Note: this piece is adapted from a forthcoming article in the Southwestern Law Review
Several years ago, a debate raged in my local paper’s opinion section. Should sex offenders be allowed in church?, or something of the like. I wasn’t a churchgoer, but I had a spiritual experience that I didn’t know what to do with. I asked one of my friends in law school who I knew was religious, and who knew my story, if she would take me to hers. She took me.
I went to a service with her, and afterwards, I asked the priest to lunch, so that I could tell him my whole story. So that I could ask if I could attend.
Over burgers and fries at one of those restaurants that doesn’t stay the same thing for more than a year or two, I told him about my conviction, and my spiritual experience, and how I’d like to start attending church. I expected that I was going to leave disappointed.
He looked at me with a “so what?” kind of expression on his face. He seemed annoyed. He kept chewing.
Well, I’m just wondering if you’ll allow me to attend.
Why wouldn’t I?
Without missing a beat, you’re no different than anyone else. He then let roar this belly laugh where, improbably, despite the fact that you could hear it from rooms away, he laughed mostly with his eyes. He put me at ease.