Bernard P. Fife – The “P” Stands For “Pastor”

22 01 2008

Well, it is official.  At least as official as these kinds of things can be.  I am about to be sworn in as a chaplain for the Griffith Police Department. 

Mind you, the name of our fair city here in the Hoosier side of Chicago’s shadow often evokes thoughts of our all-time favorite TV show.  The Andy Griffith Show.  And now that I’m about to take on the role of chaplain, my wife has found reason to tease me about the honor.  She wondered if I’d get a bullet to keep in my pocket.  I suggested perhaps they’d give me a whistle with a brand new pea.  Then we wondered if I’d get to give tours of the jail.  We have two rules here at the rock.  Don’t write on the walls.  And, obey all rules.

Seriously, though, I don’t think of this police force in terms of Mayberry at all.  They have a difficult job in a sometimes difficult area. 

The show “Cops” is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be issued so much as a Taser.  They don’t even use them here.  I just thought that if someone is misbehaving in church…  zappooey!

It is true that there are problems with police throughout our country.  It’s also true that many officers can enjoy the power and control they have a bit too much.  Still, it seems to me that the vast majority of our police force don’t get the recognition and respect they deserve.  I often wonder if Christ-followers truly live up to their stripes by respecting officers of the law.  I alluded to this in my last entry, but it’s worth further consideration.  When we’ve broken the law by speeding, are we guilty of being disrespectful to the officer who’s doing his job?  Do we lie to him in hopes of getting out of a ticket? 

The calling of the Christ-follower extends into every reach of society.  Our badge is the Word of God, our swearing-in is our confession of faith, and we are empowered for duty by none other than the Holy Spirit of God.  Do we represent our uniform of righteousness (Ephesians 6) with integrity?  I have to ask myself that question every day, and I suspect it’s a good one for us all to ponder regularly.  Walking with Christ has never been about a one-time conversion experience, it’s a lifetime of obedience that leads to joy.  Anything less is unworthy of our commission.

If you find you’re given to anything less…  nip it.  Nip it in the bud.

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