So the newspaper headlines say after the findings of a Federal review that Portland Police tactics with the mentally ill are too harsh and will have to change. Unfortunately they haven’t started enforcing the changes yet.
When Anawim on SE 39th was in operation there was a guy named Larry. As long as Larry was on his meds he was a really nice guy. But if he forgot to take them even once he would become belligerent and antagonistic and a general pain in the tush.
I had heard that Portland Foursquare had a new pastor and that this guy had a heart for the Homeless and the Poor in general and I was urged to seek him out. Which I did today, but he was busy having a chat with a number on like-minded ministry leaders from other countries. So I left a card and a message that I’d like to have a meeting and left. Their church is nestled in one of those unique border areas between the middle to lower classes and the upper to flat-out rich class of people and they have a desire to unite them both with them being ground zero. Very cool and very courageous.
So then I was heading off another journey (errand) and I chose to meander through the houses and neighborhoods of the rich for they have these mini-mansions and I was envisioning them as Community Houses and it was really quiet with just the squirrels and the crows playing with the nuts……..then a police car swooshes by and another from a side street and still another and their lights are flashing but their sirens are silent. As I come around the bend of the street they are gathered to form a large circle and they are shouting the command for the individual to get on the ground and the individual was shouting back in defiance.
That voice…..screaming in defiance…….I knew that voice. I stopped. I got out of the truck and advanced along the sidewalk until one of the officers ordered me to stop. I said, I know him his name is Larry and he is mentally ill and I am his Pastor. The officer spoke into his radio and then I was allowed to go forward.
“LARRY,” I said in a voice loud enough for the police to hear but not to appear to be yelling at Larry. Larry looks at me for a moment and then smiles. “Larry,” I said again, “can we stop with the yelling?”
Larry grins and says loudly but not yelling, “Well, they started it by yelling at me”.
“I know, but they don’t know any better. They don’t know how to talk normal.” Larry digested that for a moment and then chuckles. “Larry, are you on your meds?”
“Naw, I ran out.”
“Do you have your doctor’s phone number?” He holds out his wrist and on the medical emergency bracelet is his doctors phone number. I call. The doc talks to Larry and then to me and I agree to give Larry a ride to the pharmacy at Providence where a nurse will administer the medication in a shot form and then give him some more pills to hold him over till the end of the month.
I then go and talk to the head officer who was up for this and then said, “I wish there were more pastors like you around.”
I winked and said, “There are. All ya gotta do is ask. I’ll get you a list.”
The police departed and Larry climbs into my truck and off we went and he got his shot and his pills and a free lunch and a ride to Mt Scott’s rec area so he could use his voucher for a shower (Which he really really REALLY needed). Half a can of Lysol later and the truck smelled normal again.
Ya know, It is said, that there is no greater gift than the laying down of one’s life for another. And this is true, but I would say there is no greater reward than the giving away of your life for one another.
Did not Jesus say, He who seeks to save his life will lose it and he who loses his life for My sake will have eternal life. So if you are going to spend your life doing something make that something and eternal something.