was that donations came in. However, Buford channeled the money into worthy uses: a soup kitchen for the homeless, a shelter for abused children and wives, anger management for the goons, and money grants that he provided in the eventuality that the underworld members wished to leave the life. Some did.  Others did not; but many showed a moderation in their antisocial behavior; for example, the drug dealers sold only pot, rather than crack or roofies.

Along the way, he gave up his ambition to be a megachurch minister, and instead cared for his unlikely flock.

Yes, Brother Buford saved souls, including his own.

Sometimes the LORD works in strange ways.


Best wishes to LSU Tigers against the Ducks.


Anonymous said...

Very illuminating.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thanks. It was a loose try at a fable.