Back in the halcyon days of seminary, I too was an intern. No doubt many an intern can relate stories of the rough-and-tumble underbelly of church work, but my account should stack up well against most. It involved a slightly drunken man and a shotgun.
I’ll tell the story honestly and to the best of my recollection. I was sent along with some of the deacons (the more expendable ones, as one wag put it) to call on a man in rather difficult circumstances. We found him drinking whiskey and reading John Owen (who, I assure you Lee, was not a Baptist!). In the course of a generally painful visit there came a point at which the man let me know that he had a shotgun in the house. The way he did this was to pick up the shotgun out of one corner, glance at me, carry it to another corner, set it down, shake his head, and then carry it back to the original corner.
Now I was a dedicated intern, but not to the point of death, so I quickly exited the house and said to the deacons, “Hey, guys, he’s got a shotgun.” We quickly left, and that was the end of it.
The whole episode got a lot less funny a few years later when the man became a violent criminal. The odd thing is, at that point my story began to grow – though not in my own telling. On one visit back to that church his name came up and someone asked me, “Didn’t he point a shotgun at you once?” It was tempting to allow myself to be seen as the cool-under-pressure intern who stared down the muzzle of a shotgun and quoted Scripture. Only, it never happened; that guy didn’t point his shotgun at anyone.
Once my story had migrated into the world of fantasy, I realized how it terribly difficult it can be even to describe what really happened. Was he acting “menacing”? Did he “brandish” his weapon? I don’t actually know. I have no idea how a law enforcement officer would characterize what happened. Moreover, I’m not quite certain what actions the words “brandish” and “menace” suggest to you. For my part, I always thought “brandishing” meant more than that, but I did feel “menaced.” Maybe I shouldn’t have.
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Source: The Truth-Tellers | chantrynotes