Brad and Glen


(In the drive to trim the subplots, this scene in Chapter 14 had to go. However, the essence of it was worked into a conversation with Brad and Chuck back in Chapter 13.)

“Not you, too!” Shannon said. “Mommy and Daddy always have to stay after church.”

“Just for a minute,” Brad said, “then you can pick the restaurant.”  

“You told me I could pick the restaurant, anyway.”

“Anybody ever tell you you’re too smart for your own good?”

“Yep. All the time.”

“Brad! Sorry to keep you,” Glen Dillard called from down the hall.

“Thanks for talking with me. I’ll just take a minute.” When Glen got close enough, he shook Brad’s hand, then opened the door to his office. “Have you talked to my dad?” Brad motioned for Shannon to stay put, then followed the pastor into his office.

“Just long enough to know that he and your mom wouldn’t be here this morning. Have a seat.” Glen waited for Brad to sit before he took his place behind the desk. “What can I do for you?”

“I, uh, dropped out of law school this week,” Brad said.

“I bet that was quite a shock to your folks,” Glen said.

“That’s an understatement. I told my mom a while ago, but I hadn’t been able to tell my dad. I was afraid of how he’d take the news.”

“How did he?”

“Pretty hard, until I told him why. You see, Pastor Glen, I want to go to seminary.”

“Brad, that’s great! Tell me how it happened.” Glen leaned back in his chair, settling in for a good story.

“I live downtown. Well, downtown enough, and everyday I see a whole population sinking deeper in despair, slipping farther away from the reach of the gospel. These people shouldn’t have to pay through eternity just because they didn’t have the advantages that I’ve had. I was raised in church, in a home where my parents taught me who Jesus was.”

“You’re absolutely right, Brad.”

“There was this one guy… his name was Julius, and I’d see him every morning out by my car. For a long time, I thought he was trying to steal it. One morning, I don’t know what got into me, but I asked him to breakfast. He wouldn’t go. Called me a rich boy, among other things, and said he didn’t want to be seen with me.”

“That’s all right. Half the time Laurie doesn’t want to be seen with me.” Brad smiled. “How old was this guy?”

“He could have been fifteen or twenty. It was hard to tell. So every time I left, and Julius was around, I asked him to go with me, or if could I drop him somewhere. He’d never let me, but he’d talk to me a little more. He was a big Rams fan, so we talked a lot of football. I asked him if he’d ever been to a game, and of course, he hadn’t. So one Sunday, I skipped church to take Julius to a Rams game.”

Glen dropped his jaw in pretend shock. “Oh, I know,” Brad said. “I struggled with it for a long time, but then when we got back to my place-Julius wouldn’t tell me where he lived-he asked me why I’d do all that. I told him if that was what it cost to get him to listen to me, it was a small price to pay. And he did listen. I told him all about Jesus, and Julius was a new man.”

“Amen,” Glen whispered.

“Julius started bringing his buddies around. He was the real missionary, not me. He’d say, ‘You need what that boy got’. Sometimes we’d get through to them, a lot of times we didn’t.”

“You keep using past tense. What happened?”

“Julius tried to get between his mother and her live-in. He was stabbed seven times. The guy knew what he was doing. Julius bled to death almost before they could call an ambulance. I heard about it the next day.”

“Brad, I’m sorry,” Glen said quietly.

“I’ll see him again,” Brad said with a smile. “Maybe I can introduce you.”

“You do that.”

“Anyway, that evening I read Psalm 41. It starts, ‘Blessed is he who considers the poor’ and I studied it out. Poor doesn’t mean just finances. It means helpless, powerless, even hopeless. I can’t turn my back on these people now. I want to get trained and go back to them, and take Jesus to them.”

“Wow,” Glen said, taking a deep breath. “I hate to think what would happen to anybody who tried to get in your way. I’ll help you any way I can.”

“Thanks,” Brad said standing, and shaking Glen’s hand again. “I’ll be calling on you, I’m sure.”

“Hey, let me pray with you before you go.”

“Oh sure, sorry,” Brad said sitting down again.

“Dear God, bless this young man. You’ve given him a tender heart, and he’s followed that leading. Give him wisdom and discernment, and help us to support him. Keep him safe for his mama’s sake. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“Thanks, Pastor Glen."

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