Crack Pipes, Ouija Boards, and the PCA: Then and Now

If these statistics are accurate, as a high school drop-out I may have cost the American people some $200,000 "in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity." 

Humanly speaking, I am the product of a passionate evening between two people and a crack pipe. "According to a major national study of the problem, about 11 percent of all newborns--375,000 babies annually--have been exposed to drugs in utero. Crack cocaine is the primary addiction of pregnant women, although many use other drugs as well."

Are you familiar with Gerald Albright? He is one of my favorite saxophonists, and while I was unfamiliar with him in the early nineties, when I listen to him now I reflect upon my short-lived experience playing the saxophone. More particularly, I reflect upon how my amateur talent was used to lead me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One invitation from Mr. Black, my band director, to play at an LDS Christmas event led to months of shallow involvement in the Mormon Church.

In 1996, Andrew Fleming directed a film, titled, "The Craft." Have you seen it? One person summarizes the movie in this manner. "Four girls at a Los Angeles Catholic school form a coven of witches that cast spells on their classmates and each other. Their new power overwhelm them, leading to an internal power struggle." Looking back, it was a comical film. Looking back, it was my introduction to the occult where I dabbled in witchcraft, experienced the ouija board, and attempted to read tarot cards.

With this background, you might question the probability of a normal future. Crack cocaine, ouija boards, and the LDS church do not appear to be a recipe for normalcy. Hopefully no one would dare wish such an existence upon anyone. The confusion that ensues could be detrimental. 

Where is this young man now? Have you ever met him? Perhaps you have. He now ministers in your pulpits.

I, like you, have a past. My story may be a bit more dramatic, but it is my story nevertheless. I call it, "God's wonderful plan for my life." It is one filled with many (un)fortunate events, yet it is a story where the Hero wins. Many, many years ago Christ captivated my heart, gave me crumbs from his table (Mark 7:24-30), and redirected my journey. From a GED, tarot cards, ouija boards, and the Mormon Church, to pursuing a PhD, gospel tracts, prayer benches, and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Christ, by his Spirit, has, and continues, to show me my purpose (WSC 1). He has called me to be a Christian, husband, father, and pastor. Could you have written this story?

I do not expect everyone with my history to be in the same place. Therefore, do not utilize this narrative as a means to suggest all ghetto youth can do this. They cannot. The story of their (my) life is much more complex. It requires intervention in numerous ways.

I write this because many people reading Reformation 21 do not know me. Thankfully, I am not the young man I used to be, but I am also not the man I will become. I look forward to being glorified. Parts of my past still hurt, and therefore I cannot wait to see my savior face-to-face when he will wipe away every tear. Then, and only then, crack cocaine will not be an issue. No one will have to worry about false religions and gods, but all will be made well when we will see him and become like him (1 John 3:2).