I got a call yesterday,
“please call back to set up a time you could set a discussion on drugs.”
This was a pastor I have worked for a couple of times over the years-
usually youth concerts,
so I knew this discussion was going to be, if anything, unusual.
And this time he definitely didn’t let me down.
It appears a group of his young soon to be confirmed, were using the time before their Bible lessons started to discuss all the “cool” things they had heard from older kids at school.
Among other things, the fact that you can smoke banana peels.
And since he really isn’t up on the modern drug culture.
Weren’t bananas the second tree in the Garden, after the apple, which was actually a pomegranate…
He thought someone from Berkeley…
Where did that come from?
Well, wasn’t I from near there?
(A Methodist university where we could get thrown out for drinking, thank you very much.)
Hey, over here “California” is surfing, flower children, Ronald Reagan, and Berkeley.
He seemed almost a little disappointed.
And by now a whole lot desperate.
But surely I had perhaps experimented with mood altering substances?
Or known someone who had.
They are trained to talk that way.
And it would be in the best interests of the kids…
Here, at the moment, the English term “kids” for anyone under eighteen-
or under thirty, depending on the age of the speaker,
is de rigueur,
since the German terms sound like something out of old 1930’s films.
And since pastors of the two official, supported by government-collected taxes,
Catholic and Lutheran,
spend a lot of their time trying to be hip…
(the handbook for pastors says you have to…
and if I am asked to sing Sister Act or the Blues Brothers, (or even old man river) as gospel, or for a wedding, one more time, I may…. )
So anyway, knowing all the above,
and having a real sense of sympathy for pastors here,
who don’t always get to preach what they want to,
then gave up and gave it my best shot.
The fact that, as far as I know, from READING in the late sixties, you needed to eat about fifteen pounds of bananas, then scrape the peels, then smoke the dried goo to get…well, more sick than high, but…
And my mind was wandering off on the thought that if this is all this man has to deal with, as opposed to what pastor friends in California, and the midwest, are dealing with….
(We’re in the suburbs here. The three downtown missions have their own share of problems, mostly hungry, no place to sleep, quite a lot of alcoholism- money donations always welcome)
So I tried to close the conversation with the fact that I really didn’t know anything more, and was just mentioning that I did have a great recipe for banana nut bread,
(that only uses two bananas)
when his voice suddenly changed.
Tinged with a sigh of relief.
Followed by a meditative pause.
And then the worried sounding question,
which made both Harald and I laugh for about ten minutes after he hung up,
about, whether I had ever heard of something called devil’s food cake.
I’ll send him the recipe for angel food with raspberry sauce next week.
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